It's easy to mold yourself into the same familiar routine day in and day out. But to really make an impact, to make a change, you have to constantly incorporate the new into your daily life.
There's a lot of small ways you can incorporate new things into your life without completely doing a 180. For example, you can:
- Try on a piece of clothing outside your style bubble—and if you like it, buy it.
- Close your eyes and pick something at random on a menu.
- Go to a town or city you've never been to for a weekend.
- Order a different type of coffee the next time you grab one.
It doesn't matter how you do it. What matters is that you consistently shake up your routine.
An easy shortcut for this is travel. Trying to fit yourself into the local customs and way of life can often cause you to reflect on why you do the things that you do. I spent a week in Spain doing my best to blend in (hard to do with such terrible Spanish) and living life Spanish style. That meant siestas every day, late night dinners, and generally taking it easy.
I do none of these things in my daily life. Normally, I wake up at 5:30 AM and am in bed by 9PM. I spend most of my day working on different problems, and then when I come home, I write about food and travel. That doesn't leave a lot of room for siestas or the kind of marathon all-night tapas you can experience in Spain.
I decided to throw myself into our new schedule: 9AM wakeups, 2PM lunches, 4PM siestas, and 10PM dinners. I tried octopus for the first time (melt-in-your-mouth-goodness). I learned how to let my order roll off the tongue, how to choose the perfect Spanish red, and how to sniff out the best iberian ham in the city. I spent some time doing things differently.
Doing things differently gave me the creative space to think differently. To get outside of my comfort zone. To live a little bit on the wild side, at least for me. I spent more siestas taking frantic notes of new ideas and thoughts and phrases than I'd care to admit.
I'm not saying you have to travel halfway around the world to experience this kind of shake-up. You can do this anytime. Do your chores in the opposite order. Pick something new off the menu. Stay up a little later (or go to bed earlier).
Do something different.