8 signs you’re stuck in a comfort zone (and it’s holding you back)

Are you sitting comfortably?

No, not literally, but in a more general sense.

Do you feel like you’ve reached a point in your life where stress is at an all-time low? Maybe you feel totally safe and secure, or simply at ease with your current situation.

Well, you could be in a comfort zone.

Don’t worry – it’s perfectly natural. In fact, we humans are hard-wired to take the path of least resistance. Avoiding uncomfortable environments or potentially dangerous unknowns is all part of our survival mechanism.

But here’s the thing.

Diamonds are made under pressure.

And while avoiding new work opportunities or shying away from exotic holiday destinations might limit your anxiety, it also stops you from progressing in life.

Have you ever heard of stagnation?

Well, depending on the type of person you are, the feeling of not moving forward can create its own set of problems.

So, it’s important to identify that you’re in a comfort zone as soon as possible, to fix any stagnant or sluggish feelings that you may have.

Here are eight signs that you’re trapped in your safe place (and it’s stopping you from reaching your full potential).

1) You have a rigid daily routine

Eat sleep work repeat. 

Sound familiar?

If your daily routine is so rigid, that sometimes you don’t even know what day of the week it is, it could mean that you’re in a comfort zone.

And here’s the reason.

Every day you wake up at the same time, speak to the same people, and even have the same sandwich filling for lunch. All because you’re afraid of doing something different.

After all, you’re comfortable (but, you’re also stagnating).

And this leads to…

2) Time’s flying by at a frightening rate

I’m sorry to say this.

But if your routine is predictable and mundane, time passes quickly.

Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months. And before you know it, John is acting obnoxiously drunk again at the annual Christmas party.

It seems like only yesterday that he was apologizing for his behavior at last year’s event.

This is a scary one.

Because at the end of the day, we all have precious limited time in this world. And when the clock starts ticking faster, it can be incredibly unnerving.

Research suggests that our brain actually lumps time together when the days, weeks, or months are spent doing similar things.

So there’s a simple solution to all of this.

Try new and exciting activities to differentiate the time in your mind (and hopefully slow it down).

3) Learning new skills doesn’t excite you

Many years ago, I remember being especially enthusiastic about learning anything new. From new sports and challenging video games to languages or even math at school (I was a bit of a nerd).

And don’t get me wrong.

We do slow down as we get older and things become harder to pick up.

But that’s no excuse!

If you’re particularly reluctant to learn something new (at whatever age), it could be because you’re stuck in a comfort zone.

Take some inspiration from this 80-year-old lady who went skydiving (for the first time).

“You can do whatever your heart wants to do. But do it before it’s too late,” Betty says. “Don’t think twice. Just do it.”

4) You struggle to take life-changing action

This might sound obvious.

But if you’re in a comfort zone, it’s perfectly normal that you hesitate or put off big decisions. Nothing is really urgent for you. You’re content with the status quo, so why change it?

Hint: to not stagnate!

In many ways, people in desperate situations find it easier to turn their life around.

They certainly have stronger motivation (to escape their dire situation).

5) Networking and socializing aren’t your thing

Does this sound familiar?

It’s Saturday night, you’ve been invited clubbing, but you’d rather chill in front of a movie with your SO. You make your excuses via WhatsApp (because you don’t even have the energy for small talk) and crack open the snacks.

Social isolation is a clear sign of being comfort-zoned.

Here’s why.

You’re in a happy relationship, financially secure, and generally content with life. You simply have no reason to go out and meet new people right now. Not to mention the time, expense, and hangover tomorrow.

But just remember, new people bring new opportunities and excitement into your life!

Plus, it’s always good to expand your circle of friends. You never know when you might need them.

And because you’ve destroyed your social life…

6) You haven’t updated your wardrobe in years

Still have that old suit from college? Or maybe you still (just about) fit into that dress you bought 15 years ago.

Not updating your fashion and personal style is a sign that you’re feeling overly comfortable and not wanting to impress.

Perhaps you’re just more confident than you used to be and don’t feel the need for an array of designer clothes.

There’s nothing wrong with this.

But, it could be causing you to stand still while others around you move forward.

7) You can accurately predict the next 5 years of your life

I remember back to my school years.

I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen in the future. From which job I would take or what my career path would be, to who I’d meet in life or where I’d live.

This is expected.

Our late teens and early twenties are probably as far away from a comfort zone as you can get! So many unknowns and unlimited adventures awaiting you.

Fast-forward to now, and things somewhere along the line got predictable.

But it doesn’t have to be. 

I’m not saying you should re-live your youth (this isn’t a mid-life crisis!) But you can add a bit more unpredictability into your routine.

8) Your life is great but you feel like something is missing

And finally, just to wrap up.

Being in a comfort zone isn’t necessarily bad. It really depends on who you are as a person and what you want out of life.

To be honest, there are many people who envy your current (comfortable) situation.

First and foremost, try to be thankful for what you have. In many ways, a comfort zone is a privilege!

But at the same time, I get it.

Even if you have it all, you can still be missing something.

This feeling is probably stagnation. But hopefully, by following some of the points from this article you can freshen up your life a little!

Picture of Leila El-Dean

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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