This month the focus is on personal development—to push ourselves a little farther, to learn, to explore, to do something different, and try new things.
Here is this week’s affirmation: I am open to different experiences by learning something new and expanding my possibilities!
Routines and Habits
We all have daily routines. You might get up at six, take a walk, eat breakfast, and then drive to work. Or these days, just plop yourself down on the couch or a chair in your home office and start your day. A few hours later, you have lunch, work some more, drive home or walk to the kitchen and make dinner. Your menu doesn’t vary much and you cook a version of the same five things every week. After dinner, you may have a habit of turning on the tv, scrolling social aps on your phone, or reading, then it’s off to bed. Trust me. I’ve been there.
Don’t get me wrong. Habits and routines are important and provide comfort, especially during times of chaos. But when we don’t veer from these once in a while, we can get stuck in a rut and that keeps us from trying something new. Then we may be afraid of trying anything outside of our comfort zone.
Too often we mindlessly repeat actions—driving the same route to the grocery store, drinking a certain type of coffee, or frequenting the same eateries. We make a decision to do something, and our brains shift into autopilot. What would happen if we consciously changed our behavior? Maybe in traveling a new road we discover a coffeeshop with even better beverages and service than our old standby. Or in trying a different restaurant, we could discover a new favorite dish. Try new things and learn something new!
Why do we repeat certain choices? Because we know the outcome. This makes it a safe bet. With all of life’s activities and demands, it’s easier and less stressful to default to past decisions. We know what to expect—it is in our comfort zone. A new choice causes us to ponder, Will I like it? Fear of disappointment is one of the biggest reasons we make the same decisions. We reduce the chance of disappointment when we know the result.
But trying new stuff is how we grow, how we develop, and how we can find something better. So how do we get out of our comfort zone?
Steps to Trying Something Different
First, is to take small steps. Experiment with a new recipe, walk a different path, drive an alternative route, try something new after dinner, even if it is taking an evening walk. Or be really bold and join a book club, learn a new language, or take dancing lessons.
Second, if you are a person who doesn’t really like change, just focus on one thing at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with lots of new choices or feel like it’s just too much and then quit. You aren’t trying to get to the finish line today. Slow and steady also wins the race.
Third, if there is something you aren’t trying because you are afraid, then go back to number one and take small steps. Ask yourself why you are afraid? Is it a realistic fear or just something you haven’t done before?
Often, our minds “tell” us that something is scary, when it’s really not. Is it really fear, or are we afraid of failing and our ego getting bruised? And if we tried something new and failed, what’s the worst thing that would happen? We can just try it a different way.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J.K. Rowling
Disappointment Isn’t Always Bad.
There is nothing wrong with a little disappointment. It can help clarify our wants, and maybe more importantly, what we do not want. Life is full of adjustments, and the more we accept and embrace them, the more we evolve. This makes our brains less stagnant, allowing our thoughts to flow in a new direction and create new neural pathways. Becoming flexible makes us more resilient to handling new experiences in the future. And by not taking risks, we can miss wonderful opportunities. Learn something new and open the door to possibilities.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, essayist, philosopher
Change It Up!
Try one new thing this week that you usually do not do—strike up a conversation with the checker at the grocery store, say hello to someone walking by, or drive a new route. If change is hard for you, remember to take your time and take small steps. Change can be frightening so experiment at your own pace. There is no timeline here.
But I want you to ask yourself, what if I succeed? How would that feel? Pretty incredible, right? So this week go out and try something new. We are all in this together, so let’s inspire each other to do something different.
As Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
Life is about expanding yourself, exploring fresh experiences, and living new adventures. Never stop learning or experimenting. You never know how far you can go. Be bold and take a different path. You will be pleasantly surprised where you end up!
Just do something different. Love to hear what you tried this week!