Last week, I had to bring my car to the shop to get checked out, and due to the pandemic, I didn’t want to hang out in the waiting room. I also didn’t want to take the bus back home, or even get a Lyft, which is what I sometimes do. The good news is, the car shop is only a mile and a half from my house, so I ended up walking home after dropping off the car.
A mile and a half isn’t too bad for me, and even though that road isn’t the most pleasant place to walk, I was able to tune out most of the traffic by listening to a podcast.
But then that afternoon, the shop called me back to say the car was ready to pick up, and I had to decide whether to walk back that day to get it.
I was surprised because I’d been expecting them to find a problem (the week before the car had jerked during acceleration), but they didn’t. I had thought I might be without the car for at least a day or two, so I hadn’t planned to walk both ways on the same day.
But it was a lovely afternoon, in the low 70s, partly cloudy, and with a bit of a breeze. I decided to start another podcast and go for it.
I’m glad I did because after I got there, I remembered why it helps to push yourself sometimes.
Not a lot, and not all the time, but occasionally going a little past your comfort zone does wonderful things.
Boosts Your Self-Confidence
One of the best things about accomplishing something you wouldn’t normally try is that it boosts your self-confidence. Suddenly you realize that you’re capable of more than you realized!
This is also why it’s important not to overdo things. For example, if you’re not a runner but you want to start, doing a marathon isn’t how to begin. If you tried, you’d likely fail and feel discouraged.
Instead, you’d start by running very short distances at first, perhaps alternating with walking, until you build up some stamina. Then you’d go longer and keep building up.
Making these gradual changes is what gives you more confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Encourages You to Do More
You may even find that the self-confidence spills over into other areas of your life. You may want to try more new things.
Continuing with the running example, maybe once you get in the habit of being active, you decide you also want to make more meals from scratch.
Before, you might have only used prepared foods because you didn’t think you’d be able to make a decent meal. Now, though, you realize that if you try something, even if it’s not comfortable at first, you can improve.
You can practice, and experiment, and even if things don’t always come out well, you’ll likely also surprise yourself with how tasty some of your meals are.
Makes You Feel Good
And finally, pushing yourself in this way just feels good. It’s like any kind of stretching – you might be stiff at first, but then you warm up and it feels nice.
Plus, it gives you more energy. I noticed this on my second walk last week, that even though it seemed like I should be tired after walking three miles, I wasn’t. I was just feeling focused and ready to get into other things once I got home.
This is especially noticeable when you’ve been listless and lethargic. It may take a little extra work to get going, but once you do, you might be surprised at how great it feels.
Again, a note of caution that you shouldn’t go overboard with this. Pushing yourself way out of your comfort zone, or out of your normal activity level, will leave you stressed, anxious, and miserable, which is definitely not the goal.
If you take it a little at a time, though, you’ll notice the benefits.
Trying Pushing Yourself a Little and See What Happens
Getting out of our comfort zone can be difficult, but if you do it in the right way, it’s well worth it. If you push yourself just over the edge, a little bit at a time, you’ll start to feel better about yourself. You’ll get excited to try more, and you’ll feel better.
Once you push yourself a few times, the new activity starts to feel comfortable. Then if you want, you can go a little farther, work a little harder.
And if you keep making those small changes, you’ll end up doing more than you would have ever imagined.