Stepping Out of Your Comfort ZoneJan 16, 2019
In November I vocalized that I wanted to be more adventurous and the next thing I knew I was flying through the jungle on a swing! Way out of my comfort zone.
Well not quite the next thing, but not what I thought I’d be doing just before Christmas. I had the opportunity – quite unexpectedly – to go to Bali to meet up with our eldest daughter who was stopping there on her way back from Australia.
In a bit of a whirlwind I had booked my flight and a hotel for the first couple of nights – I couldn’t quite believe it, but I was going!
Then the doubts and apprehension started to sneak in – I’d never travelled on my own and would arrive before my daughter. Being the build up to Christmas there was that to organise and the practicalities for the rest of the family. I’m the one who does all the bookings and looks after tickets, passports etc anyway so as my husband pointed out, what was I worried about? At the time I wrote a post about feeling a bit like a duck – looking serene on top but paddling like mad underneath. I recognised I needed to let some things go as the to do list was mounting.
Prioritizing and Letting Go
Thankfully, another thing I have been doing recently is a course with Camilla Dempster and she had been talking exactly about prioritising and letting go.
I’m a list person – if it’s not on a list it will invariably not happen and be forgotten, a ridiculous amount of satisfaction is gained from crossing things off a list too
Rather than just having a never ending to do list I have now got a designated & prioritised list – and some things I can see being on the list for ages – eventually they’ll get done but don’t affect day to day living so not a priority – e.g. filing (so glad so much is paperless nowadays!)
Thinking about prioritising and making sure there are things on the list that I WANT to give time to rather than just what I feel I “should” do has proved to be a useful tool.
Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone
Anyway, I digress. As I had vocalised wanting more adventure I knew when in Bali I wanted to say yes to things when my normative and habitual response would be to say no – to step outside my comfort zone and see what I could do.
While there I learned that I’m capable of more than I thought and that just because something scares me, or I may find it hard doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a go. I also had to face the fact that things don’t always go according to plan – I ended up with flu and spending 36 hours straight in bed and mostly asleep – I’m not saying there weren’t any frustrated tears, there were, but I also managed to respond in a positive way and not let it ruin the whole week away. It’s not the first thing I think of when I reflect on the trip.
Carrying that Forward
“Say yes, be brave” has become my mantra for 2019. I had already started on this path in 2018 and want to continue with it. Each time becomes a little easier – I did hesitate when my daughter asked if I wanted to parasail, walk on the seabed, swing through the jungle but then the biggest squeal was when she started jumping up and down on a suspension bridge
But it doesn’t need to be really big things – start with baby steps – saying yes to something that someone else wouldn’t even think twice about, but to you is bigger.
It’s taking action – I hated always being on the side-lines, but the only person who could change that was me. It was on holiday in Italy a couple of years ago that I decided to go kayaking with the family rather than sitting on the shore. Some people wouldn’t have thought twice about going kayaking but to me it was a big thing and the fact I did it was a real confidence boost.
It’s not just the physical
It’s not just in physical activities that it becomes easier and confidence grows but connecting to people, writing posts etc. Even going to a flower bouquet workshop last year was way out of my comfort zone but a good and fun experience – not physically hard, but something I felt very self-conscious going to not being known for my arty/craft skills!
Many of us find it hard to ask people for help or support – we feel like we should be able to do everything ourselves. At the beginning of 2018 I was in quite a low place emotionally and feeling a bit lost but I did fine the strength to reach out to somebody for support. In doing so I am in a totally different place and accomplished things I never thought I would. This was a big step for me but one I am so glad I made.
Equally, we shouldn’t feel bad for finding activities (of any kind) daunting – I sing in a choir, which I love, but for some people that would be a no go and be a big challenge to join. It’s more about things we would like to have a go at but have felt held back – for whatever reason.
What Stepping out of My Comfort Zone has Done for Me
What I’ve found is that taking action in one area of my life has increased the confidence in other areas too – not something I necessarily expected.
So much of this ability to step out of my comfort zone has come as a result of leaving the diet mindset – I previously wouldn’t have gone on the swing or para-sailed for fear of being too big and not wanting to draw attention to myself. My concern with my weight limited what I did in life and experiences I had – but no more.
If I want to have a go at something, I feel so much more able to say yes – there are still things that I know I won’t want to do – I’m not a speed freak, never have been and doubt I ever will be (How a banana boat made me realise it’s OK to say “no”.)
In the same way taking small steps to break out, small steps are the most sustainable way to break free from a restrictive/binge mindset. When you’ve been thinking about things in a certain way for a while, maybe even years, it takes time to retune your thinking. Approaching this from a positive angle and giving yourself time and space is the way to go.