Routine is comfortable. It gives you a sense of security knowing what you’ll be doing but it can lead to a sense of stagnation as well. People who live more spontaneously are typically happier than people who live constantly by a routine – but how do you break out of a routine and become more spontaneous? After all, you have a family and a job. Here are some tips to help you rediscover the joys of being spontaneous.
Stop Putting Off Gratification
Many people put their nose to the grind, never taking the time to enjoy life. They tell themselves someday they’ll have the time or money to do what they REALLY want to do. Don’t be one of those people. Commit to living life now. Tell yourself each day offers new opportunities and you’re going to experience them now. Ask yourself what you would do if it were your last day on earth. Write those things down and commit to doing one of them today.
Spend Time with a Child
Go outside and play with a young child. Follow along as they explore their surroundings, as they pick up objects and examine them with wonder. You too can learn to look at things through the eyes of a child. Too many adults are so focused on getting to work on time or getting dinner on the table that they don’t really “see.” Open your eyes and look at the world as if you’re witnessing it for the first time.
Let Go of Fear
Fear is often what keeps people from being spontaneous – fear of not working hard enough to pay the bills, fear of making a fool of themselves or fear of failure. There’s an old quote that says “Replace fear with curiosity.” Good advice. When you move past fear, there’s always discovery. Be open to that discovery.
Talk to Someone New
Spontaneity is about being open to new people and new experiences. Take a chance and talk to someone new at work, someone you’ve never really spoken to before. Then listen closely to what they have to say. You may get a fresh perspective – or make a new friend. It’s too easy to play it safe with the same friends and acquaintances. Step out of your comfort zone occasionally and talk to someone new.
Stop Overthinking Everything in Your Life
Stop thinking of every reason why you can’t or shouldn’t do something. When you do, shut the rational part of your brain down - and just do it. Remember when you first jumped off the high dive at the pool when you were young? It took forever to get up the nerve to do it, but the feeling of exhilaration you felt when you finally did it was worth it. Once you move past fear and do something new, it becomes easier to do it the next time.
Spend Time in Nature
Put on your walking shoes and walk or bike in your neighborhood or in an entirely different neighborhood. Find a hiking trail in your area and explore it at least twice a week, admiring the scenery. Go to a petting zoo and pet the animals or visit a zoo or dog park. Notice how spontaneous the dogs are as they run around the park. Then head to a park yourself and swing on the swing set or climb on the monkey bars. Rediscover what it felt like to be a child. Visit an amusement park and ride the scariest roller coaster. Scream all the way down the steepest hill. Then ride it again. It’s experiences like these that make you less fearful and more spontaneous.
Get Inspired By Other People
Read stories about people who have faced enormous challenges and conquered them - the story of the woman with multiple sclerosis who climbs mountain peaks and runs marathons or the world’s oldest bodybuilding female, a lady who gets up in the wee hours of the morning to run 10 miles and lift heavy weights – all at the age of 75. These are all true stories. If they can do these things, you shouldn’t limit yourself either. What’s holding you back?
The Bottom Line?
You learn to be more spontaneous by taking chances and by turning your brain off when it tells you can’t do something. Cultivate an attitude of curiosity rather than fear and you’ll finally know the joy of living spontaneously.