1. You know exactly where you will be and what you’ll be doing every day.
It’s great to have some sanity in life. It’s absolutely fantastic to not feel like you’re a plastic bag drifting wherever the wind takes you. But it’s not that wonderful to be anchored to the bottom of the sea, either. Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do something new, different and spontaneous every day, it does also mean not living a monotonous life, where everything you do has been charted out in advance.
2. You haven’t tried to do anything differently from how you normally do it in a long time.
This is about the little things, like the way you dress up, do your hair, or eat your lunch. Everyone does these things every day, but if you find that you’ve not altered the way in which you do them in quite a while, it’s a sign that you’ve become too cozy with keeping things as they are.
“But my hair and eating habits are just fine!”, you might argue.
I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong – change something up just for the sake of it! Maybe you’ll learn something new, like how someone you work with has always thought your old hairstyle was really great, or maybe you’ll meet someone new, when they come to ask you where you got that outfit from. There isn’t anything to lose, and I promise you, something great will come out of it.
3. You’ve forgotten what an adrenalin rush feels like.
And I’m not talking about that sick, stomach-churning, sinking type of sweat-fest that comes with you dreading your next work assignment or deadline. I’m talking about the heart-pounding, mind-racing, barely-containable excitement that comes from almost overcoming the challenge delivered to you. The type that makes you come to life.
4. The stresses in your life haven’t changed.
What was the number one challenge two months ago is still the number one challenge in your life. There is no problem with needing time to overcome any hurdle life throws at you, but if you’ve made no headway with overcoming it, chances are it’s because you’ve been taking the same approach towards it. Which is what happens when you become too comfortable with how everything else in life is running. You might feel that getting everything else to fit to a routine will make it easier to focus on the problem at hand, that you’ll have less on your plate, but truth is, ‘routine’ is a creativity-sucking quicksand that’s very hard to get out of once you’re in.
5. The thought of a new challenge feels like a burden and makes your stomach churn with dread.
Before you ask, this is as opposed to jolting you into life. Think about when you were younger. Whenever you were told you couldn’t do something, your immediate response was to say you could. Whenever you were presented with something that you didn’t get on your first try, the resolve to get it done only strengthened, and you persisted till you’d done it, no matter how long it took. If that isn’t what happens now, if being told about more work makes you cringe, it could be that deep down, you’re afraid that you’ll be forced to change because of this.
6. You’re either bored or completely exhausted with life at the end of each day.
I won’t be obnoxious and imply that living in your comfort zone is the only reason this could happen. It could be that you’re doing too much, pushing your mind and body hard (and you have my respect for that), but just as possible is that you’re doing it too little. And just like muscle atrophies when you don’t use it enough, so does the creative spirit. Enough said.
7. The people who are always pushing themselves and living out of their comfort zones completely baffle you.
This one’s pretty straightforward, actually. Whenever we’re told anything about anyone, the natural tendency is to compare it to ourselves, whether we do it consciously or not. And when you learn about someone doing all these things, you automatically come to the conclusion that this is supernatural, simply because you’re so used to doing things by your schedule that anything different is simply unimaginable to you. Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to get competitive about everything, but if you take it to be an incredible feat solely because you feel like you’d never be able to do it, something’s not right.
8. If you were to compare the person you are today to the person you were six months ago, you can think of no significant personal change.
Maybe you’re smarter after the class you completed, or maybe you’ve been promoted – that’s all great, but on a personal level that’s only got to do with you and nobody else, nothing’s changed. You wanted to learn to play the guitar six months ago, and even today you’re still to find a teacher. Once again, whether you realize it or not, it’s more likely than not because getting it done requires change that you’re unwilling to undertake.