How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone and Free Yourself from a Self-Imposed Prison

by Gideon Hanekom
October 29, 2016

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In this post, we’re looking at How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone and Free Yourself from a Self-Imposed Prison.

You cannot get better by remaining the same.

Your business won’t grow if you never do.

Your results won’t improve if your effort and actions cease to improve.

If you’re not getting the results you want at this moment in time, chances are you’ve stagnated in some areas where you need to start growing again.

We call that place a comfort zone.  

In fact, it’s more like a familiar zone.

We stay in the same place because it’s familiar and therefore comfortable.

However, if you want to scale the results you’re getting in your life and business right now, you must learn to break free.

You must learn how to break out of your comfort zone and free yourself from a self-imposed prison.

Let’s look at some ideas on how to do that here today.

 Bestselling author and business expert, Brian Tracy, once wrote:

Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.

Make no mistake; a comfort zone is a habit.

It’s something you do for so long that it becomes your default place; a safe harbour so to speak.

The only problem with this approach is the fact that new destinations cannot be discovered or reached staying in the safety of the harbour.

You must venture out into open waters at some stage.

comfort zone

Perhaps you’ve also developed this habit of remaining in your comfort zone. It’s actually quite easy to do and happens without you knowing it.

It just sorts of hit you one day that you’ve been in the same place for a really long time (even when it only feels like a short while).

The scary part often is, not knowing how it happened so “suddenly” and pervasively.

You just wake up one day and realise ten years have gone and you’re still doing the same crap you did eight years ago. How did that happen?!

Listen, here’s what I’ve learned;

Your life will become much more interesting when you decide to leave your comfort zone behind you.

But, only when you start choosing to push the bar on your ass a bit.

I know you know this, but it’s worth repeating:

You can’t keep doing what you’ve been doing expecting different results, my Friend!

 It doesn’t work like that. I wish it did, but it doesn’t.

For example, if you want to improve your business’ income something needs to change.

You either need get more clients, charge those you have more for your services, cut your outgoings, work more hours, offer more services, automate some of your processes, appoint more sales people etc.

There are many options except for one – staying the same or perpetuating what you’re currently doing. That approach will just yield the same results (or worse).

Here’s another example; if you want to motivate your team more, something has to change.

Again, you have many options.

You can build more trust by spending more quality time with individual team members, and getting to know their desires, dreams and concerns.

You can create more input from your team by implementing regular meetings where all topics relating to improvement of the business is discussed openly and honestly.

And just FYI, this is standard practice for a lot of high performing organisations and teams around the world.

You can communicate more appreciation since the lack of appreciation is the number one reason why people globally leave their jobs for another.

comfort zone

You can align incentives with people’s personal values more. This requires a better understanding of the needs, which means a better understanding of who works for you, is required.

The options are endless but again, the one you don’t have is remaining and continuing the same old same old.

The last example, if you want to scale your career or get a better job, you also need to consider changing and improving certain things.

Don’t buy into the belief (lie) that you are stuck in a job without any options.

Modern-day technology has made it very easy for anyone to improve their knowledge, skillset, and therefore options in the workplace.

If you’re a garbage collector (and I have heaps of respect for these guys) but believe you have no options to scale the results in your life, you’d be mistaken.

Say, for example, you love working on pushbikes (what we call “bicycles” in New Zealand) you can use the Internet to learn and improve your knowledge base and skill set around that.

You can then use that information to start building a business on the side line, fixing up or putting together custom-made pushbikes for certain niche groups, like mountain bikers or BMXers.

comfort zone

I literally just pulled that example out of a hat, but the principle applies across the board.

If you want to become a manager in your workplace, through the Internet (and libraries) you have access to every resource you need to improve your leadership skills, and perhaps even get a qualification at a fraction of the price of going to university.

The point being, none of this will even become a remote possibility for you, unless you’re willing to recognise and step out of your comfort zone.

Unless you recognise the fact that most of our mediocre results, is the result of our comfort zones and not circumstances, and then choose to believe and act on the fact that you can improve any area of your life; nothing will change for you.

That’s a fact.

We need to look at some ways to break out of your comfort zone and free you from a self-imposed prison (whatever that might look like to you right now).

comfort zone

So, let’s ponder a few points about breaking out of your comfort zone in this next part.

Remaining in your comfort zone for too long robs you of growing.

When you stretch yourself a bit, you’ll find yourself reaching out as a tree toward the sun.

If you get too comfortable and rarely try to do anything new, how will you grow?

Yet, growth is the essence of our happiness.

The moment we start growing, in any area of life, and a natural sense of satisfaction sets in.

Avoiding growth, for whatever reason, is like suffocating yourself slowly.

