3 Ways Your Comfort Zone Is Restricting Your Life

Expanding your comfort zone is great because of this…because of that…

Personally, I’m more of a consequence thinker. So when people explain a bunch of benefits, I have a tendency to dismiss the whole idea. But when I think of the negative consequences, it all starts to make a lot more sense.

When I sat down and analyzed it, I realized my comfort zone has been the biggest obstacle between me and positive change.

That relaxing feeling when there is no risk involved, you’re quite okay with how things are going and feel no imminent need to change anything. You might not be incredibly happy, or 100% satisfied, but at least you’re comfortable right? Wrong.

Your comfort zone can often be created through actual self-delusion. You tell yourself that there are no better alternatives, that you’re helpless to change the situation, and in it lies a certain comfort. Because it does take the pressure off, since you end up believing you are powerless. But in the long term you are only sabotaging yourself.

All this, so you can avoid feeling lost.

Just so you can avoid feeling challenged.

When I stayed in Japan for a year, at first everything was new and exciting.

But when I settled, and stopped meeting new people, or going out of my way to seek new experiences… deep down I was bored, disappointed and even resentful.

All the while I kept hiding inside my comfort zone, thinking things like ‘it’s not that bad’.

Trying to convince myself I was doing the right thing.

Towards the end when I started to venture outside of it again, even if minimally, I started to be happier and more motivated.

There are many ways your comfort zone could restrict your life, starting with the following three.

1.You Grow Lenient.

When just surfing your own little wave in life and never attempting to leave your comfort zone, it is easy to forsake personal growth.

Months go by and you never even attempt to learn something new, or even consider changing your bad habits.

I mean life has always been this way, and there’s no need to change now right? Wrong,

Time is the most important commodity you have, and investing it is like investing money.

You wouldn’t invest in a company that stayed the exact same net worth forever would you? Then apply the same to your time and invest it towards a better future self!

If I look back at past months and all that is worth remembering is crazy stories from nights out, I feel lost. Even if you feel like you have no pressing purpose in life, not trying new things is a surefire way to never find it.

2.You Postpone Life Goals

An incredibly common thing to do, is to set greater long term life goals for oneself, but then proceed to postpone them further and further.

You tell yourself that you are too busy with work, friends, your love life or any combination of the three.

While it can be hard to understand the importance of making the most of your time when you are young. If you spend too much time waiting, you might be left unable to achieve your goals, or completely forget them.

While I understand the gravity of life, and that sometimes circumstance can limit your options, setting aside a little time each week, or day even, to work towards long term goals is not only healthy, fun, and satisfying… but who knows? You could even end up at your desired destination before you realize it.

3.You Never Discover ‘Your True Self’

You risk ending up so attached to the idea of how you currently are that you ignore a blatant truth… the world is vast, the probability that you have already found all your favorite things in life is very small. You could be one hesitant step away from meeting your new best friend, discovering a new favorite dish or better yet, a new purpose in life.

Going outside of your comfort zone and trying new things is one of the best ways to actually get to know yourself.

Your greatest passion could be hiding as something you’ve never even dreamed of trying!

The great majority of my best memories are from when I challenged myself.

When I went on a picnic/swimming to a place I’d never been before, with people I’d never met.

When I went to explore Osaka on my own. Just me, my feet, and time.

Whenever I did something I was either uncomfortable, or even scared about doing.. I ended up having the most fun, and the best time.

Here are 5 ideas on how you can do the same.

Get out there, learn some new things about yourself, and discover your passion while you’re at it.

There are no limits except the ones you impose on yourself. (And maybe a few more, ahem.)

But I’m curious…

What has been your greatest and most rewarding venture outside of your comfort zone?

To Ragnar, a rather normal Norwegian guy, the ultimate dream is a life of complete freedom. At Tangible Freedom you can follow his journey and insights he gleans on the way, He also enjoys discussion and encourages anyone to share their own thoughts.

