Fear is part of the comfort zone

How you can leave your comfort zone today - a guide for fearful rabbits

by Tim Reichel

Do you remember then? Back when you just did this one thing and grew beyond yourself: During your school days, in your first relationship, in your first semester at university?

Close your eyes and remember precisely that one moment.

You felt uncomfortable. Your mouth was dry; your hands wet. You didn't know what was going to happen. But you did it anyway. You pulled it off - and you won. You have left your comfort zone and developed further.

No matter how it turned out back then, you felt better afterwards. Because - despite all your reservations - you dared. You faced your fear. You did what true champions do. And that's why you became a champion yourself.

And that is exactly what you can do again. Even today.

I'll show you how


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Get out of your comfort zone in 7 steps (despite fear)

Are you one of those students who make themselves comfortable during their studies and risk as little as possible? Then today is the perfect day to stop.

There is only one little problem with this: Leaving your comfort zone is no fun; it is annoying and requires overcoming strength.

So you can get started right away despite fear and initial doubts:


Step 1: Determine your true comfort zone!

Before you can work on your personal development, you first have to know where you stand exactly. Without a precise knowledge of your current situation and your true comfort zone, it is difficult to go beyond your limits. Therefore, record your current state in the area in which you want to improve. Be honest with yourself and determine exactly to what point you feel good and when this feeling changes.

Example (speaking in front of several people):

“I find it difficult to speak in front of a lot of people. Then I get nervous, lose myself and forget what I actually wanted to say. As soon as I have to speak in front of more than three people, I feel uncomfortable. "

It follows:

Your comfort zone is around three people. If you want to improve yourself and become more confident in free speech, you need to consciously seek out situations in which you will speak in front of at least four people.

As soon as these framework conditions are clear, you take care of your doubts:


Step 2: get theoretical!

Everything feels good within your comfort zone. You know your way around and don't need to be afraid of anything. But as soon as you go into unknown areas, you feel insecure. You don't know your way around anymore and don't know what to expect. The result: You doubt yourself and your chances of success. And these doubts can slow you down and paralyze you.

Therefore, play through possible scenarios in advance and think about what can happen in the best and in the worst case. Get theoretical and imagine five possible consequences each time you leave your comfort zone. Put your ideas in writing and make yourself aware of how unlikely the negative consequences are and what great effects the positive consequences could have on your life.

Example (getting to know new people):

You would like to get to know a new friend / partner and speak to the still stranger. Negative consequences could be: You are ignored, you are rebuffed, you are laughed at, others see that you are rejected, you are embarrassed. Positive consequences could be: You gain experience in interpersonal relationships, you get to know an interesting person, you become more courageous from time to time, others who watch you admire your courage, you meet your new best friend / you meet your dream partner.

It follows:

Your assessment of possible consequences and risks is skewed - in the pessimistic direction. Ask yourself: How serious are the negative points? How strong are the positives? Which events are more likely? And which ones are threatening danger only in your head?

Go through this process for all areas and comfort zones that you want to tackle. And then:


Step 3: decide on one thing!

If you want to change something in your life, it is important that you don't do too many things at once. Occupy yourself with a single comfort zone - but do it properly and with full energy. Put your focus on a change and proceed with all your concentration and determination. This way you have the greatest success and can then tackle one “project” after the other.

Example (setting priorities):

You want to be more courageous, go to bed sooner, do more sport and work more focused on your studies - but you cannot tackle all projects at the same time. Therefore, arrange your resolutions according to the greatest personal benefit for you and start with the area that brings you the most happiness immediately. In this example it could look like this: Be more courageous, work more concentrated for your studies, do more sport, go to bed sooner.

It follows:

Always leave one comfort zone at a time. Take it step-by-step and don't make too big changes. Don't forget that change is annoying and stressful. If you do too much all at once, you'll get bogged down and give up before you outgrow yourself.

As soon as it is clear to you what you want to change and your decision is made, you make sure that it stays that way:


Step 4: make sure you can't back down!

With planned changes, never give yourself the chance to back down at the last second! In theory, almost every project sounds simple and feasible - in practice, however, it looks different and small hurdles then - when they become concrete - often act like insurmountable obstacles. Comfort zones are comfortable, cozy places. As soon as you leave them or only partially reach your limits, you will look for opportunities to retreat and excuses. But that is exactly what you must not allow.

