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By: Mary Hoofnagle
It seems everyone has a list of things they wish they could do, but feel like they can’t. We all have plans, goals, and dreams, but feel trapped by every day life. We all pull from the same list of excuses:
I don’t have enough time.
I don’t have enough money.
I don’t have enough energy
I need to finish…first.
I’m afraid that…
It won’t work anyway.
I just don’t feel like it.
It’s not the right time.
I have to pay off debt.
The kids take up all my time.
As soon as…
Ben Franklin said, “He that is good at making excuses, is seldom good for anything else.”
If you need to hear it another way, The Wolf on Wall Street author Jordan Belfort would tell you, “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”
I know. You are convinced it is not bullshit. You really don’t have enough time. It’s the truth! But the honest truth is all of these excuses point directly toward the real reason we aren’t doing all the things we’ve always wanted.
We are comfortable.
We get stuck in the comfort zone because it’s free of anxiety and it’s predictable. Any change, even a small one, produces anxiety and uncertainty.
I realize every other message out there warns against anxiety, but I don’t think all anxiety is always bad. I’m suggesting that there is an optimal level of anxiety that exists, and it is even necessary for continued growth, happiness, and mental health. We need to be careful to be sure we are experiencing an appropriate amount of anxiety in our lives that moves us forward. Too much will hold us back and hurt us. We also need to be mindful of the amount of time we spend in a state of anxiety. Too long can lead to physical and mental health complications.
How do we do that? Start by taking small steps outside the comfort zone and then returning to it from time to time for a breather. When we begin stepping out of the comfort zone, there is a large chasm separating the two. But the moment you take a small step outside your comfort zone, you spark a little magic. A small shift in perspective and events. You’ve initiated the butterfly effect. You never know what the small changes lead to down the road. And in the moment, the small shift you made starts to stretch your comfort zone wider. Soon you’re ready to step out again. And again. Eventually you have stretched your comfort zone out so it’s overlapping the other circle. Now your life is full of magic. For more ideas on stepping our of your comfort zone, explore The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone.
In Matt Cutts’s Ted Talk, posted below, he talks about making changes for 30 days. I encourage you to try it as the next month begins. WE can do anything for one month. What is something you have always wanted to add or subtract from your life? Do it! Can’t think of anything, look for projects like the 30 Day Photography Challenge, and learn something new. The goal is not to become an expert at something, just to stretch your zone a little.
As you grow comfortable with these small changes, bigger risks feel comfortable too. Who knows? You may end up taking a trip somewhere you always felt too afraid to go or starting that business venture you feared would never work out. The possibilities are endless, but so are the excuses. So choose possibilities! They will enrich your life in ways you never would have guessed.
Are you in need of additional tips or assistance in leaving your comfort zone or exploring new things? We can help! Do not hesitate to contact us to make a counseling appointment. Additionally, you can find more information about adult counseling on our dedicated page.
Brought to you by Just Mind, counselors in Austin who are working to provide their clients with the best care possible.