23 Responses to 3 Ways Your Comfort Zone Is Restricting Your Life

  1. The opening image kind of makes the assumption that people reading this are doing absolutely nothing worth doing in life. By the bare fact that the person is reading this article, their circle is at least on the border!

    The article’s good, but there is merit to working inside the comfort zone, in the sense that If I’m songwriting, it’s comfortable to write in English. Going to the extreme end, It’s most out of my zone to write my own language, re-invent the way we use music and make my own instruments. That would be a grand accomplishment, but there’s nothing wrong with writing in your native language, magic still happens in that comfort zone.

  2. Ragnar says:

    I agree with you, there is definitely merits to be found inside the comfort zone. Like spending meaningful time with friends and family.. the point I’m trying to make is not that leaving the comfort zone is the end-all-be-all of living a good life, but that it can contribute towards such a goal.

    Thanks a lot for sharing your perspective :)

  3. Clare says:

    Hmm, perhaps living in northern Finland Lapland for 5 months — I was 20 and when I arrived I was basically living in darkness for the first few months as the sun doesn’t rise in the winter months.

  4. Mrigank says:

    this is one way to see this article .. but in my opinion there is some one out there somewhere who need this kind of a motivation.. some times its not wrong to be in your limits and enjoy your comforts.. but as said a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.. to develop in life one has to challenge himself .. and this is only possible if you come out of your comfort zone.. :)

  5. Ragnar says:

    That’s pretty awesome. It’s a weird experience when the sun actually doesn’t rise.. I’ve only experienced it for a few days at a time myself, so I can’t really imagine how it would be for months on end.

    Thanks for sharing ^^

  6. Hey thanks for the shout out! :-)

    You made a pretty big leap outside of your comfort zone by living in Japan. No matter where you come from it’s an alien environment so that is amazing! My gf is from Osaka so I am jealous that you got to explore that city.

    One day (hopefully soon) I will spend some time in Germany by myself, just exploring and nailing the language. It’s a scary thought so I know how great it was that you managed to live in another country.

  7. Bethany @ Journey to Ithaca says:

    I spent 10 years in my “comfort zone.” I had a job I didn’t love, a mortgage for a house I wasn’t crazy about, in a town I’d rather not live in. I dreamed of living aboard full-time and sailing overseas, but those were just dreams. Leaving the “security” was too crazy.
    It was scary when the security was gone, and the risks (to myself) of staying outweighed the risks of leaving. We moved 1200 miles away, got rid of 90% of our possessions, and signed our house back to the bank. Starting over is exciting–I feel like my brain is finally running on all of its cylinders. And, most importantly, I am happy, and have the passion I had at the beginning of my teaching career.

  8. Ragnar says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot about that. A point I forgot to mention is how you can find yourself sticking to your comfort zone even in a completely foreign environment. A lot of my friends did that, and a lot of us were quite miserable at times.

    Osaka is pretty cool. If you have the right people to spend the time with, Japan is cool. Sometimes finding those people can be a bit difficult though.

    That sounds awesome man. I am planning on going on a (possibly one way ticket) journey to a country where accommodation is cheap enough that I can afford to next year for a few months.

    Possibly the Philippines or just south east Asia in general. Because I want weather and opportunities that contrast Norway.

  9. Ragnar says:

    That’s an awesome story. I spent years second guessing my desire for something more, and I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was.. but it’s such a beautiful thing when you figure it out. Minimalism can be an empowering thing as well, I’m still in the midst of going through that process myself.

    I wish you the very best on your journey!

  10. Nina says:

    There are pros and cons to every country you visit. The Philippines is a warm and friendly country. Let the cons challenge you to live outside the comfort zone. Its more fun in the Philippines. I should know… I am a proud Filipina!

  11. Ragnar says:

    I guess I will get to know for myself soon enough!

  12. If you want cheap accommodation with a fairly high standard of living, I hear South America is pretty good too. Colombia and Argentina are on my ‘to do’ list.

