When was the last time you went out of your comfort zone? That you tried something new with no experience, and just went for it? Many of us find the idea of taking that first step totally alien. At the heart of it all, we fear being judged- to start something new means being not-so-good at it for a little while, and no one wants to be bad at something. This is especially true in public spaces- why throw yourself in front of an audience to be judged? Well, as it turns out trying something new is actually pretty good for us- it lets us step out of our comfort zones and revitalises us. This guide covers some of the ways we can start to rekindle our passions and not talk ourselves out of a good thing.
Trust the process
The biggest step is understanding that to be better at something, you first have to try. For the first few tries, it can feel like we’re not making any real progress, leaving us disheartened. A way around this is to learn to focus on the process rather than the goal. For some of us, this may be easier said than done, but it can be worth a shot if you feel like goal-orientated methods don’t always work for you. Learning something new is worth the enjoyment in itself, and should not always be about the results. The results are proof of how far you’ve come,and it'sit great to feel that sense of accomplishment-but the steps you take to get there are just as valuable.
It’s never too late!
We may feel that we simply don’t have the time to try something new, but this is often a conclusion we reach before having really tried. Don’t give up before you’ve even begun! Trying new things often requires courage- although we love to learn, we also fear straying from the norm. Routines are safe, as we know how they work and what to expect.
Because of this, many of us feel like we have missed our chance- that new experiences are for young and fresh minds. We prefer to think that we are being realistic- what good does trying new things do really?
Well for one it’s great for our sense of motivation- humans love progress and so learning new things can be refreshing. Having fun for the sake of it makes us more likely to keep up the habit, and paired with activities that get you up and moving can be an opportunity to work on your fitness at the same time. The rush of taking a leap of faith- doing something because we want to regardless of the practical reasons why - is food for the soul.
Invest in yourself
A useful step is buying the equipment you need for what you want to do- be that clothes or protective gear, or perhaps a membership to a suitable venue. This begins to cement the idea in your head- you are taking the first steps in your new hobby. This can help to build your confidence too, so you can feel more like the real deal and tackle the imposter syndrome that can sometimes take hold. The options open to you are endless, and finding something you enjoy is worth the investment.
Letting yourself try out new things can do our brains a world of good. Learning and trying new things fires up the brain and makes you more engaged- even just listening to new music increases activity in the synapses in the brain. We feel more focused and more productive all at once, but in a way that lets us feel fulfilled. The new experiences also trigger the release of dopamine- which leads to neurogenesis. This is when our brain creates new neurons in response to these new situations. We feel more confident and emotionally stimulated, which can benefit us in all areas of our lives.
As well as the chemical side of things, learning new things also forces you to grow- growth can only happen when we take that first step out of our comfort zone. The same environment and routine gives us very little space to adapt, so we can’t reach our potential when stuck in a rut.
It can be surprising, but those moments when we face the trickle of fear with courage, we can inspire ourselves. It can feel great to take that initiative just because- making active decisions simply because it has the potential to make you feel happy.
Happiness is never a waste
It seems so simple and yet for many doing things for one's own happiness can feel like childish sentimentality- a waste of time. But since when was happiness a waste? In our modern day world, happiness is in especially short supply. We need to focus on our own fulfillment than ever. Research has found that focusing on meaningful activities is more effective than staying busy in regards to emotional fufillment. Every time we learn something new our world gets that little bit bigger, and we feel that little bit more a part of the world around us.
This means you get to know yourself better- even if you don’t end up enjoying a new hobby, you can say that you have tried the activity and gave it your best- you know what you do and don’t like about it and how it works for the future.
By deciding to take up a new activity, you have to first check in with yourself and ask the question- what is it that I want? What do I want to try? Even asking the hypothetical questions in the first place is an important part of self care. By getting into the habit of listening to your own emotional needs you can get back in touch with forgotten parts of yourself- learning things you wanted to do as a child but never got around to. Or you can discover new and interesting parts of yourself that you find along the way. Trying new things can feel ridiculous and it can be hard at times, but once you push past it, you might just surprise yourself.