A Look at the Incredible Benefits of Trying New Things

05/15/2017 04:52 am ET

Whether you realize it or not, you spend the majority of your day doing things you’ve already done hundreds or thousands of times before. Very rarely do you actually try new things for the purpose of engaging a unique experience. But what if you made it a point to do exactly that? There are many benefits to doing new things – don’t cheat yourself out of them.

Are You Stuck?

Have you ever paused to consider the ease at which you follow daily, weekly, and annual routines? Most people wake up at the same time, eat similar things for breakfast, wear the same rotation of clothing, arrive at work at the same time, grab lunch with the same people, watch the same shows at night…yada, yada, yada.

Routines like these become so familiar that we often lose track of the fact that we’re just cruising through life. Despite the fact that we live in an enormous universe with seven different continents, nearly 200 different countries, more than 7 billion people, thousands of languages, and hundreds of thousands of unique experiences, we stick to what we know. Then we wonder why we feel stuck, stale, and stagnant.

Feeling stuck in place is totally normal. What’s not normal is to keep living the same way day after day and year after year. If you were driving through some muddy terrain in your car and your tires got stuck in a ditch, would you just sit there and spin your wheels? No, you’d do everything within your power to get out of the ditch and keeping moving.

The Benefits of Trying New Things

Want to pry yourself loose from the jaws of mediocrity and begin living the life that you were meant to live? It’s time to make a commitment to trying new things and engaging fresh experiences that reinvigorate your life with energy and excitement.

The benefits of trying new things are manifold:

1. Overcome Fear

In most cases, 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?

Some level of fear is always present when trying something new, but you’ll soon realize that your mind exaggerates things. Eventually, once you make it a priority to try new things, fear will cease to be a crippling factor in your life. Instead, you’ll see it as a minor speed bump that stands between you and some new experience.

2. Get to Know Yourself Better

It’s weird to think that you don’t know yourself as well as you could, but this is almost always the case. We think we know ourselves, but then we try new things and realize we have unique likes and dislikes that were previously unknown. As you try new things, you’ll naturally recognize who you are and who you want to become. This will prove invaluable as the years go on.

3. Stimulate Creativity

Ask any highly creative person how they continue to innovate and express themselves in new ways – they’ll tell you the key to their success is a commitment to trying new things.

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. As a result, you begin to think about everything in a new light.

4. Makes You More Marketable

You are the most important person in this equation. Your desire to try new things should be centered on you and your life goals. But at the end of the day, a commitment to forging new life experiences makes you more marketable to the world. Other people begin to see new talents and skills and your entire “body of work” becomes more appealing. This usually results in unique opportunities – both in your career and personal life.

5 Things to Try This Summer

It’s easier to try new things when you’re younger – when you have fewer strings attached. Don’t wait until you’re 45 and having a mid-life crisis to suddenly initiate movement in this area of your life.

There’s no better time than now to push yourself beyond your preconceived “limitations” and engage new experiences. Specifically, make this summer a time where you ditch the normalcy of your daily routine and start living life as it’s meant to be lived.

Here are a few specific things that you can/should try this summer.

1. Learn a New Sport

Summer is the ideal time for getting active. But instead of doing the same old exercise routine, maybe it’s time to learn a new sport and physically challenge yourself in ways that you haven’t before.

Wakeboarding is one sport that comes to mind. It combines various elements of water skiing, snowboarding, and surfing and is relatively inexpensive. You also get to spend the day out on the water, which is never a bad thing. Other outdoor sports worth trying include rock climbing, mountain biking, and disc golf.

2. Travel Solo

Most people like to travel, but with one caveat: they prefer to travel with other people. And while there are tremendous benefits to traveling with friends, there’s something advantageous about traveling alone.

It may seem taboo, but solo travel is highly beneficial. It teaches you independence, allows you to set the itinerary, and provides life lessons on how to handle the good, bad, and ugly. There’s also research to suggest that spending time alone staves off depression, so there are psychological benefits to it as well.

3. Go Speed Dating

It’s time to ditch blind dates and Tinder and instead try your hand at speed dating. It’s something that most people have only seen in movies, but speed dating is a real thing. You’ll experience a whirlwind of emotions – from nervous butterflies to genuine excitement – and will learn a thing or two about yourself along the way. And who knows – you may end up with a second date.

4. Cook for a Week

You don’t have to leave the confines of your home or apartment to try new things. Here’s a challenge for you: Try cooking every single meal you eat for an entire week. This means no fast food, takeout, or even frozen meals. Nothing comes out of a wrapper or is immediately edible. All 21 meals need to be homemade in some form or fashion. From this experience, you’ll learn new skills and will come to appreciate the patience and rewards that come with cooking.

5. Start a Side Hustle

Worn out from your current job? Looking for a way to earn another couple hundred dollars per month? Try starting a new side hustle this summer. Find a skill that you have and turn it into a business. Thanks to the internet, it’s actually fairly easy. You can sell both physical goods and services online. So, why not? Your business acumen will increase and you’ll have fun building something from the ground up.

Become a “Yes” Person

This summer, become a “yes” person. When confronted with new experiences, challenges, and ideas, avoid making excuses and start doing. You’ll find that the benefits almost always outweigh the risks. Life’s too short to get stuck in a bland routine.

It’s easy to say no to yourself. It’s time to start saying yes.

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