51 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Most of us love the familiar. Whether we realize it or not, we put a lot of work into ensuring that certain things in our lives remain constant.This personal “comfort zone” is the invisible, but very real area that defines the boundaries of what we know and understand. By staying within this comfort zone we reassure ourselves that we are safe. And as long as we are safely held within the walls of what we know we feel secure and confident.

As we move closer to the edges of that zone we begin to feel a bit shaky and unsure of ourselves. But those edges are where we grow. And by stretching those boundaries we increase our ability to receive.

T. Harv Eker, the author of The Secrets of The Millionaire Mind has said that our comfort zone equals our money zone. In order to have more money in our lives we must expand our comfort zone.

I would add that our comfort zone equals our joy zone, our love zone, our fulfillment zone, our spiritual connection zone, you name it.

So if you want more of anything in your life, the place to start is with your comfort zone. By expanding your comfort zone you will get more of what you want. It’s that simple.

Now it sounds easy enough, but most of us have built up some pretty sturdy walls around our comfort zone. Pushing them out or breaking them down requires conscious, concerted effort. And I have found that it’s easier to expand the comfort zone in small, steady, steps than in great big leaps. But in order to do that, you need to intentionally take expansive action on a daily basis.

So to get you started, I’ve created a list of 50 actions that might expand your comfort zone.

Keep in mind that the parameters of everyone’s comfort zone are different. So if you already love to Scuba dive, number 30 on this list isn’t going to expand your comfort zone very much! But there are most likely other items on this list that will work for you.

Also realize that many of these can, and may need to be, turned around to work for you. For example, number 6 is “Be the first to say, “I love you.” But if you’re the one that always says I love you first, you’ll need to turn it around to “Let the other person say ‘I love you’ first.” For some of you that’s going to be quite uncomfortable, especially when the other person doesn’t say “I love you!”

This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list. It can’t be. Instead, it’s a catalyst and a reminder for you to take small steps each and every day that expand your comfort zone.

Here’s the list:

1. Try some new food.
2. Go on a silent retreat.
3. Ask for a raise.
4. Smile at strangers.
5. Say hello to people in the grocery store.
6. Be the first to say “I love you.”
7. Perform at an open mike night.
8. Eat at a local restaurant by yourself.
9. Take a day off from work to volunteer at your child’s school.
10. Go back to school.
11. Start a new business.
12. Moonlight as a waitperson.
13. Unplug the TV for a week.
14. Write in a journal every day.
15. Learn to surf.
16. Go to a different church/temple/mosque each week.
17. Get your news from different sources.
18. Live in another country.
19. Do a house-swap for a month.
20. Use public transportation.
21. Wear an outrageous outfit.
22. Meditate for 15-minutes a day.
23. Put your cell phone in a drawer for a full week.
24. Make a fool of yourself – on purpose.
25. Call someone you admire in your community and ask them out for lunch.
26. Ask someone you admire to be your mentor.
27. Switch sides (of the bed) with your partner.
28. Confront a phobia.
29. Jump out of a plane (with a parachute please!).
30. Learn to scuba dive.
31. Say I love you to your parents/children/siblings/friends.
32. Admit you were wrong.
33. Go to a movie by yourself.
34. Take responsibility for something you didn’t do.
35. Give away all one-month’s income.
36. Give a public talk on a topic you’re passionate about.
37. Join a networking group.
38. Disconnect the Internet for a week.
39. Ask for help.
40. Get a part time job as a checker at your local grocery store.
41. Enter an art show.
42. Forgive someone.
43. Join Toastmasters.
44. Start a blog.
45. Ask for a partial or complete telecommute arrangement at work.
46. Take lessons in something you’ve always wanted to try (art, music, woodworking, dancing, etc.).
47. Learn a foreign language.
48. Read a book in a genre you don’t usually read.
49. Delegate more of your work.
50. Get up an hour earlier than usual.
51. Try a therapy or modality that seems a bit “out there.”

Which of these have the most potential for expanding your comfort zone? Which ones made you gulp or start to sweat a bit?

Which actions did I leave off this list that, for you, are particularly effective at expanding your comfort zone?

Leave a comment below and share some of yours.

47 responses to “51 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone”

  1. OH, this is SO IMPORTANT! If you live inside of your comfort zone, you will never grow!

    But then again, it sure feels messy sometimes when you have to get into the un-comfort zone. But the rewards are worth it! 🙂

  2. 19. Do a house-swap for a month.

    Hey, I never thought of doing a home swap as a way of expanding your comfort zone but including it on your list has really made me think. I have only now discovered your blog and it would be great if you could expand upon your comfort zone thinking on this particular point some time so I can publish it on my home exchange blog (with a link to your post of course!)

