Photo by Harley-Davidson on Unsplash
New year, new me. Time to make some changes in our lives. Make healthier choices for our minds, bodies, and spirits. Set goals for our careers and our futures. Re-evaluate certain relationships in our lives. Get a haircut. I’m a therapist and a life coach, so when the new year rolls in, I hear about this shit from people all the time. In some ways, it’s great. It’s amazing to do some self-reflection at the end of the year and make changes in your life that are in line with bringing you peace and joy. And if it makes sense for you to do it at the beginning of the new year, I’m here for it. But sometimes, these goals and changes are just so serious. Where’s the fun?
That’s why at the start of 2019, my new years resolution was to have more fun. I was also going through a huge rebirth of my own after being single for the most significant amount of time that I ever have experienced since I was 20 years-old. In that year of singledom, I figured out that self-discovery came through new experiences, especially ones that took the shape of fun. And that’s why I made the conscious choice to do one new thing each month for a year.
It’s January 2020 now, and I can honestly say this resolution wasn’t always easy to keep. As Brené Brown said, “It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” But here’s some revelations I’ve found after doing one new thing each month.
We feel good through fun. Often times, there’s so much pressure to be doing what we feel is productive — everything from chores around the house, to getting our finances in order, to making moves toward promotions in our careers. We get so caught up in what we believe is productive that we forget fun helps us grow and to be more productive in the other areas of our lives. We feel good through fun, and when we feel good, we’re more motivated to make choices that are in our healthiest and best interests.
We need something to look forward to regularly Getting caught up in the usual BS of life is all too easy — wake up, go to work, go to the gym, eat dinner, watch Netflix, go to bed. Then on the weekends see friends or do things with family, get tired at 7PM, and go to bed by 10PM. Then Sunday comes and it’s “time to get ready for the week.” Sure we make plans to see our friends or do things with our kids, but there is something to be said about the excitement of planning something new to do. Whether it’s something you do alone, with friends, a partner, or with your family, we need something to look forward to in order to help us break up the mundane.
Self-discovery happens through new experiences A question I get asked often is, “How do I build my self-esteem? How do I connect with my true authentic self?” And a big part of my answer is having new experiences. It’s through these experiences that we learn what we like and what we don’t like, what excites us and what bores us, what resonates with us and what doesn’t. It’s a great way to learn more about you, whether you’re new to personal development or you’ve been doing it for years.
Honestly, we probably do this already anyway It’s true. Whether it’s trying a new restaurant, meeting a new friend, or going to a new place, there’s a good chance we are doing new things every month anyway. But what I learned through this experience is how much more exciting it makes day-to-day life when you consciously plan to do something new. To be aware and mindful of the fun things you’re doing with your life. It’s not to undermine the big things — like a vacation or meeting your goals, because surely those sorts of events are to be celebrated. But there’s something about realizing in the moment that you’re having a new experience on a Wednesday night in February during trivia night at this bar you’ve never been to, or realizing in the middle of pushing your child on the swing that you’ve never been to this park before that makes us feel like we’re truly living.
I’ve enjoyed my experience so much, I’m planning to do it again for 2020, and I invite you to join me. Not only am I going to do one new thing per month, but I’m also going to go on one new date with my partner each month — another thing we probably do anyway, but why not make something that’s already special even more so? If you’re single, I invite you to take yourself on one new date per month!
Whatever plans you have this year, I hope they include having fun. After all, it’s in fun that we feel inspired in every other facet of our lives.