Humans may be creatures of habit, but should we be trying to fight our need for consistency? We often live our live according to routines we’ve made for ourselves without even realizing it. Some habits and routines are healthy and we need them to stay on track and get the important things done, but the possibility of getting trapped inside a never-ending pattern created by our day-to-day routines is very real. You wake up at the same time every morning, get dressed, take the same route to work, get coffee from the same coffeeshop you always stop at, arrive at work and sit as the same desk you always sit at, and go about your daily tasks in the same order as usual until it’s time to leave. Then you take the same route home, go to sleep, and wake up the next morning to do it all over again. Not only does routine kill creativity, it makes life boring, and no one should settle for being bored. Here are a few tip to replace mindless habits with spontaneity.
You may not be able to avoid going to work most days, but you can switch up your commute to keep it interesting and take your mind off of autopilot. Whether you’re walking, driving, or taking a train, you can always find a new route to get to the same place. Even if it’s just going down one new street, finding a different path will expose you to new sights and sounds that you might even like better than your old route. If this isn’t an option for you, take the opportunity to explore on your lunch break. Get something quick to eat and go walk around a park or visit an art exhibit. If all this fails, at least take some time out of the weekend to visit one place you’ve never been before.
Vary Your Diet
Change can be fun when you get food involved. If you have a favorite restaurant, chances are you probably have a favorite dish that you order every time you eat there. If you’re not ready to take a chance and find a new restaurant, order a new dish at your favorite place. If you’re feeling bold, try a new restaurant altogether and don’t just get a their version of the same thing you usually order at the other restaurant. Even if you’re craving the comfort of your favorite meal at your favorite place, force yourself to expand your palate and try something new. There could be an amazing meal waiting for you right around the block that you’ll never experience if you don’t branch out.
Change Your Schedule
Sleeping in and showing up to work late in order to break routine and achieve a change of schedule may not be an option, but you can definitely switch things up during the day. Do things in a different order than you usually do at work. If you always shower in the morning, try showering at night, and vice versa. Wake up early one day and give yourself ample time to relax while getting ready instead of rushing out the door. Eat your meals at different times. Set aside time for yourself in your schedule to do something you want to do. Think about anything that you do consistently at the same time every day, then think about ways you can move those activities around to add a little variety to your day.
Have a Conversation
As social media takes over, we are slowly becoming more and more expert at avoiding situations in which we have to actually socialize with other people face to face. When we do choose to socialize, we usually have a small group of friends we stick to. It’s fine to prefer having a small friend group, but you don’t have to be friends with someone to have a nice conversation. Try to talk to one new person every day, or at least someone you don’t talk to on a regular basis. If you’re having trouble striking up a conversation, start with a compliment. Meeting new people could be exciting for you and giving that compliment could make someone’s whole day.
Try Something New
One of the biggest obstacles that stands in the way of us breaking out of our routines is the fear of getting out of our comfort zones. There is no better way to add spontaneity to your life than to simply try something new. Go to an art class, see a film you wouldn’t normally see, take up journaling, go out to eat by yourself, or audition for a play. Think about something you’ve always wanted to do but have never had the chance or been brave enough to do. Now set aside time to do it. Going out of your comfort zone doesn’t mean doing something so terrifying you won’t enjoy it. It can be as easy as taking up a new hobby. Anything that is a change from something that you would normally do is a step in the right direction.
When you need motivation to get started on any of these tips, take a step back and look at your life. Think about where you are, how you got there and where you want to be. Take the time to figure out what you’ve already accomplished and what you want to accomplish, then set some goals. Map out a plan to reach these goals then change your routine accordingly. Taking a different route to work or giving a compliment to a stranger may not magically get you to the finish line, but it will open you up to the possibility of change, which will make all the difference in the long run. You can’t reach new goals if you stick to your old routine, so start breaking out of your rut today.