The Art of Reinventing Yourself in the New Year
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Life Strategies Coach
It is a new year and time for reflecting on what you want in your life. So what is it that you put off last year? Perhaps you used the pandemic as an excuse. Or maybe other things were going on in your life that made you delay doing what you know you need to do to live a happier, more fulfilled life.
Because it is a time for reflection and setting new goals for the new year, I am starting a new series on how to leave your comfort zone so you can achieve the dreams you have for yourself, whether they are in the realm of health, relationships, or career. During this first month of a new year, it is time to think about what you want to change so you can achieve goals you have been putting off for too long.
Everyone dreams about what they want in their lives. It is our dreams that keep us going. They give us hope about the future, no matter how dismal the present may feel. We always hope that the future holds something bigger and better for us than what we have at the moment.
People tend to see their lives as having an upward trajectory. So even if they are suffering a setback or having a bad time of it, they want to believe that this, too, shall pass.
However, the sad truth is that many people are suffering, and there is no way out for them. Many people will continue to suffer because they can't see a way out of their current circumstances. They feel stuck and don't know where to turn or how to get things turned around for themselves or their families.
Success is a word everyone aspires to, but many never attain it. It's just a word that means nothing in their day-to-day lives.
How did that happen?
We are supposed to want to achieve our dreams and goals, aren't we? Aren't we hardwired to change and grow and become better as we age and grow?
The truth is, everyone wants to be successful. But not everyone is willing--or able--to do what it takes to reach the success they want. Success is earned, after all. It's not granted like a wish. It isn't ever going to be handed to you. You can get to sit back, do nothing, and be rewarded with the life of your dreams. It doesn't work like that.
If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to work for it. Nothing worth having comes easily.
You wouldn't savor your success if it came too easily to you.
You'll have to be willing to take risks and meet challenges to be successful. You'll need to be ready to face failure head-on, not once, not twice, but maybe plenty of times.
Success is not for cowardly people or those who shy away from hardship. It's not for those who can't find the courage to leave their comfort zones. It's not for people who aren't courageous enough to take that first step toward their dream.
It's not for people who don't know how to choose success for themselves and then act on their choices.
But you are not one of those people. You are reading this message right now because you want--and you are ready--to change your life for the better. You are ready for change. And you're willing to do what it takes to live the life of your dreams.
Let this series of posts help you get you moving. By the time you finish the series, you'll feel ready to move out of your comfort zone.
Have you let your comfort zone define you?
"You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone."
― Roy T. Bennett
We all like comfort. We enjoy living and doing things in comfort. And we live in an age of instant gratification, so we can pretty much have anything we want anytime.
We can have our food delivered to our door with the push of a button on an app or the click of a mouse. We don't have to go to the store or stand in long lines. Just click, and wallah, you have groceries on your doorstep.
Thanks to our modern age, you can order anything and have it delivered from dinner to toiletries.
When we get too comfortable, we tend to dwell in our own little bubbles. We may think we are happy and satisfied and even safe. After all, we're able to do things that don't stress us out or make us anxious.
Eventually, however, we may become bored and feel uninspired with our lives. We become aware of feeling unhappy. Finally, we awake to the truth that we have relegated our dreams to the back burner.
Are you living in a comfortable little bubble?
Many people don't want to rock the boat even though they're unhappy. They believe it is better to be miserable with what they know than to risk going for something unknown.
You may want to leave things the way they are. You may have gotten too used to what feels "comfortable." The mere thought of leaving the familiar to do something uncomfortable leaves you in a cold sweat.
Many people stay in unhappy marriages, for instance, because leaving feels challenging and threatening. What would it be like not to be married? What about the kids? Even if the constant fighting may hurt them. It's what you know that keeps you from moving out.
Others may stay in jobs they hate because they don't know what they would do instead. But, again, it's far easier to stay where you are comfortable.
What does any of this mean for you?
Your life to date is the accumulation of your choices. You can choose to step out of your comfort zone and try something new that may bring you closer to your dream, or you can stay put. It's up to you.
Comfort zones do change.
You may want to go out and chase your dreams, but you're afraid. That's normal. But if you take a chance on your happiness regardless of your fear, the fear will lessen. It may even disappear.
The truth is, your comfort zone can and does change as you move through life.
Consider what you have now that you consider part of your comfort zone that used to be outside your comfort zone at some point in your life?
Look at your home, for example. Our homes are at the center of our comfort zones for most of us. It's where we go home to sleep, eat, relax, have fun with the family--all that good stuff.
But have you always lived in that same home? Did you always have the same people living with you?
I'm willing to bet your answer is going to be a big "no."
So, before you moved into your present home, you lived somewhere else. And that somewhere else was part of your comfort zone then.
When you decided to move from your old home to the new one, you probably felt a little apprehensive—excited, too--but mostly scared. You were leaving your old comfort zone behind and moving into something unfamiliar.
I have moved out of my comfort zone multiple times in my own life. For example, it was scary when I first moved out of my family home after college. But I did it.
Then, eventually, my roommate moved out, and I was left alone to manage everything in the household by myself for the first time, and I was scared. I was afraid I couldn't manage to be alone, but I did it.
Then I met my husband, and I moved in with him, which involved moving to a whole new city where I started a new job—more scary stuff.
Then, when my marriage didn't work out, I moved out of the marital home and into an apartment. Talk about feeling scared! But I got through it.
And then I bought my current house, and it was a nicer house than I had ever had before. That was a little scary. New neighbors, new experiences, lots of unknowns, but I made it to the point where now I am very comfortable--and happy--here.
The point is that each move nudged me out of a comfort zone and into something better and even more rewarding.
After a few days, weeks, or months of living at each new home, I suddenly realized it had become your new comfort zone. I was no longer scared.
We have to be willing to step outside our comfort zone to grow. Period. It is not optional. It is a requirement if you want to grow and move toward your dreams and goals.
There is nothing wrong with being comfortable if it isn't holding you back from your potential success.
When does your comfort zone become a problem?
When your comfort zone interferes with attaining your dreams in life, it becomes a problem. When you get to the point where you let your comfort take place over your dreams, it's a problem.
So, when your comfort zone stands between you and your dreams, you need to make a new choice.
Next week's post will cover how you can change and move out of your comfort zone toward the dreams and goals you have.
I am going to be offering a Q & Session on how to find a new job in 2022 this coming Thursday, January 13, 2022, at 7:00 PM EST.
To join me, use this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8044045475.
You can also catch me on Facebook Live at https://facebook.com/boitnottcoachingllc.
Can't attend Thursday night? Shoot me any questions you may have by emailing me at email@example.com.