As adults, we tend to become creatures of habit. It’s easy to get into a routine where you find yourself buying the same foods, wearing the same outfits, and interacting with the same people day after day. While there’s nothing wrong with some consistency, life can get boring without the occasional out-of-the-box experience. This New Year is the perfect time to take on a new challenge, face an old fear, or learn a novel skill to break up everyday life’s monotony.
When is the last time you did something out of the ordinary? If you’re like most people, it may have been so long ago that you can’t remember. There are many reasons why we tend to avoid trying new things. Fear of failure or a reluctance to break free from our obligations to others (family, work, etc.) can leave little opportunity for spontaneity and experimentation. However, trying new things is associated with several benefits.
Luckily, there is no shortage of avenues to go down if you’re open-minded and proactive. It may take a few tries before you fall in love with a new activity, but if you continue to put yourself out there, it’s just a matter of time until you find the right fit.
Here are five reasons why you should take the plunge for at least one adventure in the year to come.
1. Shake Up Your Routine
If nothing else, trying something new is a proactive way to beat the boredom. Give yourself a new excuse to get up, get dressed, and participate in the world around you. Often, one change leads to another. A different activity can cause you to take a new driving route, rework your schedule at home, or spend more time with new people. All of these little adjustments bring variety—the spice of life. Who knows what you’ll discover when waking up an hour earlier to make it to your exercise class or shopping in an unfamiliar part of town to find exotic ingredients from your recent cooking workshop?
2. Learn More About Yourself
If you never try anything new, you risk missing out on the chance to see what you’re made of. Taking on challenges and conquering past phobias builds a greater self-confidence that spills over into other areas of life. For instance, if you’re afraid of heights but push yourself to go ziplining, you’ll discover a previously untapped reservoir of courage. The next time you have to speak up at work or ask someone out on a date, you might feel more confident about what you can handle.
3. Become a More Interesting Person
Doing new things gives you something exciting to share with others. Whether you’re making small talk with strangers or catching up with old friends, it’s always helpful to have a fun experience to share. Adding variety to your life can make you a better conversationalist with more to contribute beyond the usual tired topics. Exuding enthusiasm and passion helps create positive energy that draws other people in.
4. Make New Friends
Finding new social groups can become a challenge as we get older. However, our interests and personalities evolve over time. While old friends are valuable, getting the chance to meet new people throughout our various life phases helps us connect with others who are compatible with the person we’ve become. Chances are that if you meet someone out at an activity, they have a similar desire to be outgoing and try new things. Maybe they’ll introduce you to other opportunities, classes, or events that can enrich your life and open up a new community to belong to.
5. Get a Fresh Perspective
Placing yourself in a different environment helps you see the world in a whole new light. Author Neale Donald Walsch is credited with the saying: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” There are always new ideas and ways of thinking to discover. However, staying in our usual bubble won’t expose us to the richness that this world has to offer. Learning a skill or becoming a student again expands our mind into new territories that can lead us to exciting discoveries.
How to Get Started
Sometimes we don’t end up doing new things simply because we aren’t sure where to begin. If you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of a fun activity, consider what might be most fulfilling to you. Suggestions include:
Additional suggestions to consider include joining a book club, learning a new instrument, or signing up for an art, writing, or photography workshop. Go on a night out and sing karaoke. If you’re feeling creative, start a home improvement project (and actually finish it). To boost your physical activity level, how about taking a tennis lesson, yoga, dance class, or training for a 5k race (even if it’s just walking)?
To give yourself a better idea of what’s out there, start exploring. Look into adult education classes, local gyms, volunteer groups, events, and online communities that are of interest to you. Ask other people what they do for fun—especially people who are different from you. Finding out how others in different age groups, cultural backgrounds, and income levels are spending their free time might help you find an activity that you didn’t consider in the past.
If there’s anything that you used to enjoy in the past but haven’t made time for lately, consider getting back into it. Fun activities aren’t just for kids. Adults need opportunities to continue learning, growing, and developing into the best versions of ourselves. Once you start the momentum of trying new things, you might find yourself more willing to put yourself out there. Opening your heart to the unknown and engaging with the world around you can help you find greater success in your career, finances, relationships and bring more profound joy and a sense of fulfillment to everyday life.