Why the comfort zone, consistency & routine should be embraced

2014/07/18 By Ryan Gibson

Why the comfort zone, consistency & routine should be embraced
If I utter to you ‘comfort zone, consistency & routine’ it’s more than likely it they would all be greeted with negative responses. The notion of being in a comfortable state of mind is commonly seen as something you should strive to break.

But why is being in your comfort zone frowned upon? Why is routine seen as lacking ambition? How come being consistent at something is seen as underperforming?

All three seem to be common in both your work life and your home life. I have often asked myself whether I should break my comfort zone and have actually used the ‘What is my comfort zone’ calculator created by Marcus Taylor.

But should we continue to view these as a negative? Are those dreams and aspirations we are striving towards in reality with what we are living just boxed up a little different? Let me dissect this for you.

Comfort Zone at work:

The internet is ripe with self advice websites of how to quit your job and lead the career you want to lead. The entrepreneurial, self employed route is becoming more common everyday with millennials. It’s an attractive proposition and one which falls outside a typical human beings comfort zone.

There are a number of people making a real go of self employment and flourishing and I commend that but at the same time there are talented people making real advancements within companies across the globe. Should this be frowned upon? Of course not.

Working for somebody has it’s drawbacks but it also has great positives some of which I have listed below:

: Financial security
: Training infrastructure
: Set Working Hours (Typically)
: Paid Holidays

What an entrepreneurial route may afford you over working for an organisation within your comfort zone is the following:

: Flexibility
: Diverse role
: Freedom to express

Although there are certain aspects to self employment which most organisations will struggle to match there are many which provide these freedoms while still maintaining the benefits of job security. I’m not suggesting we all turn our backs on self employment or entrepreneurial conquests; far from it. What I am suggesting is that being comfortable with your working surroundings is no negative thing if you are part of the right organisation. There’s no harm in going to work everyday for the man and enjoying it. Why is it constantly encouraged to ‘break free’ or move away from this specific comfort.

As long as you are continuing to develop, add value and enjoy your work I see no harm in the work comfort zone.

Routine a disgusting word?

I eat chicken and vegetables for lunch everyday when in the office? Why? Because it’s good for me and it’s easy to make in an office lacking kitchen equipment. Should I live on the edge and break my routine just because it makes me look boring?

If you say to someone ‘I have a great routine’ there’s an alarm which immediately goes off in that person’s head that you’re incredibly boring. It cannot be changed or cannot be helped. Routine is a deemed a disgusting word and is seen as boring.

Routine and consistency spell success. Whether this is in the business world or the professional sports world you will see a consistent routine of success. Blogging for example takes a level of consistency and routine to achieve any level of success. Professional athletes commonly have the same training routine day in day out in order to reach their goals.

Routine should be embraced not seen as a negative. Grab yourself some chicken, take those vegetables to work and enjoy your day.

The realities of other people:

Travel bloggers & make money online bloggers are typically seen as the ‘holy grail’ of life. As are those founders of successful organisations. The perception is that they are living outside their comfort zone with no routine and consistency yet this couldn’t be further from the truth and even if they are it sometimes comes with negatives.

The reality is the self employment or entrepreneurial road rarely shows you the negative side. It’s packaged up and marketed well so others potentially follow a similar path.

Rand Fishkin one of the founding Owners of Online Marketing product company Moz lacks this consistency and routine due to the demands of his role which can lead to sleep deprivation. This post on struggling to sleep highlights this.

Travel blogger Lauren from Never Ending Footsteps talks about the constant worry of finances while travel blogging and how her income could change every night. She lives outside her comfort zone and lacks any consistency with her income and is arguably one of the most successful travel bloggers.

The reality is that this is the situation for more people living outside the comfort zone and routine however in order to market this dream most of the negatives are left swept under the rug. There are many who have embraced this lifestyle and are really flourishing but there’s an argument to suggest that given the full picture would many swap the comfort zone for this type of lifestyle?

How to work on these in your current position:

I’m a huge advocate of routine, consistency and staying close to your comfort zone. Against common wisdom I actually believe these three things contribute to success. I urge you to work on these within your current life position and see where it takes you.

Routine should adapt as life does:

Continue to evolve your routine and challenge yourself. Having a routine which enhances your life is not a bad thing it’s actually a great thing. I’ve recently started going to bed 30 minutes earlier and reading. This relaxes my mind completely and I find myself dropping my eReader on my face (not advised) because i’m so tired. This has promoted excellent sleep since.

This is a routine I will commonly follow on a 80/20 rule now. By embracing this routine my performance at work and other activities I enjoy has improved; as has my day to say well being.

Make new additions to your routine and remove ones which don’t promote positivity.

Consistency is the key to performance:

People who are steady are seen in a negative light yet consistency is one of the best traits you can develop. Having consistency in life is key to a well rounded performance.

I’m consistent with that I wake up at 5:45am every week day. On three of those days I train and the other two days I tend to write or work on my websites before having to set off to my day job. This level of consistency allows me to meet my goals without compromising on other areas of life. By having this routine and sticking to it consistency I get to achieve a well rounded performance which is essential in sticking to my long term aspirations.

Always strive for a new comfort zone addition:

I love that I am in my comfort zone. My workout routine stays the same week in week out and I am well in my comfort zone. In the fitness world this is probably frowned upon yet i’m injury free, healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. From a pure health perspective this was the end goal.

The comfort zone should be seen as a check list of things you have tweaked, excelled in and then maintained. Why would you step outside a level of comfort if it works? The challenge should be the additions of new things to your lifestyle as opposed to trying to build upon everything you have. As I mentioned above; consistency is the key.

Summary:

Painting a specific perception of life is quite a big thing in the online world and we do a great job of telling people that their life sucks and it could be much better if they were doing other things.
The general premise of this post is to highlight that comfort zone, routine and consistency aren’t bad things. Most people have all of the above yet they are packaged up a little different.

The travel blogger you aspire to be will have a routine as will the professional athlete or the entrepreneur. Ask yourself some of these questions. Is what you have bad? Is what others have actually better? I would hazard a guess you are leading a life as fulfilling as the next person it’s just packaged up a little differently.

By having a level of consistency in what you do, embracing your comfort zone and implementing a routine you will surprise yourself.

There’s a famous saying that the ‘Grass isn’t always greener’. That’s something worth thinking about.