Every once in a while you may be forced to come out of your comfort zone.
The idea that what you resist persists is true, some things just can’t be avoided.
You’ve probably been resistant and stuck in your comfort zone because you’re scared, the uncertainty is overwhelming and you’ve become comfortable with what you know.
Sometimes those are good enough reasons to stick with what you know. You don’t need to force yourself to do things that you don’t want to do.
But maybe you feel like you’re holding yourself back or feel are unhappy with the limitations you have placed on yourself.
If that’s the case, embrace the new and get out of your comfort zone.
Of course things that are new and unfamiliar might feel uncomfortable to begin with but over time that feeling will reduce. And maybe in a few weeks, months or even a year those things that once felt uncomfortable will become part of your comfort zone (or at least much less uncomfortable).
Setting goal or making plans for the coming year might seem like a waste of time. We’re in a period of great uncertainty and many of us may have already experienced a long list of things we planned to do in 2020 remain undone.
However, I think a lot of people did much more than they thought they would but in different ways. There was less focus on social activities, in person events and travel but perhaps more emphasis on wellbeing and personal growth.
Maybe this year you started a business, started a project, volunteered, overcame unexpected challenges, read some interesting books, discovered new interests, learned a new skill, developed your confidence, started a new job, got a promotion, visited a new city, bought a house, made new friends, tried some new recipes or figured out what you really want to do with your life.
Some of the things you did this year might seem small or meaningless but you still did them. It’s easy to forget afternoons spent catching up with your favourite people in a cafe, solo dance parties and endless laughter with siblings when you’re focusing on all the concerts you booked that got cancelled or all the places you never got to travel to.
And so for 2021, don’t be afraid to make plans or set intentions for the kind of year you want to have.
The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to at least check-in, recalibrate and ensure that the life you’re living is leading you in the direction that you want to go in.
I am a firm believer that in almost every moment, you know exactly what you need to do and exactly what decisions you want to make.
So often we see advice from others because we feel stuck or get overwhelmed by possibility and uncertainty. However, what I’ve learnt even is that when you allow yourself to get swept up in the situation it becomes difficult to navigate.
Think of a boat out at sea, once it gets swept up in the waves the boat has very little control.
Or lets take it back to a previous analogy of a boat with no oars, that was the idea of how little control you have without a sense of direction. In this case it’s more about settling your mind and letting the answers come to you instead of seeking them out.
In my experience, in quiet moments I am able to gain answers or clarification on situations where I previously felt like I didn’t know what to do.
It’s something that you have access to if you want to use it but you have to trust that you are capable of figuring out the situations you encounter.
What do you do when the worst possible thing happens.
And by worst possible thing I mean something unanticipated, something that you didn’t plan for that throws you off course.
The common and perhaps most easiest way to react is panic.
Like a sort of ‘Oh my goodness, what I am I gonna do, everything is going wrong, this has gotta be liek the worst possible thing, what am I gonna do now?’
Turns out the popular and easy reaction isn’t particularly helpful.
Instead my experience has taught me that the much more useful thing to is think. Go through the possible scenarios and come up with a solution. Once you’re able to remove some of uncertainty suddenly the worst possible thing isn’t so bad.
Granted you can’t control how things will turn out. However, what you can do is remind yourself that you are capable of overcoming the unexpected.
This is one of the easiest ways to feel better about life.
Instead of gazing into the abyss of nothingness wondering what the future will hold, you can set yourself up with something to look forward to.
It could be a catch up with a friend in a few days time or a holiday a year from now. But it could also be you making time for a hobby you enjoy one evening after work.
I think the reason having something to look forward to can help us feel better is because it gives us some indication of how the future will be. Granted we can’t predict everything but if we can set one or even a few things in stone then suddenly the future isn’t so frightening.
It’s common to fear the unknown and so if you can in some way bring some sense of knowing or stability, it helps make things easier.
It’s easy to be grateful when things are going your way.
But when times are uncertain and life has thrown a spanner in the works gratitude often becomes a little more challenging.
Suddenly the most prominent things are the bad stuff and you’re not thankful for your life being turned upside down.
In these times it’s even more important to practice gratitude.
The real benefits of the practice come when you’re able to make it a part of your lifestyle, independent of your circumstances.
And so maybe it used to be I’m grateful for getting to be apart of this exciting project or some other major thing that you feel like shouting from the rooftops. But now it’s more like I’m grateful for these cosy socks, the flowers in my garden and running water.
It’s easy to stick with what you know especially when it works.
But sometimes it’s good to try something new, explore uncharted territory.
Not just because what you’re used to isn’t working but because there’s is so much out there.
Trying new things help broaden your perspective.
Plus, how can you talk about how great something is when it’s the only thing you’ve tried.
Granted what you already know might turn out to be the best option but it doesn’t mean that alternatives aren’t worth exploring.
Don’t be afraid to try something new.
I start each day with a gratitude practice of listing 10 things I am grateful for.
Things are changing quickly and becoming quite difficult in some ways. It can be difficult to keep up with gratitude through challenging times.
You might find yourself wondering what exactly there is to be grateful for in a time of such great uncertainty. But I find that if you focus on the good bits (no matter how small) there is always something to be grateful for. I have no doubt that before you know it you’ll have reached 10 things pretty easily.
It could be sunny weather, the people you live with, the food in your cupboards, your health, the smoothie you made, being able to communicate with loved ones far away, the fact that you’re able to work from home, the friend that sent you a song as a pick me up, the extra time you have now you’re no longer commuting to work or even your favourite (almost) daily blog.
It might be difficult to think of things when you’re fearful or overwhelmed but know that this the perfect time to put your daily gratitude practice into practice
It’s more than just comfort and familiarity but it’s both of those things too.
When you move on from something and you haven’t reached the place you moved on to, it’s totally normal to look back at what you left or let go of.
And when you’re in a place of limbo, perhaps feeling a little dissatisfied with where you’re at, you might find yourself looking back from a place of lack.
Then suddenly that thing you chose to leave looks golden and bright. You find yourself wondering why you even moved on in the first place.
But deep down you don’t really want that thing, you just crave certainty. It’s much easier to take a step back to the familiarity of what you know than it is to keep going and venture on into the unknown.
What do you do when you think you’ve made a mistake?
In times of great uncertainty it’s not surprising that people look to something safe to cling and commit to.
And so we end up playing it safe. Getting a good job and settling down because it’s easier to follow the rules than it is to actually figure out what you truly want.
But weeks, months or even years down the line you’ll get this feeling of longing and wanting.
This comfortable and stable life that you’ve carved out for yourself is great in some ways but it also leaves you unfulfilled.
You wake up, go to work, spend 8 hours doing stuff that you don’t really care about, come home, eat, talk about your day, watch a tv show and then go to bed. And tomorrow it’s exactly the same.
In a bid to have a safe and stable life you’ve gotten rid of the good stuff. The stuff that gives you the opportunity to learn and grow, to push yourself and see what you’re capable of, to experiment, try new things and to explore yourself.
In a bid to have a safe and stable life you said no to pursuing your dream life.
But why not pursue to the dream life instead and go at it with full gusto. Why not commit to living a life of joy, teach yourself to take chances and be okay with uncertainty. Why not find a job you enjoy, explore new things and visit new places.
Life is very different when you open yourself up to possibility and believe that you can do more than just get by.