We are creatures of habit. Our brains develop habits to keep us from having to think about certain functions or activities. We tend to wear the same clothes every week. We eat the same meals in the same places. We hang out with the same people and watch the same type of television shows or movies. There is value in routine and having a certain level of comfort, but there is also the danger of losing the “O” and routine turning into a rut-ine.
I once heard Zig Ziglar say that a rut was a grave with both ends knocked out of it. I am not sure if you feel like you are in a rut or you feel stuck, but routines and habits were never meant to be a trap. There are many benefits to flexing our mental muscles. There is research on both the physical and mental health benefits of trying something new. I will leave the medical research to the professionals in that field, but I can tell you about some of the benefits I have experienced and observed in the lives of others when they try something new.
New Solutions To Old Problems
This is the most common experience I have had. I try something new and it opens my mind to a solution to a problem I have been working through. Sometimes it is the very thing that was making me feel stuck or stressed. When you try something new, it opens up new parts of your thinking and exposes you to new things which often reveal a solution to a problem you are trying to solve. The two things may be completely unrelated. I have been traveling to a new place and suddenly had an idea that solved a problem back home. The solution to your current stress may be found in something brand new.
I love talking with people and engaging with people. Every time I do something new I meet new people. One of the most out-of-character experiences that I have had was spending several days in a cave monastery in Moldova. No one there spoke English so it was work to communicate when eating. In the cave was a single monk who had made that his home for 12 years. Everything he owned was in a space that was about 6’x8’ (a cave). Over the few days I was there, we had several conversations using Google Translate and I was inspired to do other new things in my life. As a matter of fact, I have even created one routine because of that experience. I have a prayer list on my phone that I pray over every day. New people in your life will always open up new things for you.
One of the main reasons we do not try new things is because we are afraid. We are afraid it might go wrong or we may not like it. We are scared that we will get injured or someone will laugh. Most commonly we are just afraid that we will fail. Fear is such a strong emotion that it can drive everything in our life. If we are not careful we will approach every situation with apprehension and anxiety. Trying something new will not only help overcome the fear of the new thing that we are trying but it will also make us more confident in the things that we do every day.
I challenge you today to try something new. Go somewhere you have never been. Eat something you have never eaten. Take a dance class or jump out of an airplane. Whatever new thing that has crossed your mind multiple times but you have hesitated, put it on your calendar right now and do it. You will find other things improve because of it.