Breaking Free! How to get out of the comfort zone!


Breaking Free! How to get out of the comfort zone! is about escaping from the routine and familiar with some personal tips and suggestions on how to do it.

A few years ago, I had the typical indicators of a good life; I had a solid job, a nice car, and my own place. But behind closed doors, I was restless. I’d gotten myself into a pattern and rhythm of living that wasn’t challenging, fulfilling or satisfying, and my progress had reached a plateau.

I’d previously been more outgoing and adventurous, regularly travelling and getting excitement from meeting new people and trying new things. But the trappings of life had limited my options and brought about monotony and an overwhelming sense that I was wasting my time.

It’s in my nature to overthink things and worry, and as I didn’t know how to make a change, I became paralysed, reluctant to make any new moves, and contained in a place that was all too safe, well-known, and restricted – my comfort zone.

The “comfort zone” is defined by a set of typical actions, behaviours, and routines that are familiar. It consists of regular habits where we experience minimal stress and live with little to no risk.

But the comfort zone can become a place of disconnection, inertia, and stagnation and provide no opportunities for dreams and goals to thrive. It can be likened to the feeling of being “stuck in a rut” or a negative sequence of behaviour.

Stuck in the comfort zone

Starting a new journey outside of your comfort zone begins with some reflection and self-analysis – thinking about things we want to change or areas in our immediate life that could be more compelling. The process can include looking at our existing routines and habits and evaluating if they’re of any real benefit.

My comfort zone had grown to include some ritual practises that got me through the days – things that I had once enjoyed but that had now become tedious and empty. I don’t remember there being a defining moment or grand epiphany, but the cycle had become quite negative, my physical health was suffering and it became apparent that I needed to make adjustments.

I found that addressing my less fulfilling habits was a good place to start, swapping them for other activities that provided more of a mental challenge. It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually I filled my time by trying diverse things, easing out of some of my predictable, non-serving patterns. I also began making different choices in other areas, sampling new things where I could each day.

By mixing things up a little in everyday life, it’s like training the brain to be more accustomed to changes. Making small changes to daily routines could be as simple as opting for an alternative coffee, taking another route to work, or experimenting with your style.

List it out

As I progressed, I felt ready to take on some bigger challenges and began thinking of things I wanted to try and ambitions I wanted to achieve.

Similar to making a bucket list, writing a list of things that are far out of your comfort zone is a great way to visualise what you could aim for. It’s about thinking of things that excite you but also make you nervous, shy, or scared. Maybe some things on the list will remain an absolute “nope”, but others might be more manageable and easier to say “yes” to.

Saying “yes” has become a theme in popular culture, from movies like ‘Yes Man’ (2008) and ‘Yes Day’ (2021) through to the ’24-Hour Yes Challenge’ on YouTube. It’s based on saying “yes” to all invitations, opportunities, and social occasions that arise and seeing the subsequent results.

‘Yes Man’

Although saying “yes” to every single offer we receive is unfeasible, possibly leading to burnout and depleted finances, I believe there’s some merit to the concept.

Personally, since I started breaking out of my safe places, I’ve said “yes” to activities and events that I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with or prepared for but did so because I knew I’d receive a new experience. Saying “yes” has led me on some rides that were never on my radar but became some of the most enjoyable and memorable.

A big part of breaking free from your comfort zone is being open-minded – open to suggestions, ideas, points of view, and experiences that fall outside of your norms.

Being open-minded could mean embracing new hobbies, work, cultures, and places, generally exploring unfamiliar territory with a positive attitude, minimising any perceived negatives, and maximising the potential positives.

Reading new material

Having an open-mind helps you become receptive to opportunities for growth as they occur. I found that reading material that was unfamiliar helped with broadening horizons; alternative books, blogs, and articles are all useful in getting you to think in unorthodox ways and out of the box.

Being open-minded also aligns with learning to relinquish some control and the need to have everything planned out. The desire to be able to control our surroundings and circumstances is interlinked with our comfort zone and ingrained into our consciousness because the more we know about our world, the safer we feel. But letting go of control allows us to take the plunge, make deeper connections, and be less reliant on specific outcomes that are probably beyond our control.

Taking the plunge

When we give up control, we learn to take whatever life throws at us and are more able to go with the flow. And that means that when things unravel, we can cope with different outcomes and be prepared for the unexpected.

In fact, in the last few years, as I strayed further away from my comfort zone, one of my favourite mantras has been “expect the unexpected”. I could strategize and prepare all I wanted, but ultimately, life often throws curveballs, and to have the best and most organic experiences, there has to be an element of sitting back and letting things unfold, inviting in opportunities for serendipity and surprise to occur.

For some people, letting go of control is a big fear. But that’s what leaving your comfort zone is about: facing fears and pushing yourself to level up. Other 90’s kids might remember Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)’ (1999), a spoken word song based on a graduation speech with advice for young adults. One of the lines in the song said, “Do something each day that scares you,” and although that’s not really viable every single day in the average life, it always stuck in my mind. The sentiment stands as a reminder to regularly face our fears, to learn, grow, live life regret free, and avoid staying permanently confined to a safe space.

