How To Start Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone In The Outdoors
“Just do it”
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
“Just keep exploring”
Quotes like these abound. We agree enthusiastically when we read them. But what makes the difference between those that DO, and those that DON’T? And how can we choose?
In the previous post we looked at why we should get out of our comfort zone, but there’s always that point when we hesitate. I’m a firm believer of getting outdoors to challenge ourselves. There’s just so many benefits of being in nature. And while getting out of our comfort zone anywhere is good, doing it outside is just so much fun!
So how do we actually get around to doing something about it? It’s so easy to say we will, but how do we actually go about getting there?
While taking the first step is hard, there’s some handy tricks to get us motivated and into action. And here they are…
Getting out of your comfort zone starts with a goal. What do you want to do but hesitate on when it comes around to trying? Are you stuck on any ideas to begin with? Then it’s time to start getting out of your chair and join some clubs, attend an event at Meetup.com or just start interacting more with people. When you meet and talk with lots of people, you’ll find the ideas start flowing pretty quickly!
Dealing With The Excuses
It’s inevitable that you are going to find excuses. Why not get a head start and write them down? Then come up with solutions for each of them. Accept that you will have them. Its part of life and the whole ‘getting out of your comfort zone’ thing. If you are worried the excuses will get the better of you, then maybe you need a little accountability...
This one is big! Accountability is taking responsibility for your call to action. It’s telling others that yes, you are going to do this, hold me accountable for what I am going to do. There’s subtle and direct ways of doing this, and you can choose a level appropriate to match your level of hesitation.
Think of it this way. You want to start a new hobby, let’s say, trail running. You’ve always talked about it, you’ve gotten close, maybe even looked at new shoes, but then you stop. There’s excuses. You want to do it. But something always stops you. It’s not the weather, or finding a running buddy.
It’s you. Sorry, but it really does always come back to that.
Now imagine you’ve given your best friend $100 and said ‘I will start running this weekend or don’t give the $100 back to me’. There. That’s accountability. And incentive as well! You’ll be out there giving it a go that weekend!
There are other ways to do this:
► Along the similar line of giving someone money, you can purchase the gear you will need and then you will have to use it, otherwise it’s just a waste.
► Accountability buddies are good in keeping you on track, minus the financial incentive. Be sure to pick highly motivated people who will keep you on track, or even better, find a few! The more the merrier!
►Starting a blog is a good idea as you reach a wide audience and have to follow up on what you say.
Make the new goal your life’s ambition, just temporarily until you achieve it. You need to start living it. Follow people that inspire you. Talk to them. Ask the stupid questions. We all have to. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Learn To Love Discomfort
We tend to shun discomfort in our society today. Cold, wet or a little pain, these are all just a part of life. And by adding a little discomfort here and there, we adapt and it becomes less of an issue. Make it a goal to experience a little each day. It can be as simple as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. It’s a start, trust me!
Ramp Up Motivation
Motivation can be hard. I know I suck at it for my own goals sometimes. So we need to come up with ways to keep us on track. I find plastering the goal everywhere, literally if need be, helps. If you constantly see it, it’s hard to ignore, right? When I first went abseiling with a guiding company, I knew I wanted to do more. With no outdoor experience, I found some pictures I liked of it, and looked at them everyday. After that, it was time to have a plan.
Have a Plan
Make some lists and start thinking about how to get that goal happening. What steps do you need to take, what gear do you need, or what physical shape do I need to be in? Stepping out of your comfort zone is going to be uncomfortable, so make it easier with a bit of a plan. Asking others who have achieved a goal like yours helps. When I climb at my local rock climbing crag which is smack bang in the middle of the city, people often walk past and ask how they can get into it. Never once has someone been ignored, they always walk away with lots of information.
Having mini goals is a great way to progressively step outside your comfort zone while achieving new goals and skills.
Want to travel the world? Start on a small holiday first.
Want to start hiking epic trails? Do an easy trail to begin.
Want to start rock climbing? Take a course or join a club.
By ‘chunking’ the steps down, it’s easier to manage and get the result. Excuses become easier to deal with. Motivation and willpower doesn’t need to be as strong.
Getting out of your comfort zone is something that should be rewarding. Aim for things within your ability, and start slow. It’s always good to come back and take a break. Have those routines ready. Read a book or watch a movie to relax.
You’ve earned it!