By nature, human beings are creatures of habit. It is easy to become comfortable and content in our surroundings and our schedules. However, when you take that big step out of your comfort zone you receive personal growth, you achieve accomplishments you never thought possible and you increase self-confidence.

Helping ourselves and our children step out of our comfort zones can be a challenge. It isn't enough to sit back and go through the same daily tasks and routine. We need to grow. We need to push ourselves forward. Here are a few suggestions for expanding yourself and your family members and taking that big step out of your comfort zone.

1. Face your fears

Our fears hold us back. They threaten our progress and development. Muster up some courage and take those first few steps forward. Call up someone who you hurt and ask for their forgiveness. Apply for a job that you don't think you will get or talk to a friend about religion or other personal matters.

Teach your children the importance of courage. When we are brave, amazing things happen. We can meet new people, discover a new passion and develop a new skill. Each day, work on something new with your children to help them face their fears. Start out helping your child gather a small amount of courage and work until he or she can achieve a large success like talking in front of a class or standing up to a bully.

2. Break up monotonous daily routines

Monotonous routines can prevent you from pushing yourself forward. Whether you give up an hour of housework to take your kids to the park or allow your kids to have cookies with dinner, add something into your schedule that is not part of the everyday routine. By mixing things up, you will find you venture out of your home more often, you will be more willing to build relationships with others and you will have something exciting to look forward to each day.

3. Take small steps

Don't jump out of your comfort zone all at once. If you do, what you may find may scare you. Take small steps when it comes to the unknown. Start by doing small things that won't make much of a difference if you are rejected. Then, as you slowly gain confidence, continue forward.

Starting small is important when helping your children step out of their comfort zone. Children can be overwhelmed easily, especially if they don't feel comfortable in the setting. If your child is shy, ask her to talk to one new person a day. If your child wants to try out for a leadership position in his class but is scared, sit down with him and start planning a campaign. By talking and planning, you can get him excited and motivated about the upcoming challenge. Small steps can help you and your child accomplish large goals.

4. Start with something inspirational

When you begin those first few attempts to step out of your comfort zone, or if you're helping your child expand, do it for something inspirational. Go for something that will bring happiness and excitement just for trying. I learned this lesson when I first began running. I used to hate running and would dread those days in gym class. But after graduating college and having my first desk job, I knew I needed something to get my body moving. I decided I wanted to try running, but I was hesitant. I hated the way I ran and I felt self-conscience, especially in the gym next to six-pack athletes. But I took that step I started slow and eventually worked up. I began to understand what people referred to as a runner's high, and I couldn't wait until I could go running again. Over time, I began to run several half marathons and found love in what I was doing.

When you take a step out of your comfort zone, you discover new passions, increase your confidence and have amazing experiences. Make a leap, take a chance and get yourself and your family members out of the zone.

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