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Think big, start small

By Hannah Massen

Smart strategies for getting outside your comfort zone

Think back to last year’s list of New Year’s resolutions: maybe you swore you’d finally take up kayaking or commit to a Wednesday night Zumba class, but you never got around to it. Or maybe you were serious about starting another business but never made it past the planning stage. 

Now ask yourself, was it an actual logistical barrier that kept you from reaching your goal, or did you keep coming up with excuses that kept you from making the leap? 

One of the main reasons people don’t put their ideas into action is the terror barrier: the fear of failure or losing control when you step outside your comfort zone. But doing what you’ve always done won’t help you achieve anything new. If you’re hoping to make 2023 that year – the year that you scale up your business, launch a startup or improve your personal life – you need to get comfortable with taking manageable risks.

Here are five smart strategies for getting outside your comfort zone. 

Find a better reason than “I should”

If your only reason for taking a risk is that it’s something you feel like you “should” do, chances are you’re going to find a way to back out. Find a reason to accomplish the goal that aligns well with your vision for the future. If you invest in this vision, you’re more likely to stick with it – even when things get tough.

Identify your barriers

Analyzing your boundaries can help you identify key barriers that are stopping you from reaching your goals. Notice where those barriers are, then come up with realistic strategies to overcome them. For example, you might be apprehensive about starting a business because you’re worried about financial risks. Once you pinpoint that barrier, you’ll be able to come up with a business plan that’s realistic for your funds and timeline.

Take it one step at a time

Change doesn’t have to mean diving into the deep end (but if that’s your style, we support you, too). If taking a massive plunge is too much for you, break down your action plan into small, manageable steps that you can take one at a time. Try setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals that will help you track your progress by providing benchmark measurements for success. 

Experience something new

The best way to grow your comfort zone is to put yourself in unfamiliar situations – literally. Taking a class, networking with new people or entering contests will help you learn something new and expose you to new challenges.

Be consistent

Expanding your comfort zone works the same way as acquiring any new skill: the more you work at it, the easier it will become. Try to find reasons to push yourself on a daily basis, like speaking up more at meetings or being the first to approach a potential business contact. These small changes can build your resilience, increase your personal satisfaction and present more opportunities than ever.

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