After a month of celebrations and gatherings with familiar faces, you may be tempted to hunker down and hermit for a while. We get it. Everyone needs a little R & R, but a brand new year is also cause for celebration and experimentation. Stepping out of your comfort zone – in a controlled way – helps expand your world and your life. Here are some things we’re going to try this year and some words of wisdom that remind us of the benefits of such efforts.
Learn to Be a Better Cook
If you’ve made a resolution to change your eating habits, you’re not alone. Many people start the new year by committing to making healthier meal choices, but sticking to a new meal plan can be difficult if you don’t know how to prepare healthy food. Since inflation has made dining out a pricey endeavor, now’s a great time to improve your culinary skills. Meal kits offer a wide variety of choices to tantalize your tastebuds, and you can experiment with adventurous new flavors one meal at a time while honing your food prep skills. Bonus: Home delivery also takes the guesswork out of picking the perfect produce.
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Break Out of an Exercise Rut
When was the last time you took an exercise class from a different instructor or used an elliptical instead of a treadmill? We all have favorites and tried-and-trues, but challenging your body in a new way can help you break through boredom and even a weight loss plateau. If you normally focus on cardio, try taking a yoga or Pilates class to improve your balance, flexibility, and core strength. Want to strengthen your upper body and your heart simultaneously? Try erging (aka rowing). And if you want to make a few new friends (which inevitably makes exercising more fun) give pickleball a try.
“If you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it's like to win.”
― Richard Branson
Pursue a More Rewarding Career
Ask yourself this question: Do I have a career or a job? Paying the bills is an absolute necessity, but if you don’t feel a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in the work you’re doing, it might be time to seek something new. According to a recent survey, “Job-seekers list ‘flexible schedules’ as their #1 priority.” Not every industry or job sector can offer such options, and that means job seekers who want traditional hours may have better luck finding the perfect fit. Currently, open positions also outnumber applicants, which means you may have more bargaining power and get more offers than in the past.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.”
― Dale Carnegie
Do More Things That Scare You
We’re not talking about living dangerously, but there’s truth to be found in the idea that we’re most alive when we’re most aware. Things that make us uncomfortable or slightly anxious force us to be more attentive, engaged, and present. Just think back to your school days when you knew the teacher would be calling on you to answer a question or solve a problem. And then think of how you felt when you not only survived but were also praised for your response. Without risk, there is no reward, so start doing some things you’ve been avoiding due to their discomfort factor. It can be something small, like dining solo in a nice restaurant, or bigger, like traveling abroad to experience full cultural immersion.
Remember, every time you venture outside your comfort zone, you actually extend it, making you and your life bigger a little at a time.
Happy New Year!