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  • Writer's pictureNikita Vyas

Venturing out of your comfort zone + Journal Prompts

Change is so scary. If you’re someone who cannot deal with changes, I get you. I’ve been there. It’s painful and scary. Talking about comfort zones, it’s all about change. How important it is and how it’s the only constant.

But what if you never knew what you’re afraid to change in your life? You’d never be able to move on in your life.

Venture out of your comfort zone

I’ve always had an issue with moving on. I hold on to things till they really wear out and of course I’m not just talking about clothes and shoes and bags, for me it’s also about my thoughts, my ideas, my relationships, my failures, my loss – yep, it’s morbid and imagine what would happen if I wouldn’t change it at all? What would happen if I continued to live that way? I’m obviously not only not going to make it to where I want to go but also lose all the opportunities that the future has to provide.

I know what you're thinking it must be easy for me to move on and let go right? Not really.

You see, for the longest time I had no idea this pattern of holding on wasn’t working for me. I honestly didn’t know that it clung to me and I needed to get rid of it asap. I got so used to it, the misery that came along with it and the emotions that I had to deal with that I got really good at managing it. Not realizing that I didn’t need to continue with this pattern anymore.

Holding on as a pattern must have started because I moved a lot growing up. I’ve lived in Mumbai (my birthplace), Ahmedabad, Mumbai again, Chennai, Mumbai again and finally Chennai. Sounds fun when you look at it but for me as an introvert to keep up with all the newness in life was pretty hard. I was looking for a ground. But I got used to it and before it knew it, I started running away from everything in life. It was exhausting and I knew I had to learn how to hold on.

Only now, holding on wasn’t working for me anymore.

Nope, I don’t have a problem, although I thought so too but this is something I learnt on the job as a Psychologist and a coach.

Our comfort zones tend to change and redirect when they no longer work for us anymore. It’s not about good and bad. Some habits you tend to leave and let go while some you re-adapt and that’s okay. You figure it out as you take time out to introspect.

I know it’s time to introspect my life when something isn’t working for me. Sometimes it’s a comfortable thought like – “I’m a failure” or “I’m never succeeding”. I get so good at saying it that it’s on a loop all the time and naturally that’s exactly how the events in my life play out. Then there are times I cry, can’t move, can’t figure out what’s wrong, get impulsive and that’s when I know it’s time to change.

Everybody has a different experience. Depending on their situation. But everyone goes thorough it multiple times in their lives. It’s natural.

It’s easy for me to get hold of it and think about these things as I tend to journal a lot. It’s my way of therapy and works really well for me.

So, when I’m journaling I ask myself these questions.

  1. What are your comfort zones that prevent you from succeeding?

  2. What scares you when it comes to exploring out of your comfort zone?

  3. What are the next actionable steps you need to take to explore further?

These prompts really inspire me to do some serious thinking. And eventually help me get the answers that motivate me to do something about it. This cycle of leaving comfort zone, settling in and again leaving comfort zone has always inspired me to take a risk. To act. To do. This has boosted my confidence through the roof. I don’t always have a clean, smooth landing but the enthusiasm I have that I’ve taken off, that’s what really counts.

If you’re lost don’t know how to take the next steps, I get it.

What keeps me going, is to start small. There’s a term for it in psychology called the Exposure technique. It’s about exposing yourself to smaller risk conditions and situations. For Example if you’re afraid to start a conversation, start with a smile or just say hi, a small nod would count as well. If it’s taking a new class or studying a subject you dislike, start with the intention to glance at the syllabus. Taking small steps prepare you for taking risks which help move out of your comfort zone.

That being said, leaving your comfort zone doesn’t guarantee your problems will be solved of your life will be chirpy again. The only downside to it is that you could probably fail again. In my opinion it’s not the worst thing. It’s better than running in cycles and doing nothing at all.

I worked with a woman who said working on one’s self was something she thought only losers would do (read: depressed, unhappy, lonely). Why would anyone want to give anyone money to just talk? It was scary for her. But she needed to find her peace and confidence. So, she agreed to take a leap of faith and work with me for a month. Not only is she successful at her work but she slowly reduced the number of sessions she needed. Today we schedule a session once a month.

I worked with another woman who wanted to do everything on her own. She hated asking anyone for help. She wasn’t sure if anyone else could understand her work better than she does. So, she kept pushing it away. Finally, she had to agree to at-least think about it when her stress level kept increasing and she could no longer handle work. She wasn’t comfortable with hiring a full-time assistant so she settled on hiring an intern, part time. It was a huge step and she started feeling so much better. She started sleeping better and eventually hired her part-time assistant to full-time.

Anxiety and worry always tag along when we decide we need to move on or change but it’s not about proving anyone or taking big scary steps. It’s about taking small steps. In my opinion it’s a healthy way to change and take risks.

But what if you can’t take the needed action? Can’t Move?

Yes, it entirely possible to not move at all. It happens to me when I’m really terrified of something. Even some of my clients go through this. The increased heart-rate and blood pumping just thinking about making that change or taking that risk can affect the body and make it go numb. In such times and cases, I ask them to visualize them doing the task. As cliché as is sounds, it has worked almost all the times. I’ve always loved the technique and reduces the anxiety for me, doesn’t hurt that I’m also a tad bit impulsive. My clients feel optimistic and confident after they have a visualize session with me.

If you’re at a phase in your life when you can’t move, you feel very emotional, can’t think anymore or just close to giving up. I think it’s a sign that something really good to happen to you, all you need to do it be compassionate with yourself and make an effort to move. Walk, run, jump, shake off all that negative energy. Take a paper (Read: book, Journal. Diary) and ask yourself these questions.

Visualize and go for it.

  1. What are your comfort zones that prevent you from succeeding?

  2. What scares you when it comes to exploring out of your comfort zone?

  3. What are the next actionable steps you need to take to explore further?

I hope this article helps you move out of your comfort zone in a productive way.

If you’re looking for professional guidance, take a look at my services and let’s work together. If you can’t invest the amount of time and money, you may also like one of the e-courses that are designed to help boost your confidence and attract success.

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