I find breaking out of my comfort zone is hugely beneficial to my personal growth and development. Yes it does add a stress but I find “good” stress can be beneficial.
A small amount of stress can actually be good for you, as long as you still feel in control. That’s what breaking out of your comfort zone is all about: pushing your own boundaries and discovering your capabilities. It is similar to training. By doing the same thing all the time you can find the areas you can cheat. Your body gets used to certain workouts. Beyond being more productive, there are a few specific benefits to leaving your comfort zone.
Some of the things that I find with myself and the students I teach that braking out of my comfort zone does is you:
You learn more
You’re more resilient
You break down problems by slowing down
Each year I resolve to take on all the advantages of pushing myself a little. By October each year I realize I get to comfortable. As an educator I am uncomfortable with this. So at the beginning of the year, I seek out new challenges.
It is important to do this in small steps or I will burn out. Actually even those small challenges can be a big deal big deal.
Well here is how I went with some of my goals in 2015. These are those I can share without hurtinhg the innocent.
The Big Read
Every year I set myself the goal of reading 104 books. It goes back to my year studying the United States when I read 104 books in the year. I have never reached such dizzying heights since but it is great. This year I reached 76 books. Certainly made me think and completed the criteria of pushing me out of my comfort zone.
This also led me to other form of Professional Development. Some of which you will note here in this blog and in https://twitter.com/hashtag/rechatnz
I Forced Myself Out of My Routine
Once you get stuck in a routine, it’s tough to break your day to day habits. You tell yourself you’ll eat better, exercise more, or take better care of your finances, but it’s easier said than done. One way to set yourself up for success is to set up systems for yourself when motivation is high.
To counteract this, I spent some of this year by chance on secondment. I t was a great opportunity to network, challenge myself, travel and develop a great deal of my skills. The people I worked with were great. I was able to develop an entire different skill set under the pressure of being out of routine.
I was considerably more productive. I worked faster and more efficiently as I was working on the fly. Second, I felt happier. My day seemed longer, and in some ways, fuller, because the it was a different environment and energy from my normal routine.
So not only was I more productive and energized, but I developed skills. Downside: I drove my family insane.
There were a number of other goals which I was successful and unsuccessful with this year. I didn’t complete my Marathon nor did learn to play the ukulele. Perhaps that is some for 2016.
Another funny thing happened when I set my goals this year: the more I completed the more I loved it. Actually that is the case every year.
Being comfortable is nice. However, it’s actually a lot nicer after you’ve challenged yourself and learned from your experiences. It is great to look back and see how well you did. How well did you go last week? Have you thought about how you can push yourself out of the comfort zone in 2016?