I’m here to attest that Comfort Zone Challenges do exactly what they’re meant to: push you beyond your edge of security so you can allow yourself to experience new and sometimes intimidating things. The outcome gives off a sense of accomplishment and pride, along with an I can do it! attitude.
One of my first comfort zone challenges on this blog was talking to strangers. As you may remember, it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but it did allow something else to happen: the exercise made the act of talking to strangers a bit easier each time the opportunity presented itself. It’s taken 11 months, but having consistently challenged myself in this area I can honestly say that I feel comfortable enough to walk up and talk to just about anyone without feeling anxious or shy. That is a huge accomplishment for me. (Between you and me though, after the booger incident happened, what’s left to be shy about?) So, the good news is that these comfort zone challenges work! The bad news is that when you’ve conquered one fear, you have to move on to challenging yourself in other areas. Well, I’m about to venture into another MAJOR Challenge, folks – and here it is:
Comfort Zone Challenge: Take a vacation without doing any pre-planning beforehand (other than having flight and accommodations figured out ahead of time.)
What’s so challenging about it: because I am a HUGE planner. A typical vacation for me usually consists of knowing beforehand where we should eat and what we should do once we get there. In other words, I plan, plan, plan. I want to make clear that I’m not one of those anal retentive planners who can’t go with the flow. I don’t laminate schedules and make sure that everyone has the day’s itinerary pinned neatly to their shirts (thank goodness I’m not ‘that’ girl!) It’s just that being prepared before my trip is like having a security blanket handy just in case I need it.
Why choose this for a challenge? I need to let go of the illusion that things will go the way I want them to just because I have a ‘plan’. My husband and I don’t get much time away together, so when we are lucky enough to get a vacation, I put way too much pressure on myself to make sure that everything goes perfectly. In reality, all it does is stress me out, and since I’m still in the process of eliminating negative and stressful situations from my life, this needs to be worked on.
So, what’s the plan? My husband and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary next week and will be traveling to the Gulf of Mexico to do some kayaking. He is a very easy-going guy who can adapt to almost any situation – which is why I adore him. We seem to even each other out. Since this is his vacation too, I brought up my idea of doing this challenge and asked his thoughts. His only requirements were that we get tickets in advance (a no-brainer) and that we have a place lined up to stay. I took care of both but again, I could have easily done hours of research about where the perfect place to stay would be. Instead, I chose a bed and breakfast (we hardly ever do bed and breakfasts) that has 4 rooms. That’s about all I know. (breathe, Ellen. Just breathe.)
We are leaving in a few days. Aside from purchasing tickets and knowing where we’re going to stay, I have refrained from doing any pre-planning or research on the Internet and it’s killing me, you guys; TripAdvisor is constantly beckoning me, calling me to their website – but I have NOT wavered. I am determined to spend this vacation throwing caution to the wind. Here’s my trip motto: we’ll figure it out when we get there (although I must admit that right now, this motto sucks the big one. As each day passes, I’m having more and more difficulty saying it and meaning it). I’m writing this out – here, and now to you – because I need to be held accountable and keep my word until we leave.
What I hope to accomplish: my biggest hope will be that if something doesn’t go right (delayed flights, bad weather, etc.) I won’t feel defeated by it because I will not have expected perfection in the first place. I want to come home saying to myself, ‘I had a great time because the only thing I concentrated on was the moment, NOT what I had planned – congratulations to me, because that’s how life is!’ Full report upon my return. Wish me luck.
Speaking of anniversaries, I hope you enjoyed celebrating my first-year anniversary month with me. Thank goodness for Random.org – if I had to pick my own winners, I don’t think I could do it. I’m sure I’d personally reduce the Post Office’s debt problem by deciding to send a prize to everyone, no matter what side of the earth they lived on! It would have been fun, though. Maybe if I ever win the lottery. But until then……
……..Random.org had the task for choosing my final winner: Lucky Number 2, which is SAM! I personally think that Sam was destined to win that Camelbak bottle, because it just so happens that she was the very first blogger brave enough to add my brand new, very raw, unknown blog to her blog roll a year ago. Sam, I swear I did not fudge the numbers, but have to admit that I did have a big grin on my face when your number popped up! Email me with your mailing address and I’ll ship off your water bottle ASAP! Congratulations all of my other winners as well: Debby, Katie, and Marsial.
See you all on Friday, where I’ll have a lot to get you caught up on before I leave for vacation: poison ivy, awards, and a Woo-Hoo!