On challenges and unseating comfort zones

January holds a special place in me this year, as I look back at this point last year, and looking ahead at the month (in particular) and year ahead. Challenges. Comfort zones. New beginnings.

Today is one year since I began my job and on this day last year, I was 3,000 miles away on my first day of work, completely overwhelmed by a new job, new surroundings and challenges, challenges, and more challenges. And as I look back, yeah, I am proud, yeah, I have come a long way, but ya know what else? A year in, it’s also really easy to slip into a comfort zone. Of routine. Of staying in the ‘zone and not continuing to challenge myself.

And I’m talking not just in my job or my travels, but in my workouts and my own personal challenges on bettering myself…on refinement.

So, here’s my list of things I’m aiming for…to unseat comfort zones that have already formed and combat new ones from forming…


Given I work from home almost entirely, it’s so easy to be in my routine of emails, calls, work. all. day. long. And while that’s clearly a huge part of my job and not something I can change, per se, I can change my habit of just chugging along, workworkwork, in the same manner I always have. I want to get to know my co-workers more. I honestly only have one friend at work, and while it’s refreshing to have someone to chat with on non-work stuff that isn’t just my boss (since I consider her a quasi-friend too, same age, etc!), it feels a little isolating to just chat with my coworkers on work stuff on calls and over email. So my goal here is to make an effort to call my coworkers more often and not just ‘talk shop’ but chit-chat more. Same goes for when I am actually *in* the office. It’s so easy to slide into routine and just hammer out my work in my cube, but given I am only in the office every few months, I really should use the time wisely! So while this goal is a little scary for me, because I am naturally shy when it comes to starting conversations or making an effort to make friends, I want to break out of this a little more than I have. These are my co-workers, not scary ax murderers, for God’s sakes 😉

This leads to my second goal…embrace work travel more than I have in the recent past. As my sister embarks on her new job next week (yay!!! our jobs parallel each other yet again!!), she is facing some similar work travel in her schedule and is excited as she knows it’ll help her grow. Well, I was in her shoes a year ago and approached it similarly, so why should I allow work travel to make me dread it, fear it and try to avoid it as much as possible? Since we know the latter isn’t possible anyway, I really need to go into my next two work trips (which are next week and the last week of January) embracing work travel as it will help me grow. I need to revisit my work travel bucket list and maybe even add to it. I figure I’ll think of plenty of new things to add to that list next week when I venture out to Costa Mesa on January 9th, right?


January will be a challenge for fitting in my workouts…based on aforementioned work trips, putting me out of commission for my weekly barre n9ne classes (5-6 per week) and run challenge (possibly, but I have a work-a-round in mind!). This is one area where embracing work travel is tough for me, because we all know working out in your own environment, with your own tools at your disposal is just plain easier. But my first goal here is to come armed with as many of the tools as I can. TurboBarre from Cathe Friedrich loaded on my iPhone, a couple of running routes mapped out if I can get up the nerve to run in the dark during the morning (though honestly, for safety’s sake, I might save these for the trips where the sun is up earlier or I can run at dusk), and some resistance bands for some ‘homegrown’ barre n9ne workouts I plan to concoct to do in my hotel room. I also might just suck up the $25/day visitor fee at 24 Hour Fitness and get my runs in there. The price will be worth it (and work compensates part of it anyway, so why not, right?).

I also plan on these simple tweaks to my current workout/training plan, generally, to keep the body guessing and not slide into too much of a routine…

do abs every day. (I know I’ve said this before, but I am gonna make it stick!)

stretch every day. (ditto to the above *hanging head in shame*)

do a little extra for the triceps. (add some extra tricep dips and overhead extensions on my ‘off’ barre n9ne days…I want killer arms and to get killer arms, one must have good triceps! my weakest area).

a few tweaks to my run challenge. I will post on this tomorrow in my weekly update!


Two simple things. Unplug more. Read more (books). thatisall.

So, there’s my long-winded way of saying I am taking January (and 2012!) by storm. Nixing comfort zones before they start. And working on unseating the ones that I’ve unintentionally created. I know it’ll be worth it, even if I’ll feel tested and maybe even scared and intimidated, too.

What about you? Any comfort zones in your life that you’d like to unseat? 


29 thoughts on “On challenges and unseating comfort zones

  1. I just wrote about a relationship (un)comfort zone. I’m working to break down some walls, baby!

    Happy to see you facing your challenges head on! Then again, that’s how you’ve been as long as I’ve known you. Good on you, jobo!


