Have you ever woken up and felt ho-hum, unenthused to start your day? Maybe you’re counting down the days until the weekend or even retirement? Do you sometimes feel bored with what you’re doing and that maybe there’s more to life? Perhaps you feel stuck and stagnant?
You might be stuck in complacency. Complacency is a feeling of security that is often accompanied by an unrecognized danger lurking around the corner. Feeling complacent creates a sense of satisfaction with where we are and prevents us from stretching ourselves to try harder.
As unappealing as it sounds, complacency can be an easy trap to fall into. Whether it’s getting stuck in a career path that’s a bad fit or taking the same vacation year after year, I imagine it’s something we can all relate to.
I’ve been there myself, stuck in a job where I was overworked, underpaid, and treated poorly. Yet I stuck with it. I discovered that the longer we stay, the harder it is to escape. Eventually, it feels like you’re a rat stuck in a trap, with no way out.
It’s not always a bad or unhealthy thing we keep repeating. Sometimes we repeat wonderful experiences year after year. For example, my husband, Jer, and I absolutely love the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. Bordering the greatest Great Lake, this region is filled with millions of acres of federal and state parks and forests. I’ve been to a lot of places in the world and this area is definitely in my top two.
As amazing as this place is, it’s not the end all be all of this magnificent planet. I want to get out and explore it all. I want to immerse myself if different cultures, landscapes, and experiences. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to go back and camp at that amazing spot one more time.
The problem with complacency is that it stifles our potential. It can cause us to feel unfulfilled and to lose our sparkle. Complacency can take over and ruin our careers, relationships, and even our health.
This all changes the moment you decide to become intentional about creating a life of freedom. A life where you take control of your health, relationships, finances, and personal development. Creating a life of freedom requires that we are consistently stepping out of our comfort zones. This means not allowing ourselves to become complacent.
So how do we avoid falling into the complacency trap?
One simple way is to train yourself to try something new each day.
- Do you have a default restaurant you go to for lunch or date night? Try something new.
- Is there a special vacation spot you try to visit each year? Research somewhere different.
- How about the route you take the work? Explore some new routes or maybe try riding your bike.
- Do you tend to repeat the same meals each week? Buy a new cookbook and commit to making each recipe once.
- Have you had the exact same job for more than three years? Look for a new and interesting opportunity or consider starting a side hustle.
Remember that complacency isn’t exclusive to the big things in our lives. We can start training ourselves with the little things. I do this with my daily habits when they become stale. I recognize the need for change when I begin to fall behind on my goals and stop learning and growing.
Jer and I have also made an effort to implement this rule to our summer adventure plans. Over the last several years, we’ve found the most amazing campsites and hiking trails in the state. But the desire to see and experience more of the world nudged me to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.
These new adventures remind me how amazing it is to experience something for the first time. We’ve learned a lot and have tested our abilities. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the journey thus far.
Change can be hard. Stepping out of our comfort zone is scary. Please don’t wait until you’re forced to change by your comfortable situation coming to an end. Start taking baby steps and try something new each day.
And never forget to enjoy the journey.