(Okay, there was really no point in me posting that video—but the Spice Girls were great in the day, am I right?)
Most people find themselves living in a rut at some point (often, several times) in their life. Maybe you realized you were in a rut after eating the same breakfast cereal ten days in a row, going to your same office job, returning home to watch your usual TV show, and then going to bed only to repeat the cycle the following day. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Ruts are enticing little creatures. Often times, there is nothing inherently bad with the situation you are entered in… but in the back of your mind you know you are capable of better and it’s simply the fear of failure that is holding you back.
While the following ideas won’t instantly cure the problem, they can certainly help you think outside of the box and inspire big change. Here we go!
1. Make dates with yourselfSet a time each week to nurture your soul solo. A few ideas: go on a hike (bring a notebook to write in during pit stops!), pamper yourself (get a manicure or do one yourself… followed by a bubble bath and soothing music), order take out and watch your favorite series followed by wine. Anything goes, but the key is to really treat yourself. Once you make a habit of these dates, you’ll notice an enhanced understanding of yourself, as well as a lower tolerance for stagnation and mistreatment from others—after all, you’re directing all of the fun, why settle for less at any time?
2. Go with the flowOften times people are so focused on the destination rather than the journey that they are unable to embrace what is in front of them and its subsequent outcome. Life rarely goes as planned, so learn to let go and travel with the wave rather than against it. Although it can be disappointing when things don’t work out the way that you wanted, most always the realization will come that the alternate route turned out way better anyway. However, finding it means having faith, letting go… and understanding that if you dwell in disappointment, you won’t discover the better option.
3. Talk to strangers.Make a habit of engaging in friendly conversation with people you don’t know. Human connection is one of the most beautiful aspects of life, and if you’re open and sincere with people, they will be open and sincere with you. It seems like such a simple and obvious thing to do, but in the world of Facebook and Twitter (and blogging! ;)), it’s all too easy to become and feel very isolated. Break barriers, ask questions, pay compliments… you never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll learn, or what kind of impact you will make on someone. And really, once you get in the habit of exchanging cheerful interaction on a very frequent, you will find yourself far less miserable. Trust me. (You might even find yourself in a state of happiness, even)
4. Drop the act.When you find yourself asking “What should I do with my day/week/life?”, ask yourself what you would do if no one was watching. You can’t please anyone but yourself; it’s only once you drop the pressure of appeasing your friends, or society, or your grandparents, that figuring out what you’re really, truly passionate about becomes a piece of cake. You know, it’s that thing that makes you feel as if you’ve won the golden ticket.
5. Drop judgment.Everyone has a past, and everyone is going through their own personal struggle. The moment that you stop judging you’ll open your eyes to beautiful experiences and people that you never would have encountered otherwise. Not to mention, our judgments of others are often expressions of the same criticisms we give ourselves—in order to completely be at peace with ourselves and our own imperfections (those same qualities that give us depth!), it’s necessary to do the same for others.
6. Do stuff.Take up a new hobby, join a club, read a book, garden, go on a hike with friends… do whatever it is that makes your mind tick. The key is to stimulate your brain in new ways and have FUN so that the more mundane aspects of your life are always broken up with really awesome activities.
7. TravelA trip is worth its weight in gold. Go somewhere new and nourish your soul. Whether your M.O. as a traveler is to experience adventure or to simply relax, traveling is one of the best ways to change your perspective and and allow yourself freedom and excitement. It can also be very cost-effective—check out websites like Kayak.com for excellent rates on flights and stay at hostels (or check out couchsurfing.org). Better yet, stay with friends from around the world—and if you don’t have them now, you likely will on your return getaway. Traveling will also give you something to look forward to on those challenging workdays (I’m always planning a trip, in part for this reason!).