I have decided to expand my horizons. I am trying one new thing each week. Some are life-style changes (eating more vegetables, meditation) and some are small (learning to do anagrams, doing crossword puzzles). I think that it is very important to stretch yourself. It is important to stay active both physically and mentally to stay sharp mentally.
I got this idea from 43 Things (here) and I have found that it is a great way to stimulate personal growth. I’m also finding out more about myself – what I enjoy and what I don’t, what foods and beverages I like and what I don’t. Since one of my ongoing goals is to get to know myself better, I’m also working toward another goal while working on this one.
Another benefit of this is that expanding your experiences can benefit your overall outlook. According to part of an article in Time (here), people who have a range of experiences and try new things are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimize the negative than people who have fewer experiences.
If you are afraid to try new things, try breaking the process down into smaller steps. Take one step at a time. If that doesn’t work, try something a little more familiar but still new. Basically, this can also be a good way to face your fears as well as expand your horizons. If you are afraid if heights, try something like riding in a hot-air balloon or simply going to the top of a well-known building or monument (the Washington Monument or the Empire State Building come to mind). If you are afraid of doing things alone, try something simple like a walk in the park or a lunch in your favorite restaurant. Take along a book. The fear is frequently worse than actually doing the action.
Examples of things that I’ve done since I started this are:
- Sudoku – I tried these puzzles but it just isn’t my thing.
- Reading historical speeches: I decided I wanted to read the complete “I Have a Dream” speech, as well as the “Pearl Harbor” speech, and a number of others.
- A genre of book that I had not read before: political autobiography. I read Colin Powell’s My American Journey. It was far more interesting than I anticipated.
- I tried a Galia melon. I had never had one before; it was interesting. It looks like a cantaloupe but tastes (to me) more like honeydew.
- Playing around with photography – this is fun since I have a digital camera and I just delete the pictures that I don’t like or that don’t turn out well.
I admit that I haven’t really tried anything big so far – but the things I’ve done are things that are easy to work into my life and schedule. Right now, that is very important. I have an infant and I have to work around her schedule and needs right now. I also find trying new things to be good for my mental health right now as well – it gives me something to look forward to each week, as well as a break from daily routines and ruts into which I’ve fallen. At any rate, I highly recommend trying this. You never know…you might find out something surprising about yourself!