It’s easy to become a creature of habit, favoring the same foods, styles, music or friends for years until we’ve fallen into a predictable rut. You may be comfortable this way – ordering the same items from the menu of life, day in and day out. But if you continue to do this, there are no new expectations, no discoveries, and no journeys… and what fun is that?
So why not try breaking out of your comfort zone to experience a few new things? You can start small. A woman who’d always ordered the same items from her favorite sushi bar was forced to change her options when she was under doctor’s orders to abstain from raw fish during her pregnancy. While her friends ordered sushi, she chose items like tofu with asparagus and baked salmon skin salad and was thrilled with the experience. She never would have thought to order those items, but once she did, it was like finding a secret kitchen that designed new and exciting dishes just for her. Ever since, she’s been opting for the items that she’d never have thought to order and discovering new tastes and food items each time.
You can broaden your horizons in other areas, too. Are you shy? Take an acting class! When you’re in character, you’ll find that you can behave in ways you never would as yourself. And in doing so, in front of strangers, you’ll realize that this is a great way to cover your shyness in normal situations. As you excel in your acting, you won’t even have to pretend to be confident, because the energy that you derive from your acting background will shine through.
Similarly, if you are uncomfortable with public speaking, you can try the old “Brady Bunch” philosophy (remember the episode when Marcia was afraid of her driver’s ed teacher and she was advised to picture him in his underwear?). So, try picturing your audience in their boxers, briefs or Spanx and your biggest concern won’t be speaking to them – it will be controlling your laughter as you fight those amusing images.
Do you have phobias? Experts agree that the best way to beat your fears is to face them. That means that if you’re afraid of heights, taking a skydiving class may be the antidote. Not only will you have conquered your phobia, but you’ll have had an exhilarating experience!
Has your workout routine stagnated because you haven’t tried different sports? If you never swim because you haven’t learned to properly do the crawl, take a class at your local pool. Before you know it, you’ll be swimming laps and feeling great. If you’ve never skied, try visiting a ski resort this winter. You can rent skis and sign up for a beginner’s class that will have you gliding down the bunny slopes in no time. If you never bowled or played golf or skated… just go to where these things are done and sign up. You’ll not only learn something new that was never part of your daily activity, you will likely make new friends.
Move beyond discomfort
Are you uncomfortable dining alone in a restaurant? Simply march yourself into a place that you’ve always wanted to visit and find a nice table where you won’t be disturbed. You can bring note cards to write overdue letters (a far nicer touch than emails) or a journal in which you can write your thoughts, lists or stories. Don’t bring a book. This would completely take away from your dining experience. But if you’re writing after your order is taken and occasionally pick up your pen to write while dining, you’ll keep yourself from feeling the discomfort of dining alone and will also stave off unwanted approaches by other diners (unless, of course, you’re open to meeting someone). A side bonus: Restaurateurs may suspect you’re a food critic and be overly attentive to your needs in anticipation of a good review!
Just be open to all the things that you always told yourself you couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t do. Take the plunge! Every time you step out of your comfort zone, you expand your possibilities and discover another side of yourself.
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