  3. Great premise. You are right on. Obviously, this list could contain millions of items. Personally, I move every few years. I have lived in Illinois, Arizona, California (three separate times), Colorado (two separate times), Oregon and Alaska. Each move is difficult at first, but I find that I grow so much from each new locale.

  4. Wendy. I KNOW that you’ve been stretching your comfort zone lately! You’ve had first-hand experience with that messy feeling!

    Kenneth. I’ve certainly found it to be true. Although sometimes the formula works in unexpected ways.

    Lois. Have you seen the movie The Holiday? Not a great movie, but it gave me the idea for that one.

  5. Sully. That “expecting nothing” piece is the kicker!

    Pamela. I’m a big fan of the “slow and steady” method. Haven’t always been! Some would say I’ve gotten wiser in my old age! 😉

    Peter. Let me know what you come up with. Remember. It’s not a race to see who can do the most of them in 24-hours! 😉 Although…

    Herval. You can keep your Internet. I’m keeping mine!

  6. I’ve been doing something quite like this for about 2 years now – continually trying to get further away from my old comfort zone. I’ve taken up new hobbies, made new friends, and moved house – since I started: I am now the happiest I have ever been… The secret, I think, is slow – incremental steps: unrelentingly pursued.

  7. Great List. One item that really caught my eye was #12. Moonlight as a waitperson.
    The thought both scares and excites me! I am a materials science engineer and entrepreneur. As a result, my social circle is limited to a small group of people my age. This could be an easy way to make friends outside my current social circle!

  8. “13. Unplug the TV for a week.”

    Gasp! Okay, only kidding. We do tend to get into ruts and what better way than to try the simple first and learn it’s not that difficult to expand one’s life.

  9. Johnny. The small, incremental steps piece is a big one. I don’t always walk my talk in that arena and sometimes find myself taking flying leaps smashing through the walls of my comfort zone. I definitely don’t recommend this to my clients. It’s sort of like: “don’t try this at home. This man is a trained profe…”

    Patrick. That waitperson thing caught a lot of people’s attention offline as well. Having been a waiter in the past, it’s not a big one for me, but apparently a lot folks have fears of spilling entire trays of food onto unsuspecting diners!

    Mark. I know that TV one is big. What would we do with those extra 4-hours a day? I have a feeling you’d come up with some good stuff. Give it a shot and report back!

  10. Doing everything on this list would definitely take me out of my comfort zone. The comfort zone is basically just staying away from situations that are uncomfortable for you.

    But these are really good suggestions. One thing I’ve noticed is that , breaking out of your comfort zone gives you more over all self confidence….especially in the long run.

  11. This is a phenomenal list. Personally, I have now gone a week without television and am loving the free time. And to boot, my productivity has skyrocketed.

    As for another way to expand your comfort zone…start talking to strangers whenever you are in an elevator. This will not only expand your comfort zone, but will also force others to expand their comfort zones.

  12. […] The man who stands in front of me at the passport check queue, is my former neighbor from the airplane. I wish him luck with the large package, hoping he will tell me what’s in it. “Thanks”, he says, “I’m just glad it survived the flight”. “Is it a piece of art?”, I ask him. He nods, and remarks, with a unbelievable sense of nonchalance, “a Karel Appel“. The customs officer waves at him and one of my greatest missed opportunities for an interesting friendship walks away. It’s unnecessary to elaborate on the moral of these two stories. I’m pretty sure you’ve found that out by now. Just try to live by it. How scary it may be. Here are 51 tips to break out of your comfort zone. […]

  13. I love this! Some great insight into how to free us from the binds that hold us back within our comfort zone. Gives some good insights on how to kick the door open, step out of our comfort zone and welcome new opportunities and situations. Well done!

  14. The list is made up of great suggestions. For years I have lived in the comfort zone and this has prevented me from growing in my professional life. I have recently had the opportunity to advance my career and because i am so used to staying on the safe side i am in jeapordy of losing the opportunity and possibly any future opportunites. If I don’t step up my game, I believe I will continue to be looked over for any other jobs in the company and people will not take me seriously. Public speaking is my phobia, but i’m going to work on it!

  15. Hey,
    My first step to come out of my comfort zone is to write something on this and I am doing it. Life sometime looks so settle, then you realize it not to stay forever like this, things and circumtances changes around you. So more flexible you are the faster you adapt. Procast change before life tells you to do.

  16. Yes, so true I advise my clients and my children that their success is on the other side of there comfort zone. Get up – get moving and do something different and innovative.

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