This year I made a New Year’s Resolution to step outside of my comfort zone more often. I’m a creature of habit, so I like routines, structure, and predictability. Typically this way of operating serves me well, but occasionally I feel like I miss out on opportunities or experiences because I’m planted a little too firmly in my comfort zone.
Now that we’re half way through the year I’ve been spending some time reflecting on my goal, and while I’ve managed to step outside my comfort zone a little bit here and there, I haven’t really given my goal much thought or priority.
I guess that could be why I decided on a whim that I was going to do something outside of my comfort zone during our planned family vacation.
Every year we take the same vacation on the same lake in Maine, which as you can imagine, is right up my alley! This year I decided (and boasted to my husband) that I was going to jump off the dock into the lake.
Okay, I realize how silly that might seem. Anyone can jump off a dock! It’s not hard! But, in the ten years we’ve been going to this lake in Maine, I can’t remember ever jumping off the dock. In fact, in the past four or five years I don’t even think I even went swimming in the lake.
A few days of vacation came and went, and I still hadn’t jumped off the dock. I started to feel that nagging feeling of defeat. That little voice that creeps in and taunts me when I don’t accomplish something I’ve set out to do. I hate that voice! In that moment I decided that voice, and that feeling wouldn’t be allowed on my vacation.
I was jumping off that dock!
The next day while the kids were napping (we called those two or so hours the “freedom hours”), I marched onto the dock and proclaimed I was jumping in. My husband, who was already in the lake treading water, waited patiently while offering words of encouragement. I stood there for a few moments contemplating. I thought about why it was so important for me to follow through with this small, yet huge goal. And, just like that – I was off!
As simple as it was, jumping off the dock that day filled me with a sense of pride and accomplishment. I had needed a little reminder that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to. Later on in the week, that same feeling is what fueled me to run up a steep winding hill. During my run I told myself that I could walk when I reached the hill, but once I reached the hill I knew I wasn’t going to stop and walk.
Pushing myself outside my comfort zone is important to me because I know deep down that I have been holding myself back for a long time. In general, I tend to choose security and safety over fulfillment, and I’m ready to start challenging that habit.
Also, as a mother, I want to lead by example and demonstrate to my children that it’s okay to take risks, chase dreams, and go for it. And, like my husband did for me that day, I’ll be there waiting patiently and offering encouragement.