Looking at Your Patterns
I have been thinking a lot recently about the ways new routines and exploration inspire growth. See, as an INFJ, I am a creature of habit. For example, I eat the same meal for breakfast each morning (and have for a few years); I love getting to bed early (even if I’m the first one to leave a gathering); I like attending the same workout classes and going to the same grocery stores; I default to alone or quiet time versus loud, crowded, or highly-stimulating environments.
When my days consist only of these habits, I am comfortable, in a sense, but, as it turns out, I am also a bit lonely, bored, and uninspired.
This realization about my own tendencies has helped me prioritize learning new things! I have come to appreciate opportunities to try and experiment with new skills and hobbies. It is through doing new things that I become more myself. This article is an invitation for you to get curious about how trying something new can impact you and your family this year and beyond.
Learn Something New This Year
Here at the beginning of 2019, we each have an opportunity to pause and consider what we want our year ahead to be like. You might enjoy setting intentions– personally and/or as a family, and you can find my guide for this process here.
If words or phrases like play, fun, exploration, adventure, growth, change, curiosity are part of your hopes and dreams for the new year, I encourage you to consider trying something new! When it comes to learning a new skill or doing something you have never tried before, the benefits are plentiful.
When you try something new, you can…
- Surprise yourself! Perhaps you pick up a new skill or hobby very quickly or maybe you discover a new passion. How cool it is to feel surprised by your own gifts, talents, and interests!
- Connect with new friends and community members. New interests mean the potential for a new community! Friendships often begin through shared interests. Thus, when you step up to learning a new skill, you also give yourself an opportunity to meet new people.
- Know yourself in a new, deeper way. The process of trying something new will help you learn more about your needs, preferences, challenges, and so on. If you go into the experience ready and willing to notice what comes up for you, it’s certain that you will learn something important about yourself.
- Build confidence. Tackling a new skill will support you in feeling accomplished. Simply naming a goal and taking steps towards it can boost your confidence. Even perceived “failures” or mistakes can help you feel proud of yourself.
- Increase resilience. Trying new things asks you to stretch yourself beyond what’s comfortable. When you meet challenges and face healthy struggle, you grow resilience! This will undoubtedly carry over into other parts of your life!
- Expand your sense of self and the world. As you begin a new project or learning experience, you may find your perspective of yourself, your community, or the world expanding. This process might also bring you a sense of connection to others, your community, and the world.
- Release an old habit or routine that isn’t serving you. As you take on new learning experiences, you may discover that some of your patterns are ready to be retired. When you dedicate yourself to a new interest, prepare to notice what you are ready to let go of, change, or alter.
Try Something New This Year
What comes to mind as you consider this phrase, “Try something new this year!”
What thoughts, feelings, and beliefs arise?
If you are facing self-doubt as you read this phrase, I invite you to notice it with compassion. Self-doubt and fear can try to swoop in as a protector; these sensations might be trying to keep you from changing because change is uncomfortable! When protectors show up, you might find a sense of calm though loving kindness practices; take the time to remind yourself (and your protectors) that growing, changing, and expanding are important aspects of your experience.
If specific ideas or visions come to mind as your read this phrase, I invite you to give them space. Write these words or images down; doodle or draw them out. Maybe you’d even like to describe these ideas aloud– to yourself or a loved one. Your sense of excitement and joy in seeing yourself take on a new interest is valid and important.
Now, how will you decide what trying something new will mean to you this year?! To help you take the first step, I created a list of 10 of my favorite ways to try something new. This list is meant to be a starting point. Please edit, add to, and curate a list that is meaningful to you and your family.
- Take a class or course. Study anything you’re interested in from languages, to business skills, to gardening, and so on. You can enroll for in-person classes or explore a wide range of online offerings.
- Find a mentor. Find leaders who you feel inspired by. No matter what goals you have, support is crucial. A teacher or a coach you see regularly can be a mentor. Likewise, a writer or influencer whose work you follow can be a mentor.
- Read something new. Read a new genre, set a goal for how many books you’d like to read per month/year, or commit to a new series, the Sunday newspaper, or a magazine.
- Create something! Express yourself creatively in a new way. Mediums to consider include painting, drawing, speech-writing, photography, writing, and knitting. How else do you like to create?!
- Participate in your community. Show up for your neighborhood, city, and the world. For example, you can volunteer, participate on committees, block walk for campaigns, or attend school board meetings.
- Find a new way to move your body. Do something that feels new and supportive to your body. Maybe you try a new dance or exercise class or morning walks.
- Connect with nature. Explore new ways of being in and with the natural world. Try camping, hiking, or picnicking in new spaces. How else can you bring nature into your life? Or your life into nature?
- Travel. Visit places near or far that you have never been. Take a day trip, a road trip, or a long-distance flight to see something you’ve never seen before.
- Eat new foods. Dine at new restaurants, explore new recipes, or study cuisines you are less familiar with. Enjoy new flavors and notice the ways different foods nourish you.
- Make new connections. Whatever you decide to try in 2019, know that you will have the opportunity to connect with many new people. Enjoy the process of learning about others (and yourself in the process).
I wish you all a happy reNEWing, and wonderful year ahead. This article is meant to support you, as a parent of caregiver, in growing and learning in the coming months. The bonus: each idea and tool can be shared with your children and teens. You and your family can take on new challenges together in 2019! If you are looking for support– or coaching is a new opportunity you’d like to try– I invite you to connect on a complimentary Discovery Call.