We all have ideas of what we wish to become.
I was with my son, on our way to the park so he could try out his new skateboard. “Are you ready to go down the ramp?” I asked.
Wonder Boy looked up at me and said, “I don’t want to…I’m scared.”
I didn’t miss a beat, looked into his eyes, and replied,
“It’s ok to be scared, but it’s important to try it anyway.”
It’s a powerful message.
“Trying it anyway” is at the heart of a fully lived life.
It’s what I tell my clients when they know they need to ditch sugar and gluten.
It’s what I tell my clients when they need to have a big talk with their partner or boss…
or finally start dating.
It’s what I tell myself before taking on a new big idea for my work.
(podcast? a book about cravings? interviewing experts on masturbation??)
Without anyone else encouraging us to try new things,
we tend to dig ourselves deeper into our comfort zones.
Busy schedules, long-held habits, and old mindsets can lead us to shut off our hearts and minds and just coast on autopilot.
We keep using the same old comfort foods to help us handle stress, which keeps the extra weight on, and keeps our energy depressed.
A part of us knows that those old comfort foods will keep us in the stuck spot where we are, so that we won’t have to step into that uncertain next step.
We let the fear keep us from moving forward and just let life take us where it wants.
Our comfort food zone, hiding in the foods that exhaust us and make us feel heavy, keeps us from even trying to make the changes we dream about: dating, asking for the raise, changing careers, and more. Much more.
Is it too late to change?
That’s the great news; It’s never, ever too late to “try it anyway.”
But we get stuck in “fixed mindset.”
Positive Psychology shows us that we can have choose one of two mindsets: Fixed or Growth.
“Fixed” mindset is when you think you can’t change, you can’t learn anything new, you avoid challenges, when you see other people succeed it brings up jealousy, and you want to be told you’re smart.
I believe you can develop a growth mindset, and all it takes is knowing there is a new way to think, and to start watching your thoughts more closely!
Growth mindset says you can learn new things and change:
Growth mindset is open to asking for help, says “I don’t know how to do this…YET,” believes that you can learn something new, enjoys watching other people succeed, and wants to be acknowledged for working hard.
I try to show my kid when I’m trying something new, share any doubts, and share when I don’t reach the goal. I show him the process of what it means to try.
The wins and the losses.
Our culture is too danged focused on WINNING – that being 100% perfect, #1, and the BEST, is the only acceptable option.
Moving out of your comfort zone requires us to break free from the past and old ways of perfection thinking, and push ourselves to do something we wouldn’t normally try.
But here’s the secret magic lurking just behind the fear:
often, the simple act of just trying something new can help you move out of your comfort zone.
Here are 9 simple ways to move out of your comfort zone:
• take a cooking class
• take an art class
• volunteer for a local organization for 1 day
• take a new route to work
• say ‘Hi’ to someone new in your neighborhood or at work
• plan a trip to a new part of your city, or a place where people speak a difference language
• visit a new place of worship
• take a hike to a new park
• take the first step towards making one of your dreams a reality
Does it still feel too overwhelming? Here are some additional pointers:
• do some research on the first 2 steps needed to make one new thing happen – then act
• ask someone who has done the new thing you’re interested in about why they like it
• take a friend with you when you try a new activity or go some place new
• stop thinking of yourself as “fragile” – you are beautiful, but not a delicate flower
• call to mind a time when you did something new that was fun
• depend on yourself for your happiness, instead of others
And even if your attempt doesn’t work out the way you thought it might, it can still lead to growth and positive results. The most successful people on earth went through major failures before they became successful.
The more new things you try, the more you step out of your comfort zone, the less you’ll need food to make you happy. The less depressed you’ll feel. The more energy you’ll have.
The more LIFE you’ll have!
What I am asking you to do is simple: do just one thing differently this week.
Your life is waiting for you, just outside your comfort food zone.