We’ve all been there before: stuck in a rut and wondering “is this all there is?” More often than not, the human quest for fulfillment and happiness is so strong that it inevitably compels one to rethink his state in life: “am I happy?”

Whether you’re one of those people who live by the office clock, or a housewife looking after your children and family day in and out – it’s easy to succumb to a life filled with routine and predictability – the proverbial “comfort zone”.

Despite acknowledging that they’re unhappy, some people just won’t budge from it. What paralyzes most people to stay stuck in a miserable and unhappy life? As crazy as it sounds, there are just some people who choose to be so, especially with their day-to-day job title. Below are some compelling reasons why this is not as far-fetched as it seems, and how one can break free from its bonds:

Creating change is too much of an effort. Some individuals know in their gut that they need a new direction in their life, be it a new career path, business endeavor, or any opportunity to expand one’s horizons. However, there are a multitude of excuses that hinder them from pursuing these changes such as “it’s too hard to learn it”, “that’s too much to invest in that new business plan”, or “it’ll take too much time to do it”. Remember that “If there’s a will, there’s a way”. No excuse is good enough to keep you from achieving the happiness that you deserve in your life.

Fear of change. We know that change brings with it the unknown and the unfamiliar. Many people easily become daunted and panic at the slightest hint of it. What most folks don’t realize is that changes allows us to learn new things, meet new people, have new experiences and have a life that is lived to its fullest. One way to move past one’s fear is to simply acknowledge it – realizing one’s own limits is not a bad thing. Also, it would be helpful to enlist the support of a close friend or family member to talk you through moments when fear grips you from taking the next step.

We limit our own selves. The truth of the matter is that often times, we are our own worst critics. Ever catch yourself saying “I’m just a girl”, “I’m not qualified”, or “I’m not good enough”? These are self-imposed restrictions that unfortunately mold our thinking and shape our lives. Consider a shift in mindset from “I can’t” to “I can” and learn how to focus on your positive attributes. Play up on your strengths. If you find yourself feeling the inkling of self-doubt, it’s high time you prove yourself wrong and push hard to achieve your dreams – you just might end up surprising yourself!

Mistakes and painful memories keep us from moving forward. We’ve all made mistakes, bad judgment calls, or costly errors. And who hasn’t? These incidences create a “trauma” that one can’t help but recall them when the impetus for change occurs. When this fear besets you, it would help not to focus on your failures but the successes you have achieved in your life. Furthermore, try to consider these mistakes as opportunities to grow and learn from. Work what you have learned from your previous errors into your new endeavors. Success may just be around the corner if you try again.

Wanting to do everything and feeling overwhelmed. When the inspiration sets in that it’s time to move to greener pastures in your life or your career, it’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed. There are just too many things to study, details to pay attention to, not to mention the hard work required to achieve your dreams. Many people give up after years, or even just months, of taking the next step. The key to overcoming this is to explore new things gradually, and to take baby steps toward your new calling. It would also help to reign in your expectations – sometimes it’s easy to demand too much from ourselves. Give yourself time to learn and grow and do not hesitate to ask for help or advice when you need it.

Bear in mind, however, that one’s comfort zone is not necessarily a bad thing – if you are happy where you are, then, by all means, enjoy it! Yet, if in your mind and your heart, you just know that you deserve better, then don’t hold yourself back from experiencing a whole new world of excitement, passion, and knowledge! You owe it to yourself to live a better life and to have a happier existence. Break free and live your life to its fullest!

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Paul Bailey

Paul is a highly experienced Business Coach, Mentor and Personal Development Specialist. He works with people to enhance business and personal performance through a process of supported self-awareness and self- development. Paul is the Co-Author of the book 80 Tips.