Although pushing yourself and breaking free from the known can, of course, be scary, it’s best not to overthink it and worry about scenarios that are unlikely to happen. Uncertainty is difficult for me, but a healthy way of approaching new challenges that can cause anxiety that I learned is by “living in day-tight compartments” – taking things step by step and not thinking beyond the current day and whatever you can do with it. For me, this approach has been essential in setting changes and movements in motion.

Face up to yourself

One of the main challenges in breaking down our barriers is facing up to ourselves, because subconsciously the mind has a way of talking us out of things and can be our own worst enemy. This is often to do with fears of embarrassment, failure, or rejection and is usually based on previous lived experiences.

Everyone fails at something at some point or another, but the important thing is to learn from any mistakes and not allow them to cloud our lives. By letting go of past occurrences, particularly those that have left us jaded, we can stop living so cautiously that we go nowhere and instead move onward and upward.

Stepping off the beaten path can ultimately make you happier, more fulfilled, and more inspiring to the people around you. It doesn’t mean making huge, unsafe decisions or recklessly throwing caution to the wind; it’s about reaching for potential, rejuvenation, and gaining life experience. It seems that maturity naturally brings with it more caution, so I think it’s especially important to remind ourselves to snap out of the habitual every now and then as we get older.

My escape from the comfort zone began small but eventually led to some of the most dramatic changes, pivotal moments, and extreme contrasts in my life, and while it’s still necessary to retreat to my safe places occasionally to recharge, reflect, and plan the next move, I don’t believe I’ll stay there for long.

Once you’ve experienced the benefits of breaking free, like improved confidence and a sense of achievement and pride, it becomes more natural, and you’ll have the assurance, self-belief, and knowledge to fearlessly make it happen time and time again.

Did the tips in this post inspire you to break out of your comfort zone? Or do you have any other suggestions and strategies? Any comments are welcomed and you can also download my free ‘How to Break Out of the Comfort Zone’ info-graphic below!

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All text ©J. Thomson, 2023

  1. May 31, 2023 - Reply

    I go through cycles of getting stuck in my comfort zone so I recognize some of the things you’ve explored here — interesting post; thanks for sharing! Molly |

  2. May 31, 2023 - Reply

    great post, it can be so easy to get stuck in our comfort zone. It happens to me from time to time and I feel like I’m just going through the motions and existing!

    Corinne x

  3. June 1, 2023 - Reply

    I really enjoyed reading your article on “Breaking Free: How to Get Out of the Comfort Zone.” The tips and insights you shared are incredibly helpful and relatable. Stepping out of our comfort zones can be challenging, but your encouraging words and practical advice make it feel attainable. Thank you for inspiring us to embrace growth and pursue new experiences!

  4. June 1, 2023 - Reply

    Great post. It’s too easy to stay in our comfort zone. Although I don’t think it’s always a bad thing to be in your comfort zone for a while, we definitely all need to leave it occasionally because that’s were growth is.

  5. June 1, 2023 - Reply

    Since having to struggle with anxiety inducing psychosis, my comfort zone has always been a default. However, I have been trying to change that, it’s just a lot hard now I have health issues. But I’ll keep trying, hopefully

  6. June 2, 2023 - Reply

    I definitely agree that taking those small initial steps such as trying an alternative coffee or reading a book not within your usual genre can help lead to bigger steps in coming out of the comfort zone. I’ve found stepping out of my comfort zone has allowed me to live a more fulfilling life.

  7. June 3, 2023 - Reply

    Great tips, honestly, I was running from facing myself and was living in my imagination and running from challenges. But over time learned to do that.

  8. June 3, 2023 - Reply

    I definitely relate to feeling moments of getting stuck and bored because our routine is so ingrained. It’s hard to break through the routine and I often feel like sometimes you wake up wondering why you don’t do all the things you enjoy anymore.

    I’ve been wanting to find ways to break through that routine and do more of those exciting passion projects! This post was great motivation to get out of the comfort zone.

  9. June 6, 2023 - Reply

    This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing with us.

  10. June 6, 2023 - Reply

    I find it very hard to break out of my comfort zone – but I think sometimes it can be beneficial, especially if it leads to positive and fun experiences 🙂 thank you for sharing x

  11. June 6, 2023 - Reply

    My aunt was a great advocate of always saying, “Yes,” to everything because what’s the worst that could happen? While I’m not quite there yet, I do agree, sometimes it’s good to get out of a comfort zone and try new things that you may really love.

  12. June 6, 2023 - Reply

    Very inspiring post! Thank you for sharing your journey and reminding us to take the plunge.

  13. June 8, 2023 - Reply

    I feel like I can releate to wanting to say yes more! Definitely inspiring to take more risks.


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