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Book Review

Creating Change When You're Stuck in Your Comfort Zone

By Judith Sills, Ph.D.

Don't get too comfortable, warns psychologist Judith Sills, who invites readers to jump over "the electric fence of anxiety" to find deeper satisfaction in their lives. Sills, the best-selling author of Excess Baggage, compares our rigid routines, bad habits, stale relationships, deja-vu jobs and family feuds to the futility of riding a dead horse.

She offers seven clear ways of jumping off and changing direction. A first step is to understand "the dragons that guard our comfort zones and prevent change" including avoidance, blame, denial, fantasy and righteous indignation. Confrontational questions are essential: What would I do if I were not afraid? What do I desire? Have I done this before?

Safety, says Sills, "limits the amount of satisfaction any experience can deliver." Yet inevitably, we cling to what feels safe and comfortable. There's nothing wrong with making do and staying put, Sills hastens to add. But if your job or relationship aren't going anywhere, you'd better face facts. Avoid reality and your subconscious may take over: you'll make mistakes that catapult you off the horse, ready or not.

Facing facts calls for creating a vision and studying your past to see if you have a habit of riding dead horses (or, she might have added, killing anything that starts out half-alive).

Overall, this book offers a new way to think about being stuck. It's timely and upbeat, but refreshingly honest. You have to admire a book that, in the 21st century, dares to replace "dream and do it" with "discipline."