It doesn’t serve your life or business at all.

So do something about it. Make a plan to grow consistently in some areas.

Read something. Watch training. Attend a seminar. Join a mastermind group.

Making one change in your routine can open you up to new experiences.

For example, if you usually go to the health club to jog on the treadmill and lift free weights, try a spinning or aerobics class one morning a week instead.

Just the act of doing something new will start the process of creating new neural pathways which forces your brain to reshape itself.

You will feel an immediate effect.

In order to grow, you’re required to put forth effort.

Stepping away from what you’re used to bringing more work for you.

This is the first stumbling and biggest block for most people I know.


As people, we like being comfortable and avoiding making an effort.

However, when you first learn something new, you’re required to spend time on the new activity, reading and thinking about it. It is going to require some hard work on your part (initially anyway).

comfort zone

 Once you’ve put in the hard yards, you’ll be more likely to practice and stick with what you’ve learned.

Join a group.

The interesting thing about human behaviour is that we take our cue for how to behave from those we surround ourselves with.

Joining a group will influence how you behave.

So match your goal with a type of group, and join up.

For example, if you want to be healthier, join a sports club and surround yourself with active and fit people.

If you want to improve as a business owner, seek out a mastermind group of like-minded business owners or mentors.

Committing to attending something weekly or monthly consistently may be a giant step out of your comfort zone.

You have no idea what being in the group would entail. And I know it is scary.

Yet, you’ll experience a lot of benefits by getting involved.

Pair something comfortable with something new.

For example, ask your good friend, Graham, whom you’ve spent a lot of time with, to accompany you to a three-session digital photography class.

You’ve yet to take a photography class and it might be nice to have Graham beside you, learning about how to take great pictures.

Another example is that you’ve known your neighbour, Sara, a piano teacher, for ten years.

You’d love to learn how to play the piano.

So, you tell Sara you’d like to take six piano lessons to see how you like it.

You’ll feel less awkward because you already know Sara and it would be convenient for you to go next door or have Sara come to your place.

Moving out of your comfort zone equals adventure.

Do you have an adventurous spirit?

If you can consider yourself a “life explorer” of sorts, you can trudge ahead into the great unknown with gusto.

Think of life as a giant adventure complete with mini-adventures along your journey, and you only get one chance in life to create lasting memories.

Accept that vacating your comfort zone will be awkward at first, yet fun.

Being exposed to new hobbies and subjects will be a bit daunting.

Remind yourself that you’ve navigated many rough waters on your life journey and that you’ve made it through each of them.

Make a decision to get out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes, personal growth is a conscious choice.

Bestselling author and world-renowned high-performance coach, Brendon Burchard, always teaches:

In order to change, something needs to come from without or from with in.

We can’t always wait for our circumstances to force us out of our comfort zones. We need to find the reasons inside of us and act on them.

A good question I’ve learned that helps with this is,

“What is the real cost to you, your family, and your future/dreams/goals right now, if you stay on your current path and refuse to break out of your comfort zone?”

The faster you make a decision to step out of your comfort zone, the quicker you will start moving towards your goals.

If you want to expand your horizons intellectually and personally, deciding you’ll do it by a certain date is an effective way to go.

To illustrate, vow to yourself that you’ll start a new class by April 10, 2017.

Then, follow through and feel great about it.

Remind yourself of times when you stepped out of your comfort zone.

What did you think about it at the time?

How did you cope with it then?

What did you learn from the new experience?

What is the worst that could happen if you did it again?

Breaking out of your comfort zone is an absolute must if you want to scale the results in your business or personal life. It will also be exhilarating, because growth is what really creates fulfillment and happiness.

It’s when we get stuck and stop growing that ailments like depression, obesity, addictions etc. start taking root in our lives.

Breaking free from your comfort zone is not just a nice idea; it’s a requirement to survive and thrive.

But be prepared, the moment you choose to break free from a self-imposed prison and start improving your life, you’ll most likely experience moments of feeling unsure or confused.

However, the farther away you move from your comfort (safe) zone, the braver and more adventurous you become.

Carving out the good life for yourself and your family will be sweeter when you leave your comfort zone behind you, which in turn will make you bolder to create even more and better results.

I hope this post served you today.

And as always, go out and live strong, be healthy, and make a difference for someone today.

About the author 

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a renowned relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website shares valuable insights on creating healthy relationships life. Gideon holds a Master's degree in theological studies and transitioned into professional counseling more than a decade ago. In addition, he since completed post-graduate studies in Psychology at Massey University. With over seventeen years of marriage to his wife and two children, Gideon brings both professional and personal experience to his relationship advice. His articles have been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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