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Posts Tagged ‘Behavior change’

Comfort zone is a concept that has kept reoccurring in different workshops, trainings, and conferences I have attended over the past couple years. In fact, our 2019 OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Conference was titled “Growing Our Comfort Zones.” Though not a new concept to me, some people have probably not considered if or how often they get out of their comfort zone. Over the past few years, I have been questioning and ultimately growing my comfort zone through a variety of experiences, opportunities, and challenges.

For about 22 years, I was comfortable and content in my position as an exercise physiologist. Aside from a rare emergency, I pretty much knew what my day would look like even before I got out of bed. Now, every day of the week might look different depending on my schedule. This change took some adjusting, but I enjoy the variety now. I have grown more in the last few years than I had the previous 2 decades. Things that I would have never done, I don’t give a thought. While a few years may sound like a short time to some, it feels like a lifetime to me.

When the keynote speaker for our conference asked for a volunteer to help illustrate some of her points, I raised my hand. You see, while I am not exactly comfortable in front of a group, especially administrators and colleagues from around the state, I do like to have fun. I have learned to volunteer early, because the crowd is usually more forgiving. We performed an activity one way, then she changed it around to illustrate how being open to possibilities allows for so much more opportunities than defaulting to no. When we are open to new ideas, experiences, opportunities, and challenges, we are more likely to learn and grow as individuals, teams, and organizations.

This idea of moving out of your comfort zone might be easier said than done. For some people, the thought of doing something new or out of the ordinary may seem overwhelming, even paralyzing, while to others, it is exciting and exhilarating. What might be exciting to one person, might already be routine for another. We are all on a different journey and that is OK. More importantly, no matter what your comfort zone may be, you should continually look for ways to expand it.

Take me for instance, if someone had told me 4 years ago that I would present at the Ohio Statehouse and at national conferences in front of my peers, or apply for a leadership program that would require me to travel across the country and even to another country alone, I would have told them they were crazy! But, I have indeed done all of these things and SOOO much more. Things that I used to fear or that would make me nauseated before, no longer elicit this response. THIS is how you grow your comfort zone! Now, things that were not even on my radar, are the things that make me nervous. As I am able to grow my comfort zone, eventually, they too will no longer cause this reaction.

There are some valid reasons for getting out of your comfort zone. Stephen Schramm shares these:

  • Unlock your hidden talents
  • Know you won’t be perfect
  • Be ready for the future

According to Ann Latham, here are 16 more reasons you should get out of your comfort zone:

  • It won’t be as bad as you expect
  • Egos heal
  • No one is paying that much attention to you
  • Others are scared too
  • People with no more talent and no less fear than you are successfully doing the thing you are avoiding
  • There is no better way to grow
  • You might discover something you love
  • New challenges and experiences rewire your brain and make it more adaptable, stronger, and healthier
  • You will boost your self-confidence
  • You will be proud that you took the leap
  • Each milestone makes it easier to tackle another milestone
  • You will be more promotable and/or will earn more money
  • You will learn that failure is rare because the most common outcomes are success, learning, and growth
  • As your comfort zone expands, you will see new opportunities previously obscured by barriers of your own making
  • You will become more resilient and prepared for whatever comes your way
  • It could change your life by opening doors you never knew were there

So, if you are ready to expand your comfort zone, Andy Molinsky suggests you do these things:

  • First, be honest with yourself
  • Then, make the behavior your own
  • Finally, take the plunge

Leave us a comment about how you get out of or how you have expanded your comfort zone.

Written by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Perry County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Photo Credit:

Sources:

Latham, A. (2018.) 16 Reasons Why You Should Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone Now. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/annlatham/2018/04/11/16-reasons-why-you-should-get-out-of-your-comfort-zone-now/#29b4047962e5

Molinsky, A. (2016.) If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Won’t Learn Anything. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2016/07/if-youre-not-outside-your-comfort-zone-you-wont-learn-anything?referral=03758&cm_vc=rr_item_page.top_right

Schramm, S. (2018.) Reasons to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. Duke Today. Retrieved from: https://www.today.duke.edu/2018/10/reasons-get-out-your-comfort-zone

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2017-loading-pic

While ringing in the New Year, many of us also resolve to make THIS the year that we finally realize our goals. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves off the resolution wagon before January has ended. Every year people say they are going to exercise more, be healthier, quit smoking, get organized, lose weight, manage money, etc. By the time February rolls around, those ambitions have gone by the wayside. Well, FEAR NOT! Using some scientifically proven steps, lasting change is achievable.

Researchers have identified distinct stages of change that people who are able to achieve success progress through. The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) was developed in the late 1970’s by James O. Prochaska, PhD and Carlo C. DiClemente, PhD, when they contrasted the experiences of people who were able to quit smoking on their own, versus those who needed additional treatment. People quit smoking when they were ready to quit. The TTM operates on the assumption that people do not change behaviors quickly and decisively. Rather, change in behavior, especially habitual behavior, occurs continuously through a cyclical process.1

The Transtheoretical Model

  • Pre-contemplation: Someone may realize there is a problem and they may be thinking about changing it, but they have not yet made a commitment to do anything about it. People can be stuck in this phase for many years.
  • Contemplation: Someone plans to make some changes in the relatively near future. They have started to think about the good and bad things associated with making these changes.
  • Preparation: Someone is going to take action soon. They may start taking small steps toward the change.
  • Action: Someone has recently started making some changes in their behavior to make progress toward their goal.
  • Maintenance: Someone has been continuing with the behavior changes for a period of time and they plan to stick with them.
  • Termination: Someone no longer has any desire to revert back to their previous behaviors. Most people don’t get to this point, so it is often not part of many programs.
change

People do not succeed in achieving their New Year’s resolutions or other goals because they are unaware of these stages. In addition to this, the professionals people seek for help, may also be unaware of what stage of change the someone is actually in. They assume since a person has come to them asking for help, that they are in the action phase, when this may not be accurate. Consider whether the stage of change that you are in right now is appropriate for the expectations you may have set on January 1st. If not, adjust your timeline and your goals accordingly.

So, if achieving your goal weight, exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking, managing finances, or whatever has slipped by the wayside, you can still be successful in 2017!

Author: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University, Washington County.

Sources:

Boston University School of Public Health http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/BehavioralChangeTheories/BehavioralChangeTheories6.html

Research Gate https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285796052_Applying_the_Stages_of_Change

SAGE Journals http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.4278/ajhp.140627-QUAL-304

Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162833.html

Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162820.html

Harvard Business School http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5-new-year-s-resolutions-you-can-keep-with-the-help-of-behavioral-science-research

Case Western Reserve University http://www.centerforebp.case.edu/stories/stages-of-change-co-creator-carlo-diclemente-discusses-practical-applications-of-his-transtheoretical-model-for-health-wellness-and-recovery

University of California, San Francisco https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/12/405201/scientific-reasons-keeping-your-new-years-resolutions

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/behavior.htm

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