  2. This makes me so excited to tackle the challenges I’ll face with this new job and work travel and getting uncomfortable again. Sure, I’m really nervous and unsure of how things will play out but on the other hand? I feel excited to face the challenge and to conquer them. I NEED this in my career, and I’ve been lacking it for awhile now so this will be good. And it’ll be good for me personally, it’ll grow my confidence, it’ll test my relationship with Scott (in a good way), and will only mean good things in the future, I’m sure of it. And I have you to thank for not only helping me to get this job but showing me that getting uncomfortable can be a VERY good thing. I have you to look way, way up to in that regard!

    You’re gonna do awesome with these goals, sis!

    1. We can now inspire and help each other through these challenges! And I love that. And I love that you are willingly testing yourself and your relationship and everything, it is so great and inspiring sis!!

  3. This is beautiful! You’re going to have a great year.

    You’re shy? Seriously, I never would have guessed that!

    Need a stretching/ab accountability partner? I could use one – we can do it together!

    1. Thank you for saying I am not shy!! I am not with people I know (and I felt like I KNEW you when I met you!) but put me in a room where I know nobody? eek, I freeze!. We can keep each other accountable, I love it!!

  4. Great minds think alike! I’m with you on so many of these goals/challenges!!!!

    I always try to give myself a little leeway while on the road…I try to focus on my diet because as you said, it’s so hard to get the same caliber of workouts in while traveling. For me, it’s mostly because I don’t sleep well. I need to think of the new surroundings as a way to experience the local fitness community…I’m committing myself to FINALLY trying the Bar Method when I’m in Texas next week.

    Let’s try to keep each other accountable when we say we are going to try something while traveling 🙂

    Oh, and you know that I’m with you on the shy thing…I have a world wide conference to go to in March and I’m already pumping myself up for it 🙂 I love your goal of picking up the phone with coworkers just to chat – I need to do that myself!

    1. Yay, we can also keep each other accountable when traveling, I love it! and SO true, I need to cut myself a little slack when traveling. Workout whenever I can, but if there is really little way to do it, it’s okay to skip a day here and there, the world won’t end 😉 My sales conference is end of January, I’ll need lots of pump-up vibes!! We can trade in March for yours 🙂

  5. Good job, Jo! I just started kickboxing and tracking calories again today, for the first time since my Dad died. Definitely time to kick it into high gear!! I’ve also joined a 90 day challenge through My Fitness Pal, and I’m looking forward to seeing it through. My goal I 38lbs. Here’s hoping that it was only water I gained over the holidays, hahaha.

    1. Thanks friend!! I LOVE your goals too, totally attainable and the 90 days is a great length of time for a challenge…you will rock this. I have every faith in the world!

  6. I love the way you break it down! And seriously, can I just say how much I admire your dedication!?!

    I can’t believe 24 hour fitness charges $25 a day!!

    btw, I am gfoing to be joining your running challenge now… It’s time : )

  7. Oh it can be so easy to get into that kind of rut/routine when it comes to work. I need to remember to get up out of my chair more often. And treat abs like you would other muscle groups. 3 times a week is plenty. You wouldn’t do biceps every day 😉 Plus, that’s much more doable LOL.

    I really need to get out of my comfort zone and take some major risks this year. For me it boils down to being financially able just as much as being afraid of the unknown.

    1. Get out of my chair more often – yes, me too! and I freaking work from home!! I have no excuse 😉 As for abs, you make a good point, absolutely, I think for me, sometimes I just need a bit more on some days to strengthen them lately…so that’s why the focus, I just prefer to do them daily if I can, because when I do I notice a difference and when I don’t…I notice a difference! We can get out of our comfort zones together!

    1. Thank you Tina!! Making friends and making friends in work, is just hard generally, ya know?? Seems easy, but it’s not like in grade school anymore 😉

  8. Herrick is working from home right now, and he, too, has a hard time not working. Because he’s at home, he can just waltz into his office and respond to an email at anytime. And with being the systems admin, he randomly gets calls at 3AM…you can see where this is going. I’m sure it’s hard for you two to unplug, considering it’s so easy to “just really quick” hit an email. Then your minds race over solutions or ideas…so on.

    I love your goals…

    1. It is hard to unplug when you work from home, but I am also lucky that my job and coworkers all unplug at night, I rarely see an email after 5 PT (their quittin time!), which is nice.

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