During the pandemic I have found myself retreating into my comfort zone. It makes sense to some degree: life is hard enough with the lockdowns and worse that this stupid disease has brought us: why make things harder?
What I have realized now though is my comfort zone has shrunk as I retreated to it more and more. This has led to a bad downward spiral. Take exercise, for example. A 30 minute run used to be in my comfort zone while a 60 minute run was not. But as I exercised less during the pandemic, now even a 5 minute run is barely in my comfort zone anymore.
This made me realize that to have a larger comfort zone, you need to regularly go outside your old comfort zone and get uncomfortable. Staying in your comfort zone only shrinks it. But by going outside it more, you expand it. Having a larger comfort zone means you feel more comfortable and in control more often.
I’m going to start pushing on the boundaries of my comfort zone not because it is fun, but because I want a bigger one. I believe life is better when you do that.
One provision I would add is to make sure that when you go outside your boundaries it is in the direction of growth, not harm. Some people avoid going outside their comfort zone because they are afraid of getting hurt. Other people go too hard (eg runners) and end up returning to their old comfort zone and get stuck. Don’t do those things. Be gradual and be consistent as you stretch yourself: that’s the best way to expand your comfort zone.