Stepping Outside of Your Boundaries
4 Steps Towards Trying New Things
Let's start off with the facts: humans are creatures of habit. We like to buy the same brand of mascara when we run low, order the same entree at our favorite restaurants and go to the same workout classes every week. It's easy to get comfortable with routines, and it's not always a bad thing. We know what works with our lifestyle, and we stick to it to avoid cognitive dissonance. However, I've recently noticed how often we forget what captivated us to visit those restaurants the first time or even step foot into those yoga classes. When we find something that sticks, we forget to make room for the other options of the world.
I started questioning why it is that more of us don't go and venture past what we're most familiar with, so I started investigating how we fall into all these habits. For those of you who feel you need something new to spice up your life or a reminder of ways to mix it up, ooh do I have the pieces to your puzzle!
Break Out of Your Bubble
I'll be honest, I'm guilty of sticking to habits too. I hesitate when new opportunities come along, but—I swear—whenever I take a leap, they're absolutely life changing. Recently, I was inspired by an episode of my favorite podcast Invisibilia about a techie named Max who found himself unexposed to anything outside of his daily routine and comfortable bubble of friends, family and colleagues. To change this, he set out to break loose from his bubble and created an app that randomly selects public Facebook events. Max would attend these random events hosted by people he's never met at events that had little to no relevance to him. All of this was to expose himself to something new every week.
My initial thought to this podcast was, "My social anxiety is going nuts just thinking about it!" Then, I reconsidered and saw how many amazing experiences could come from it! Imagine: new friends, places you've never been or spots you've passed by and never thought to stop at all joining your vibrant life.
When transferring this into your own life, it doesn't even have to be anything wild like Max's app! It can be the simpler random things that you begin allowing into your life including, but not limited to:
- straying from your daily coffee stand and going to a new coffee/tea shop every morning
- switching up the way you walk to work or take a jog
- buying groceries from a foreign market
- saying, "Hello, how are you?" to the people you walk by every day
- Greeting people you've never met before
Now thinking it over, don't you think just striking conversation with people you pass by on a daily basis would add so much color to your life?
Now, not everybody wants to switch up their lives, and that's fine! Just know that it never hurts to try something new. The thing I love most about that Max's story is that he so voluntarily pushed himself outside of his boundaries even though his life was already smooth sailing. He was hungry for a life of more variety, and I wish more people wanted to step outside of their comfort zone just as Max did!
If you do want to do something new but don't know where to start, have no fear! The first step is to wick your nerves and optimize your attitude to be open to a change in tempo.
The secret? Remind yourself that your nerves are a secondary emotion, and—especially with new experiences—it's usually secondary to excitement. Therefore, when you're nervous, just think, "Hey, I'm actually thrilled to be jumping into something you're not used to!" Keep repeating this in your mind until you believe it so well that your nerves reveal themselves at pure excitement! Then, start thinking about something that you love doing now and how those all had a first time too. There's always a good reason to be scared of things, but there are even better reasons to power through and think positive!
Admit it, there's a tinge of you that's always curious about the unknown. You know the thing that tells you, "Yes, I should watch 'It'" or makes you want to venture a little further in a building completely foreign to you? You'll realize that the same feeling of curiosity can easily resonate with uncertainty.
While it's true that what you don't know can't hurt you, I'm a strong believer of learning new things to leverage yourself. What I used to do—and what I wish I didn't lose—was believe everything was right. I embraced beliefs I was completely unsure of. Whatever anyone said, be it fact or opinion, no matter how absolutely absurd it sounded, I told myself to reconsider. I would wrap my mind around everything I disagreed with, then I'd try to see it from another's perspective to understand why it can easily be correct. Sometimes this may go deeper into cultural differences or psychology, and can be a challenging break down. Don't be discouraged. Just give it a test! It's a step into a brand new world of mindfulness, where you can take the opportunity to question everything all while accepting it at the same time.
Once you've opened your heart to endless possibilities, you can begin to take a step in someone else's shoes and live the life they live just for a moment! See what others love and learn why they love it so much. Their characteristics might not completely vibe with your own, but at least you'll see that the things you once swore against deserve another try.
For me, it was yoga. I was skeptical of lessons on balance and enlightenment through a series of yoga poses for years. I couldn't get my body to bend any way that was expected of me, and I was so frustrated with it! About three years after giving up, I decided to give it another try and dove right into buying a yoga mat. One sculpt class later, I went for two months of unlimited classes and now I'm out and about trying new studios because I can't help but love it!
Say "Yes" To Your Outer Friend Circle
Have you ever heard that you are a blend of the five people you hang out with the most? It's true, and it's not a bad thing as long as you surround yourself with people who make you happy! Some people are extremely good about staying up to date with those outside of their five people. These are the ones who inspire me the most!
It's so easy to keep up with a core group of friends and go out to the same spot for brunch every weekend. On the other hand, when you're constantly immersing yourself with different people in your life, you're keeping yourself open to a number of activities you may have never considered! Going back to embracing uncertainty, here's another chance to start loving what each and every one of your friends loves! If someone is a big surfer, ask them to take you out to the ocean! Have a friend who's an art enthusiast? Well, what better person to introduce you to the different realms of impressionism, contemporary or even abstract art?
In this day and age, all of your friends are a simple phone call or text message away. Keep in touch by sending along a sweet message every time you think of them, then follow through with a "What are you doing this weekend?" Or simply accept those Facebook invites you keep getting and catch up with everyone! The rest of the adventure is up to you!
There's a whole world out there waiting for you to explore it! So start saying yes to positivity, your friends and those things you thought you used to hate (unless they're brussel sprouts, in which case you can keep saying, "no." I won't judge). If none of these work, you can even do something as simple as making a habit of breaking out of your habit! Sounds contradictory, but think about it. Then, let me know what new things you start falling in love with!