Comfy is nice. And while hunkering down on the couch with ear buds and a mug of tea is a great way to escape and relax, it won’t help you accomplish your goals or boost your personal success. According to an oft­cited study done with mice, scientists found that moving out of your zone of safety and familiarity increases your learning and problem­solving ability—up to a point; being frozen in fear is obviously not what anyone should strive for. To broaden your horizons and achieve your goals, then, you’ll need to get a little uncomfortable. Here are seven ideas to shake you up, build your courage, and take you outside your comfort zone—tapping into hidden wells of resilience and innovation.

1. Travel.

giphy (23)The strange customs and new languages of parts unknown can give you a brand new perspective. Sure, it might be challenging, even scary, to haggle over prices in a foreign marketplace or patch together directions to your hotel from signs written in an unfamiliar alphabet. But think how easy your next workplace negotiation will seem after facing down that shouting merchant—or how traffic on the way to work won’t seem like such a Herculean journey. It’s all a matter of perspective.

2. Eat!

Afraid of anchovies? Disgusted by durian? Try ‘em anyway. Nothing stirs the internal pot like putting something new in your belly. Think about it. New food means you’re actually made of something different. Scary? Maybe. But it’s also a great way to grow and to nourish your physical—and emotional—self.

3. Speak up.

Does public speaking make your knees shake and your voice crack? If so, you’re not alone; very few of us are comfortable speaking in front of groups. But commanding a crowd—and your fears—is, like everything else, just a matter of practice. Join toastmasters or volunteer to present or teach on a topic of personal expertise. Sweaty palms aside, you’ll be glad you did—and more comfortable the next time you’re called on to contribute in a meeting.

4. Run!

Slip on your sneakers and get moving. While a good workout isn’t exactly scary, it’s sure not what you’d call comfortable. But physical exercise builds confidence and a sense of accomplishment—and some muscle to boot. And if you’re already active, try shaking things up with something new: maybe a little rock climbing to get the adrenaline flowing. Your comfort zone will look a lot different from high above.

5. Have some “you” time.

When was the last time you did anything solo? We’re so used to being surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones that getting out on our own can feel downright unnatural. Take a trip or just hole up somewhere solo—without your smartphone—for a little while. A little introspection might be the shakeup you’ve been needing.

6. Strike up a conversation.

giphy (30)Most of us talk to the same handful of people everyday. Our comfort zones are built on the same old people saying the same old things. Why not strike up a conversation with someone new? It might sound like an awkward endeavor, but the chance to expand your circle of friends—as well as your point of view—is worth a little step outside your comfort zone.

 

7. Try the thing. You know, the thing.

We’ve all got something that terrifies us—and sometimes for very good reasons. (Your uncle’s snake juggling mishap, for example, put you off of serpents for life—and understandably so.) But often the dreaded thing that stands between us and growth is more a product of imagination than a reflection of real, likely outcomes. If you want to grow personally and professionally, trying staring down the things that scare you the most. Growth and learning sit in between comfort and anxiety. Pushing a little towards the scary side not only makes your comfort zone bigger, but also makes all of your fears a little smaller, a little less venomous, and a little less likely to get in the way of your goals for happiness, health, and success.

Make it your goal to push yourself this summer, and pay attention to what happens as a result. And if you’re a business owner and thinking the summer is your down time? Consider pushing yourself to take your advertising and call tracking to the next level using CallTrackingMetrics phone system. You’ll be amazed at what is going on in your calls and what opportunities you have to better optimize your advertising spending. The summer is the perfect time to get your tracking in place.