We humans sure are creatures of habit. Yet at some level, we know that it is when we move beyond our habits, pushing ourselves into new territory, that real growth occurs.

Much of our life is in this interesting tension between a desire for comfort and a push for growth. If we look back over our personal history, we can see marked periods of upheaval in our lives. Whether we consciously desired it or not, the events around us moved us into change. New jobs; moving to new geographical areas; the ending of relationships through death, divorce or other factors; the birth of our children; illnesses and the like have moved us out of our comfort zones. We changed, we grew and then we settled back into periods of routine and safety.

There’s a common joke among ministers and spiritual teachers that one of their key roles is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. This gets at the realization that personal breakthroughs come via this yin-yang movement between order and chaos, security and insecurity, habit and new experiences.

Where are you in your life right now? Is it time to introduce some active chaos into your life so as to bring about the next step in your personal growth and evolution? I recognize a part of you is screaming “no!”

If you’re in the midst of a period of change, then you may not feel the need to push through the boundaries of your comfort zone. But if you’ve been sitting in the shelter of routine and habits for quite a while, then maybe it’s time to disrupt your life a bit.

Introducing change can begin with seemingly minor stuff. Here are five comfortable ways to move towards pushing you out of your complacency –

One – Change Your Wardrobe or Appearance

When I open my closet, I realize I don’t wear 90% of the stuff in there. I tend to wear the same clothes over and over, the ones that are mentally or physically “comfortable”. Although I try to clear out my wardrobe at least once a year and donate to charity clothes I don’t wear, there are some I hang onto because I believe one day I’ll wear them. How about wearing one today? If you’re feeling really brave, consider a new hairstyle.

Two – Drive a Different Route, Visit a New Shop

We tend to go to the same places via the same roads each day. We go from home to work and back. We can drive it in our sleep. Take a different route today. We tend to shop at the same shops and eat at the same restaurants. Visit a new one today.

Three – Watch a Different Channel on TV

Most of us tend to get overwhelmed by the number of channels on our television. Our reaction to the sense of “too much” choice is to either scroll through them never staying for very long on one channel because we believe there must be something better on the next one or we only drop in on a few channels that we know and like. Why didn’t you consciously stop on a channel that you never watch and spend a little time with it to see what you learn?

Four – Explore another Spiritual Faith

Odds are, if you go to church or spiritual center, then that’s where you go and you never visit another one. If you don’t go to church or spiritual center, then you never go to one. Push yourself a bit and visit the center just for the experience. Try not to be in “judgment mode” when you do it – simply be open to seeing how other people approach their desire for spiritual nourishment. If this is too uncomfortable for you, then seek out and watch alternate faith presentations on television or the Internet.

Five – Try That New Thing!

What do I mean? Well, this one you need to come up with! Most of us have some mental list of things we want to do that we’ve never done. Try a new cuisine, learn a foreign language, take a class, take a trip to someplace new and different, learn a musical instrument, go dancing and on and on… We all have some inner calling within us, urging us to experience life in some unique and different way. What is it for you? If you’re not sure, then sit down and make a list of everything that comes to mind that you would like to do that is “new and different”. Keep it safe or go wild and crazy – it’s your list. Then pick one!

All right – it’s up to you! Pick one of these comfortable things or come up with your own, but it’s time to shake things up and introduce a bit of “evolution” in your life.  And–let these comfortable steps lead you to even bigger steps and larger growth!

Mark Gilbert

PS. If you’ve got other ideas for getting out of your comfort zone, let me know – Post a comment or drop me a note.

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!