When you established your long term goals your long term goals you were reaching for something new and different than what you have today. To get there you will be venturing out of your comfort zone. Comfort zones are those cozy places where you live every day. These comfort zones are physical as well as emotional areas where you feel the most at ease. Reaching your goals means that you have to do new things, go new places and meet new people. This means getting outside of those familiar places.
Getting out of your comfort zone is easier said than done at times. It can be a grand adventure to do new things or go new places or it can be terrifying. Reaching big long-term goals is often in that second category. What happens if you fail? What happens if you succeed?
So what holds us back from stepping out of our comfort zone? Several things are obstacles we encounter as we step into new things:
- Fear of failure. As a society we have learned to value the people who are great successes and we tend to scorn those who fail at their endeavors. This means that going for the brass ring, or attempting to reach our life goals, is scary unless all risk is removed. Reality is that without risk is there really any value in the prize?
- Inertia. Staying where you are today is easy and moving into new areas is hard, it’s risky and you need to learn new things. Getting the momentum up to take that first step, then the second is hard.
- Inner critic. Often we doubt our ability to reach our goals. We question “what right do I have to dream so big”. Along with that comes the fear of letting our family and friends down if we fail or asking them to sacrifice while we go after the goal.
All of these obstacles can be overcome with determination and resolve. The first step is to define what it is that you want to do, where is it you want to be; write down your goal. Use the SMART goal format to establish your goal. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based).
Now that you have your goal it’s time to tackle the obstacles. To start this process first write down what happens if you fail and what happens if you succeed. Also document what would happen if you do nothing. You can now define the risks and identify ways to minimize them. Next identify the steps you need to reach your goals. Schedule these tasks; add them to your to-do list. This will get you moving. With your plan sit down with those who will be impacted by your goal, share with them what you are reaching for and why. Get them to help you stay focused and get their support. With their belief in what you are doing, you can give yourself permission to go for it. Believe in yourself and your dreams, and then set yourself on the path to success.
With your plan in place it’s time to step out of your comfort zone. Those first steps may be hard and the ground will seem shaky at times. However, the longer you stay out there the more comfortable you will become and before you know you will find that your comfort zone has gotten bigger. Another side effect of getting out of your comfort zone is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. As you learn to see the adventurous side of life outside your comfort zone you will find that your zone gets more flexible. More becomes possible.