Venturing Outside Your Comfort Zone
As we age we tend to solidify our habits and grow more stubborn in our thinking. While there is something to be said for stability and routine, too much of the same thing can stunt our personal development and make our lives feel dull. Spring is the perfect time to break free from the mundane and try new things!
When we are young we have many new and unique opportunities at our hands. In these situations we meet new people and experience different things. As home, family and a well built career take the front lines of our life, we have far fewer chances to spend time with friends and/or make new ones. Some friendships drift apart as we reach different milestones in our lives at different intervals. A great way to liven things up and encounter new things is to meet new people. I may have lost touch with some of my friends from my twenties; but now as a new mom, I’ve met a whole new group of women who are also mommies. Join a group (I did the Upper West Side Moms Group) or download some fun meet up apps to widen your circle of new friends.
Expand your horizons through movement, by trying a class outside of your normal repertoire. If you are normally a yogi, try rock climbing. Pilates junkies check out trampoline fitness. If bootcamp is your jam, check out a capoeira class. Even if you think you’ve tried it all, there is most likely a new or unique class that you have been skittish to attempt. The physical movement will help calm your nerves and it opens up another occasion to meet new people.
The New York wardrobe is black on black; the yogi’s is stretchy pants and sports bras. If you find yourself with a closet full of blouses that all look similar, perhaps your apparel is a way to step outside the box. Maybe you start small with a statement accessory or go a little bigger with a dramatic pattern, silhouette or color. Make sure the piece is flattering for you figure and is comfortable and rock your new style!
Has your diet become the same old same old week upon week? Break the mold by trying a new cuisine. If you are a pretty diverse foodie by nature, retry a food you don’t like but haven’t eaten since you were a child. Often our taste buds change from childhood and you may be pleasantly surprised that what you found disgusting as a child (example beets and mushrooms) are actually quite appealing to your adult tastes. Exploring the world through your taste buds can change your outlook on other things you may have sworn off since childhood.
For many people, public speaking is an activity far beyond their comfort zone. In the spirit of breaking down walls, there are many opportunities you could pursue to overcome this fear. Find a workshop on improv, actively attend a symposium by asking thought provoking questions regarding your field, create your own youtube channel or start a new blog. Finding a way to let your voice be heard and exposing your inner most thoughts can be invigorating and empowering. These feelings can lead you to be brave in other areas of you life and take you on new roads.
Speaking of new roads, take one, and do it alone! For many of us the idea of traveling alone is lonely and scary; but it can be an incredible way to discover new things about yourself. It may reveal habits you didn’t know you had, reveal the thoughts you’ve buried deep, or it could just allow you to be someone new for a short time. Whether its a stay-cation in a different part of your own town, or an entirely new country, travel is a great way to grow. Although, I brought Timothy with me to Argentina, it was quite a brave adventure for me; and made me grow in so many ways. I also felt childlike again as I cycled through Puerto Madero and went out dancing with friends way past my bedtime.
If all of the above options seem too big, start a little smaller. By overcoming something that makes you internally uncomfortable you are also popping the bubble that is your imagined zone of restriction. Do something that makes you uncomfortable. This discomfort is not easily seen or acknowledged by those around you. Hold your least favorite yoga pose for 5 breaths longer. Take a dip in an ice cold pool and submerge yourself longer. Go to hot yoga and evolve your tapas (discipline). Conquering each of these little moments will give you greater resolve and ability to take on bigger feats.
Our comfort zones may feel safe and secure; but often times they can hold us back from being our best selves. Embracing risks and venturing beyond your security blankets can really propel your life to new heights. Upping your levels of personal development will transfer among all layers of your life, making you more likely to try something new again and again.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!