“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:9
I am definitely a creature of habit. As a result, I have committed to trying new things. I love visiting new restaurants, but the problem is, almost mechanically, I will order the same entree’ each and every time. Why do I order the same meal every time? It is safe and I like safe–I know I won’t be wasting my money or be disappointed. I came to the realization that it may be economically sound; however, it is boring and mundane. Although it may be a challenge, I am committed to experiencing something new on the menu.
Despite my mundane food choices, I have welcomed some new experiences. Because I am accustomed to patronizing the same grocery store (I know the exact aisle that contains the item I need), I decided to visit a couple of new ones in my neighborhood; I joined a new gym and exercise class called Pound–a cardio exercise session using Ripstix; and a few months ago, a friend and I took salsa lessons which I thoroughly enjoyed. These activities may not be mind-blowing, but they are unusual to my normal routine.
In her book, “Year of Yes,” Shonda Rhimes tells of a conversation she is having with her sister, Delores, while preparing a Thanksgiving dinner. Shonda is the creator, head writer, and executive producer of such television shows as Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. In her book, Shonda is telling Delores about some of the amazing opportunities she has been afforded. Delores, in turn, asks Shonda why hasn’t she taken advantage of the invites (to events, parties, talk shows, etc.) and added, “You never say yes to anything.” Shonda admitted the words were harsh, but true. Her excuses were that she was busy with two jobs, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal (at that time), and she was a single mother with three children. This was the beginning of her making a conscious decision to say “yes” to everything for one year resulting in the writing of her book. During that year, Shonda interviewed with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday and spoke on TED Talks where she talked about saying “yes” to the things she feared.
Do you live a very routine, mundane life? You get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, have dinner, attend to the needs of your spouse and/or children, and go to bed only to start the routine all over again the next day. How about trying something new and different? In an article in the Huffington Post titled, “A Look at the Incredible Benefits of Trying New Things,” Larry Alton, CEO of Alton Enterprises, provides the following benefits:
- Overcome fear. Fear is the one thing that keeps us from trying new things. We’re afraid of the investment, consequences, and worst-case scenarios. What if I don’t like it?
- Get to know yourself better. We think we know ourselves, then we try new things and realize we have unique likes and dislikes that were previously unknown.
- Stimulate creativity. When you try new things, you put your brain into unique situations that force it to really think. This stimulates creativity, which eventually rubs off in other areas of your life.
- Make you more marketable. Your desire to try new things should be centered on you and your life goals. A commitment to forging new life experiences makes you more marketable to the world.
Alton offers five things to try this summer:
- Learn a new sport. Maybe it’s time to learn a new sport and physically challenge yourself in ways that you haven’t before.
- Travel solo. Solo travel is highly beneficial. It teaches you independence, allows you to set the itinerary, and provides life lessons on how to handle different situations.
- Go speed dating. You’ll experience a whirlwind of emotions and may learn something about yourself along the way.
- Cook for a week. Try cooking every single meal you eat for an entire week. From this experience, you will learn new skills and will come to appreciate the patience and rewards that come with cooking.
- Start a side hustle. Try starting a new side hustle this summer. Turn your skill into a business. Your business acumen will increase and you will have fun being innovative at the same time.
As I agree with numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5, number 3 will take some convincing. If I ever experience speed dating, I will definitely include the experience in my blog! I challenge you to make this your “Year of Yes” and do something you have never done before, whether it will be visiting a new store, restaurant, exercise class or whatever it is–just try something new. You do not have to do anything death defying such as bungee jumping or parasailing–new things can be something simple.
I hope this blog has ministered to you as it has simultaneously ministered to me. I will challenge myself to release my boring, routine habits and say “yes” to new things and experience many of the opportunities life has to offer. How about you?
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