“The comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.” – Regina, my 24 Hour Fitness yoga instructor

Doing something we aren’t used to doing or don’t like doing is hard. That’s doubly so after we’ve made some progress in life; our habits have gotten us this far, and besides, haven’t we earned a few comforts?

The User Manual is a guide to build better habits for the sake of your partner, your relationship, and ultimately yourself. And that usually means breaking out of your comfort zone.

One thing I’m toying with is reminders to get myself out of the comfort zone in my relationships–so I remember to do the things I know Katia needs.

Right now, I’m going with the “zone out” response strategy–when I catch her staring into the middle distance, her face sharpened in concern, I go down the list of what she needs in her User Manual. Thankfully, it works–and she snaps out of it. (More on this later.)

I’d like to be more pre-emptive about it, to internalize those actions so I can minimize the zone outs and be a better partner. I’m not the only reason she’s getting lost in concern, and of course we all need to ponder life sometimes, but following the User Manual helps her (and all of us) get unstuck and fly.

Now, how to remind myself to stick to behaviors the User Manual outlines? A few ideas:

  • Daily calendar reminders on my phone. Tick it off the list, like a meeting or a deadline.
  • I’ve become a big believer in putting up physical signs. It sounds a little corny, but in our era of digital overload walking past a handwritten sign 10 times a day can internalize big ideas. Also ,I block out almost all advertising, but billboards still slice through. The eyes have to look somewhere!
  • Last night, at Katia’s invitation, I went to a wonderful corporate summer party that had a stand where they inscribed a word or two on a bracelet. I chose the phrase “Get Up” bracelet–a reminder to get up and win the morning, and also to get back on it when life sucker punches. While I’m not traditionally a bracelet guy, wearing this bracelet could be an ongoing reminder to do the things on Katia’s User Manual every day.

I’m curious to hear any breakthrough tips/tricks that YOU use to remind yourself to get out of the comfort zone — and change habits for life. Drop me a note or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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