  13. Dom Goddard says:

    I stepped out of my comfort zone when I was 20 and joined the Army. I felt it was
    the only way to get away from where I lived at the time. Then I started to get
    used to the Army life and so I left and I am now studying at university.

    Leaving our comfort zone is scary but I have been trying to embrace this fear whenever
    possible. I do believe stepping out once in a while makes life worth living. It
    also makes our comfort zone bigger the more we test its boundaries.

    This is an Excellent post Ragnar.

    Thank you

  14. Anders Hasselstrøm says:

    Awesome points Ragnar,

    Important discoveries and good points that will definitely make you grow in the future. Comfort zone is a funny thing because you feel rather comfortable but it is one of the biggest road blocks for personal success and living a fulfilling life. Life is much more about discovering new things and testing your limits.

    Anders Hasselstrøm

  15. Ragnar says:

    Thank you for your kind words, but mostly for sharing your story…that’s an inspiring transition. I am also kind of struggling with the idea of getting used to something and maintaining interest in it… I wish you the very best and hope you lead an amazing life. I’d say you have the right mindset for it!

  16. Michael says:

    There was this one time when i plan to go travel alone in some off beaten place. Then out of nowhere i decided to do it so the next day i went and planned to stay there for 4 days and 3 nights. But i end up staying 2 days and one night. I was not that commited and was so afraid and shy to talk to people.

    Most of the time it’s easy to get out of the comfort zone but commitment to it is hard.

  17. Ragnar says:

    Yep. Commitment is hard indeed. It’s something that I struggle with from day to day.. best of luck to you onwards!

  18. Ragnar says:

    Thanks Anders, I definitely think everyone should explore as best they can and see where that takes them.

    Best of luck!

  19. growthguided says:

    Right on Ragnar, keep up the great work!

    Thank you for putting this post together for us!

  20. Lore says:

    I kissed a girl and I liked it.

  21. tamrenzi says:

    Hello Ragnar! I agree with your comment about time being extremely important. We always hear about prioritizing, and our time is finite. Some day we will not be alive. I use that to propel me forward. It’s hard to let a day go by, deluding myself and wallowing in complacency, when you know your clock is ticking. That doesn’t mean I don’t stop and smell the roses. I do. Well, actually I talk to the squirrels.

    Even when I started to prioritize and simplify my life (in all areas – fitness, diet, money, intellectual endeavors), I had to question a lot. Sometimes you have to make “me” time to move forward. Sometimes that means questioning relationships. I did it and have never been happier.

    Many thanks for writing!

  22. Comfort zones feel small, sweaty and constricting don’t they? Ragnar, this is great advice- especially for so many people who have just landed in a new city or new job. Staying at home in your new apartment or eating lunch at your desk can feel safe, comfortable and easy but let’s face it, new friends aren’t going to magically appear at your doorstep or cubicle to foster cool new relationships. You have to step outside, put yourself out there ( even a little) in order to experience the awesomeness of other people (and yourself).
    I stepped out of a good/comfortable life in Zurich ( corporate job, great friends, cool city) in pursuit of the unknown. I travelled the Southern Hemisphere for 6 months solo to throw myself outside my comfort zone. Turned out to be an incredible journey where re-connected to adventure, fear and my own awesomeness.

  23. Dianne says:

    Hi! You pointed very well this problem of living in our comfort zone. But the examples you gave are so insignificant, sorry for this. But…exploring a new city on your own, going out with completely new persons it’s not that unusual, what is the risk you take? Of course it’s all fun! Who wouldn’t enjoy to try new things when there is easy to make the choice?!
    Let’s talk about leaving your comfort zone when it’s a really difficult decision to make : changing your job when you have a mortgage for your house, move with your family abroad and live as an expat (family includes kids), start a new career different of your previous one…and more other examples like these. This is what I call leaving comfort zone, not when I hang out for a picnic with some new guys I never met before.

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