September 25, 2017

Are you taking risks with your fitness or playing it safe? By Amy Christensen

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Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: How to Create a Risk-Friendly Environment for Personal Growth! Written by Amy Christensen

Have you ever wondered why sometimes it’s easy to step outside your comfort zone while other times it can feel like the biggest risk you’ve ever faced? Taking risks is how we discover our boundaries, redefine our limits of possibility and accomplish things we never imagined we could. In order to take the kind of risks that encourage us to grow (and take more), it helps to create a supportive environment conducive to pushing ourselves.

Your Risk Threshold. We all have a threshold for risk. Some people thrive on seeking out high-risk activities, while others shy away from even the most mundane change to their routine. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. Baselines shift over time (sometimes moment-to-moment). What was exciting last week might suddenly feel overwhelming today. That’s totally normal. There are a lot of varying factors that affect our threshold. Get familiar with your baseline to help you decide where (and when) to start pushing.

Creating a Risk-Friendly Environment. Whether or not we’re willing to take a risk is dictated by a combination of factors. Some days it has little to do with the risk itself and a lot to do with where our threshold is on that particular day.

Here are five areas that can have an impact on whether or not a risk will push you in the direction of personal growth:

The Company You Keep. Who is with you on this journey? (And do you trust them?) Feeling safe within a group can boost your level of confidence and provide a great space to test your limits.

Your Skill Level. Know your current skill level and where you want to go. Smaller, more consistent steps forward is more efficient than giant leaps that leave you exhausted. (Note for women: we tend to underestimate our abilities, so take that into consideration when assessing.)

The Atmosphere. For example, are you prepared for the weather? Whether it’s an outdoor adventure or career move, getting a handle on (and feeling comfortable with) the external environment can help you prepare for any surprises.

The Level of Sustained Risk. In other words, how long will the “risk” last? Will it be short and exhilarating? Or will it be more sustained? A steep 50’ mountain biking descent might be an exhilarating challenge, but multiply that by ten, and the fun-factor goes down as the risk is prolonged.

Your Energy. If we’re expending a lot of energy elsewhere (work issues or illness), it can be difficult to muster up the necessary courage to test a new personal boundary.

Step outside your comfort zone and test your limits. You can go farther than you ever dreamed possible.
 

This article is written by Amy Christensen. Amy is a certified professional life coach with a passion for helping women step out of their comfort zone and break through self-limiting barriers. Based in Boulder, CO, her company, Expand Outdoors, focuses on creating healthy, sustainable, and fun lifestyle changes. Contact her at amyc@expandoutdoors.com or via www.expandoutdoors.com. You can also connect on twitter, @expandoutdoors and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/expandoutdoors

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