6 lazy habits that keep you stuck in your comfort zone

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You want more out of life. You know deep down that you are destined for greater things but something seems to be holding you back.

The truth is that it’s hard to step out of our comfort zone and into growth. But there’s more to the seemingly lazy habits that tend to get in our way.

We’re hard-wired to want to avoid the discomfort and uncertainty that inevitably comes with pushing ourselves.

So if you want to evolve, you’ll need to learn to ditch the things that can keep you stuck.

1) Relying too much on routine

The truth is that routine can be our savior and our downfall.

Having systems in place makes life run more smoothly. It can save us time, help us stay organized, and make us more efficient.

So it’s safe to say that routine in itself isn’t the enemy. It’s how we use it.

Because routine when it is followed too rigidly ends us becoming a prison.

When we do something simply because that’s the way we’ve always done it, it cuts us off from potentially new and better options.

We end up doing the same things, day in and day out  —and it can feel good.

It gives us a sense of comfort in having that familiarity in our lives.

But the downside is that it prevents novelty and can even stifle creativity. Both of which are useful when we want to expand and try something new. 

If you become too attached to the routines in your life, you may become resistant to change.

2) Inflexibility

Adaptability is an essential life tool that we need to master if we want to step out of our comfort zone.

Because as we’ve already said, everything outside of our familiarity can feel scary.

It’s a normal and natural human response to feel apprehensive toward change. Apparently, part of our brain called the amygdala interprets it as a threat.

As a consequence, it releases the hormones for our fear, fight, or flight response. 

There’s also neuroscience evidence to suggest that uncertainty registers in our brain much like an error does.

But remaining rigid does nothing for our growth.

Whilst we can’t totally quash our fears that cause us to take an inflexible approach, we can take steps to make ourselves more adaptable.

  • Improve your problem-solving skills so you feel better equipped to deal with change
  • Use mindfulness tools like breathwork and meditation to keep a calm headspace
  • Cultivate greater self-awareness
  • Strive to stay open-minded and avoid jumping to conclusions

3) Stubbornness

Closed-mindedness is the enemy of progression. It prevents us from opening up to new ideas, opinions, and ways of doing things.

But why is it lazy to be stubborn? Doesn’t it actually take more willpower to stick to your guns?

It’s a lazy approach because rather than allow yourself to be challenged, you shut down.

Stubborn people are usually scared of change, even if they don’t realize it. On some level, they see other people’s attempts to change their minds as personal attacks.

This stubborn attitude can also present itself as a fixed mindset in general.

If you believe that your talents, abilities, and intelligence cannot be improved through effort, there is no reason to ever leave your comfort zone.

In your mind, you’ve already reached your full growth potential.

4) Taking the easy way out

Life presents us with plenty of opportunities to flake rather than rise to the occasion.

Ghosting is a great modern-day example of how many people have made a habit out of choosing the easy option over the right thing to do.

In the era of online dating, this phenomenon of simply ignoring someone to get rid of them became commonplace.

Instead of having honest and accountable conversations, we opt for the silent treatment to sidestep responsibility.

Research has shown that whilst it’s easier for the person doing it, it can create some serious psychological blows to the one who is being ghosted.

But when we really scratch below the surface, the truth is that it’s not good for either party involved.

Because we can be lazy rather than challenge ourselves to face our discomfort and strengthen our communication skills.

We sidestep an opportunity for growth.

Taking the easy way out feels like a small win at the time, but it’s actually holding you back in the long run.

5) Procrastination

Most people assume their procrastination is down to laziness. They think if only they had greater willpower, they would get so much more done.

But it’s not true.

Procrastination is simply an act of self-preservation much like all our other “lazy” habits that keep us stuck. Albeit a destructive one.

So why do we procrastinate when we know it’s getting in our way?

Research suggests we’re deciding to prioritize feeling good right now in front of any potential gains from getting a challenging task done.

The issue is actually an emotional one, not a problem of time management.

According to Dr. Fuschia Sirois, professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield:

“People engage in this irrational cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods around a task.”

When something leads us to feel bored, insecure, frustrated, anxious, or filled with self-doubt, etc. we understandably want that to stop.

Experts say one of the ways to overcome this is to give ourselves a bigger reward than avoidance provides us with.

We can also try to:

  • Be more curious about the real reason why we are procrastinating
  • Only focus on the next step we need to take in order to avoid overwhelm
  • Try to make the things that cause you to procrastinate less convenient (aka, removing temptations)

6) Refusing to take responsibility for yourself

Let’s face it, it’s much easier to blame everything that goes wrong in your life on someone or something else.

Your jerk of a boss is the reason why you haven’t climbed the career ladder. Your dead-end town is the reason for a lack of opportunities.

When we make excuses we let ourselves off the hook.

Because when we pin our perceived failings on our circumstances, not only isn’t it our fault, but we don’t have to be the ones to fix it either.

It’s much harder to look in the mirror and accept that the power lies in your own hands.

It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge that you are the one who shapes your:

  • Thoughts
  • Beliefs
  • Actions
  • Reality

Which is why it’s point-blank lazy of us to look for a scapegoat.

To conclude: Be compassionate about pushing your comfort zone

Yes, we need to step out of our comfort zone if we want to succeed, expand and evolve.

But rather than chastising ourselves for our “lazy habits”, we would do better to approach ourselves with kindness and compassion.

The more we understand what causes us to keep to the safety of our comfort zone the more we can gently coax ourselves out of it.

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

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