by Joleen Whelchel | sponsored by
Everything You’ve Ever Wanted is One Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
I’m 45. So many times in my life, I’ve sat in my comfort zone, perfectly content to stay in the safety of the familiar. Some of those times, I wasn’t particularly happy with my familiarity, but I knew what to expect every day, and at those points in my life, it was easier than changing. If I could go back to my younger self, I’d tell her to not waste time and get out of that comfort zone sooner.
As I look back over the past 45 years, I can pinpoint exactly the days that I jumped out of that imaginary box I’d built around myself and decided to grow. The thing is, it’s called a comfort zone for a reason - it’s comfortable there. It’s scary and new on the other side. But nothing grows inside a comfort zone, and if we’re not growing, we’re dying.
When I was in my 20’s, I finally ended an emotionally empty relationship because at some point, I just got tired of not being happy. That gave me time to explore who I wanted to be and to really learn to rely on myself and God. When I gained the self-awareness and confidence to be my own person, I met my husband. In my mid 30’s, we both took a huge step out of our comfort zones and got married. We had both lived alone for a long time. We both had to learn to live with another person, and that was comfortably uncomfortable. But, it’s been worth every second, and I couldn’t imagine life without him.
One month before my 40th birthday, I quit my high-paying advertising job and bought a kickboxing gym. I was ready for something new. Why a gym? Well, I have always loved fitness, so I figured I’d try to make a living doing what I love. That was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I remember telling my business partner that I had no idea what I was doing, but we just had to be like Dori and “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming….”
In the past five years, we’ve spent a LOT of time outside our comfort zone, but we’ve managed to build a great and loyal clientele, and they are like family to us. I would never have all those amazing people in my life if I’d stayed tucked in that comfort zone of my corporate job.
This year, you all know I took the giant step of finally hiring a professional to help me nutritionally get to my optimum health. I went back and forth...do I really want to be restricted? Do I really want to spend the money? Do I really need a professional? Can I figure this out on my own? The last two questions were simple to answer: I did need a professional and I couldn’t figure it out on my own.
Yes, I could get 10 pounds off; I’d done that 1000 times. But, I couldn’t get 20 off, and that’s ultimately what I needed to lose to get to my optimum health. More importantly, I couldn’t keep it off. I’d done every single diet out there, and I had successfully lost weight with all of them, but I’d never mastered keeping it off.
I made the decision to change my health once and for all. No more up and down. No more “off the wagon.” No more cinnamon gummy bears (I’ve eaten enough of those to last a lifetime, I guess). Was it easy? No, but it was simple. Making life changes and stepping outside your comfort zone so you can grow (or shrink) into the person you’ve always dreamed of being is not easy. Taking the step isn’t easy.
The program, honestly, is one of the easiest I’ve ever done. The maintenance program is fun, but I had to get out of my comfort zone of relying on the PHD food and learning how to incorporate back “real” food. Here’s the kicker, it wasn’t easy to leave my comfort zone and start. But, once I started, I’m so much happier and healthier. My body can do things it has never done. I did 7 unassisted chin-ups last week! I couldn’t even do one until a month ago.
I’d like to encourage you to take one small step outside your comfort zone. Whatever it is that lights your fire, take one step in that direction. There’s a whole new way of living out here. It’s fun!
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