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15 Ways to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

You’ve heard it said that we are creatures of habit. That’s not necessarily bad, if your habits help you to be effective at work, in health, and in relationships. But often our habits and routines keep us stuck in the proverbial “comfort zone.”

The term refers to doing things the same way all the time, choosing the safe and predictable path, and avoiding situations that cause your anxiety to rise. If you’re ready for positive changes that lead to a richer life—including your love life–start here:

1. Evaluate what it’s costing you not to change. Every time you play it safe, you’re giving up something in return.

2. Alter your routine little by little. Small steps lead to bigger ones, so try simple changes like taking a different route to work, getting up an hour earlier, and striking up a conversation with a stranger.

3. Date beyond your “typical type.” Of course you’re attracted to a certain kind of person for a reason. But love might be waiting in a different kind of package and profile.

4. Recognize the power of your choices. Everyone’s life is the collection of all the decisions we make, large and small. Consciously choose to stretch yourself.

5. Don’t wait for the “perfect time.” If you think everything needs to come together before you make a leap, you’ll be waiting a long time.

6. Realize that playing it safe is stifling your potential. The way to stay stuck—as a person, lover, or employee—is to drift along with the status quo. The way to grow is to continually push yourself, despite inner resistance.

7. Put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Think you lack artistic talent? Great, sign up for an art class. Hate public speaking? Volunteer to give a talk to a college class or church group.

8. Ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen. In nearly every situation, it’s really not so bad—and certainly worth the risk.

9. Switch genres for a while. Ruts form from overuse. So when it comes to movies, cuisine, music, books, and television shows, intentionally shift to the opposite of your typical fare.

10. Give yourself permission to feel awkward and look clumsy. Stepping into unfamiliar territory will involve missteps. Hooray—you’re on the right path.

11. Make your comfort-zone departure interpersonal. Often, the biggest challenge for us is saying important things to those we care about—making ourselves vulnerable by sharing our real thoughts and feelings.

12. Identify your personal obstacles. It’s fear that usually holds us back—but fear of what? Fear of failure? Fear of what other people will think? Fear of how your relationships will change? Knowing exactly what’s holding you back will enable you to move forward.

13. Allow a friend to give you a shove. Let your pal choose an area of your life where you are stuck and recommend a specific strategy to shake things up. Hey, what are friends for if not to challenge you to be your best?

14. Set a BHAG for yourself. Entrepreneurs and business strategists encourage people to a set a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” Do it for yourself, choosing an ambition that is sure to stretch you and require all of your focus and energy.

15. Grit your teeth and go for it. The actions we’re most proud of ourselves for making require good old-fashioned drive and determination.

About Ashley and eH+:

eH+Ashsuit09102014-15eHarmony’s service, eH+ , gives you the benefit of a personal matchmaker who picks your matches and guides you to success. We’re taking the best of what eHarmony does and combining that with what personal matchmakers do best – person-to-person conversation, opportunities for feedback, and coaching to put your best foot forward.

Learn More about eH+.

eHarmony users, be sure to include your phone number in your account information so that Ashley can contact you if you are a match for an eH+ client.