THE BLOG
01/27/2015 11:49 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 New Things to Try This Year

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you've already slacked off on your New Year's resolutions, right? If not, congratulations! If so, guess what: Every day is New Year's Day. Every day is a new day to try something different, something new. In fact, I believe this is one of the keys to happiness! Studies have shown that doing new things--either alone or with a partner--increases the positive feelings in your life.

The other day I read The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think, a blog I came across on Facebook. It really resonated with me. In it, the author asserts that, "addiction is an adaptation. It's not you. It's your cage." As someone who hasn't had an alcoholic drink in 15-plus years (I've stopped counting), I can remember the times when I did drink, and it was those times that I felt caged--lonely, fearful, and unhappy with myself. (And by the way, there are all sorts of addictions--even addiction to exercise!)

Based on this article, I am not going to go back to drinking, because I love being sober! But I will encourage all of you to try new things to help you open your self-created, self-imposed cages and fly free to truly, deeply enjoy life.

Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

1. Go somewhere you've never gone before. It could be to a new park, a new restaurant, or a new country.

2. Say something you've always wanted to say. Just try and find a way to say it in a way that's positive and constructive, not hurtful. Although, if you have a well of hurt in you--you've got to find a way to let it out and let it go.

3. Try a new kind of exercise or sport. Take a class, join a group, or learn more by watching a video on YouTube.

4. Eat something you've never tried before. I was having a craving for raw oysters--which I hadn't eaten in decades (and then only ever with a bit too much champagne). Turns out, I had an iron deficiency and oysters are high in iron. So now I eat them every chance I get.

5. Go see a shaman. I have had truly transformative experiences working with shamans. Here are sites for two excellent ones: dreamingintobeing.com and owlmedicine.com.

6. Embrace your dark side. One of my favorite quotes is from Carl Jung: "What you suppress must be expressed." We all have parts of ourselves that we don't like or try to hide or try to eradicate from our lives. Pull those things out into the light and examine them, look yourself fearlessly in the eyes, and then accept that they are a normal part of you.

7. Meditate on your dreams, and then do them. Have you always wanted to write a book or change your job or your marriage or your home? What's stopping you? The only thing stopping you is you. And the only thing you can change is you. So get busy! You've got this. Trust the universe to support you in your dreams.

8. Listen to new music. So many people listen to the same old stuff that they listened to as kids. There is amazing new music out there--change the radio station once in a while. It can also change your perspective.

9. Give yourself an opposite day. If you are always organized, make a big mess. If you are always messy, be organized for just one day. If you are always caring for others, take a day to just care for yourself--and vice versa. Have fun with it!

10. Try a new therapy/spa treatment/massage. Have you ever tried Reiki? Thai massage? Craniosacral massage? Instead of the usual mani-pedi or facial, try something totally different. Follow your curiosity. Follow your heart, and you just might find your dreams come true.

For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com