Example (learn):

You want to start studying rather than wait until the last minute. Usually you wait until the pressure gets too big and you HAVE to start in order to pass the exams properly; beforehand you make up excuses and look for other activities that you can do instead of studying. Here's what you can do about it: Find a learning partner and arrange regular meetings or “checkpoints” during the semester, during which you keep an eye on each other's fingers. Check each other out and put some pressure on each other. If you prefer to work alone: ​​study on a temporary basis. Make a goal of studying for 30 minutes each day. Sit in front of your study materials and start a timer. As soon as the time runs out, you have to work.

It follows:

If you want to make sure that you are really leaving your comfort zone, you have to take away all opportunities for retreat from yourself. It's tough, but you have to assume that your future self will try everything to stay in your comfort zone. So do everything to ensure that you have a really difficult time later and think: "Thank you too - fuck you, past me!". Then you did everything right.

While the battle for your comfort zone is mostly an internal battle of yourself, you are not completely on your own. You can rely on external help:


Step 5: get support!

Chances are you're not the first person to want to work on yourself or push yourself beyond your limits. Therefore, you can learn from the experience of others and get valuable tips. Read related articles (like this one), useful books, or get any other helpful information and guides you can find. Exchange ideas with people who have tried the same thing as you, get advice and follow it. Every experience that you don't have to make yourself saves you time, energy and nerves.

Example (jogging):

You want to get a little more athletic and work on your condition. That's why you decide to jog regularly starting today. Before you get started, you could search for beginner strategies or google training plans. There may also be suitable blogs for beginners or YouTube channels to help you achieve your goal. If you can't find anything: Buy a guide book or get advice from your bookseller.

It follows:

You are (almost) never the first person in this world to start with a new habit. There is a wealth of information on (almost) every area that can help you with your project and get you started. Use it!

And then start:


Step 6: start small!

When you've made all the necessary preparations and you're ready to take the first step, make sure it's a step, not a three-meter jump. Always start small and do not overwhelm yourself right at the beginning. Feel your way, slowly approach your goal. Go slowly but decisively. This will reduce the likelihood of failure and keep your discomfort at a manageable level.

Example (get up earlier):

Do you often lie down until the last minute in the morning and press the snooze button on your alarm clock 19 times before you get up? Then there is no point in resolving to get up an hour earlier in the morning. It won't work because the step between your current situation and your desired state is too big. It is better if you gradually leave your sleep comfort zone: Get up 5 minutes earlier every day for a week. With 5 working days, that makes a total of 25 minutes. After less than 3 weeks you would have achieved your goal - without having to use the crowbar and torturing yourself out of bed an hour earlier on the first day.

It follows:

If you start small and go gradually as you leave your comfort zone, you reduce your internal resistance. You make it easier for yourself and on average you will reach your goal much faster and more relaxed.

But to be on the safe side that you are really successful, you still need a little controlling:


Step 7: control yourself!

Trying to leave your comfort zone without checking the results afterwards has the same value as ungraded assessments in your studies: That's nice, but you don't make any effort. Not at all to be precise. If you are serious and really want to change something in your life, you have to control yourself. You need to know your starting point (step 1) and then compare it with your results. Only then can you say whether you have successfully left your comfort zone and thus increased it - or not.

Example (install control mechanism):

You want to do something for your studies for half an hour every day. You decide to bring yourself to sit down at your desk in the evening and work through your documents or at least read something every day. To do this, you can set up a simple but strict control mechanism: keep a learning diary! Every day, write down how long you have learned something. Write down each learning unit meticulously and undertake to maintain this "controlling" until you have done something for your studies for 30 minutes a day for 30 days at a time.

It follows:

There are no half measures when leaving the comfort zone. You have to be honest with yourself: either you stick to your plan or you fail. If you fail and still sell it as a success, you are deceiving yourself. You can easily go on living with it, but you cannot outgrow yourself in the long run.

Even if it sounds tough, the following applies to your personal development: do not trust yourself, control yourself!


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If you manage to leave your comfort zone regularly during your studies, you will not only develop professionally, but also personally. You get to know yourself better and become a more mature person who sees every problem as a challenge and can approach change in a positive way.

Even so, your comfort zone is a highly competitive area. The opponents: you and you.

Because when you leave your comfort zone, you are consciously exposing yourself to an unpleasant situation. A situation in which you will grow - but first you have to fight. For this you will hate yourself in the short term, but love yourself in the long term.

Actually a good deal, right?


Image: © Ryan McGuire / gratisography.com