How many times have you heard, “Move out of your comfort zone”? Why? Because nothing great ever happens in your comfort zone. Yet, many of us find ourselves stuck in the middle of complacency singing the same tune day in and day out.
The fact of the matter and the fact of your matter is that things can change but only if you want them too. What we fail to realize is that effort is expended in keeping things status quo, finding the ruts in the road and staying riveted in those preset depressions.
How much more joyful to find ourselves outside of the habitual patterns etched deep in our lives. Imagine the excitement and enthusiasm you could find exploring new paths and venturing out to other terrain.
Yes there is comfort in the expected, even if mundane, unsatisfactory, and sometimes unhealthy. Yet the beauty of life is often overlooked because of our unwillingness to push ourselves out from beneath our stale versions of repetitive and tattered security blankets.
Consider for a moment if you had never grown past infancy and still continually looked for someone to take care of your basic needs. Sadly this does happen in rare cases. For most of us, we grew past this stage and on to many more. So why do we at times, as grown adults, find ourselves unwilling to grow or change? The answer is simple. Change is uncomfortable.
And discomfort is uncomfortable. Elementary, you may say. However, the proof that we are adverse to discomfort is seen in almost every marketing ploy we are spoon fed regularly. As humans, we want security, consistency, and things that enhance our comfort. Who wants a new product or experience that will make your life harder for a time, forcing you to leave that blessed comfort zone?
What does this mean for you?
I present you with a challenge. I want you to buy into it because it is not short term gratification that you will receive. It will change your life. Because it is change.
From here on out, we will refer to it as the Challenge to Change.
Challenge to Change
If you are like me, you may want to change in principle. You may have long practiced habits that no longer serve you well such as over eating, over drinking, or over shopping. You may have poor sleep, work, or exercise habits. You may have repetitive relationship problems, continually seeking out the wrong partners or repeat vicious and harmful cycles in your current relationships. You may have what I refer to as “personality glitches”, which when left on autopilot seem to get you into hot water repeatedly.
Changing any or all of the above starts with a challenge, to believe you can change. Change is possible. How badly do you want it? You can’t buy it. Yes, you can buy books about it, you can hire coaches that help you work toward your goals, and you can buy into it. But what fuels the power to change is your willingness to be uncomfortable and your resolve to stick with it even in extreme discomfort.
Commit to Change
Commitment to anything or anyone usually takes some pre-calculation. There are certain prerequisites that we inherently look for before signing on the dotted line. So I ask you to do just that today. List what this change means to you, for you, and for others. How do you see this change benefitting you or your future? How badly to you want to change? What would you be willing to do to make that change in your life? And are you ready?
However, life doesn’t always afford us the luxury of time before making every commitment.
We may find ourselves forced by circumstances to make a choice. When we have to make decisions from crises situations such as loss of a loved one by death or divorce, unplanned loss of a job, or unexpected health issues, we can find ourselves in a state of devastation. This does not appear to be a great foundation to build a commitment for change on. However, many have done just that by allowing unfortunate circumstances to be a springboard for greater change and eventually greater good.
Commitment for many of us is downright scary. What has worked for me in the past is beginning with small commitments. This builds confidence in our ability to “do as we say.” For it is the action, beyond the words, that matters. And with that, an important characteristic of change is set in motion.
So how do we commit to change when our lives have been running on cruise control? And more importantly, how do we stick with our commitment when the discomfort has us speeding back to where we’ve always been?
The short answer is feed the discomfort with comfort. What does that mean, exactly? Each time you lean into the discomfort and continue on with your commitment to the changed action, the next time becomes less uncomfortable. Eventually the discomfort subsides, and the new habit takes over with a new sense of comfort. And you can take on this cycle again and again building from that point or tackling another change!
Commitment means dedication. You must dedicate your resources to your plan of change. It will take focus, energy, and sometimes time. Instant gratification does not exist in the world of true change. It is not easy. If it was, more of us would volunteer.
So as always, it’s up to you. Do you want to open your world to the possibilities beyond the revered comfort zone? The horizon in the distance can be seen so many different ways and our personal horizons are limitless, if only we are willing to venture forth.
In Art and Heart,
©Erika K Rothwell, Your Creativity Coach