“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” ~ Henry Ford
Let’s be honest.
Being fit and well takes work. It doesn’t just happen. It takes time and thought to provide your mind and body with the exercise and nutrition it needs to thrive. Every day you make conscious choices that move you towards healthy or unhealthy.
In all those healthy choices, sometimes we get stuck doing the same old thing, day in and day out. This can sap our motivation to keep showing up at the gym or continue to eat steamed vegetables for dinner. every. day.
Don’t misunderstand – structure and routine is important in our daily lives and keeps us on track to do great things. When we don’t have to think about every little decision in our life, it frees up extra energy to do fun stuff.
However, when we stop taking time to do the fun stuff, life feels stale, we become complacent and we begin to feel bored or burned out.
It’s good to balance a life of structure with a bit of adventure.
Living a life of “adventure” doesn’t mean you need to sell your house, quit your job, and travel the world. It’s more about the spirit with which you approach your routines: Are you willing to try new things? Can you embrace the unexpected? Are you open to simple joys in your life?
Try new foods.
- Give your palette a little surprise and switch up the chicken and broccoli for something different. Try a new type of cuisine (Ethiopian anyone?) or food you don’t normally encounter. Check out this article from Equinox about exotic summer fruits to try.
- If you live in an area with choices, consider trying a different place to shop for groceries. You never know what you may find in the Asian grocery store down the road. Shrimp crackers, green kit-kats and a roll of haw flakes? Why not?
- If you live somewhere more remote, it doesn’t mean you can’t experience something new. Visit Amazon.com and type “Indian foods” in the search bar (or pick a different culture that’s new to you). You’ll find all kinds of new foodstuffs, cookbooks, sweet and snacks with which to astonish your taste buds.
Explore new ways to exercise.
- Instead of heading to the gym to spend 45 mindless minutes on the elliptical machine or treadmill, go outside! Research nearby parks and hiking trails and visit a new one each week for an explorative walk or jog. Who knows what you will find.
- Infuse some exercise fun into your weekends as well. Right now, sit down and list a dozen or so sports or physical activities you’ve always wanted to try or reconnect with. Each weekend pick one to try: paddle boarding, yoga (or two for one – yoga on a paddle board!), Muay Thai, the list goes on . . .
- and it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Ever play wiffle ball in the backyard as a kid? For the price of a bat and ball ($4?) you can re-experience a piece of your childhood this weekend. Share the adventure and challenge your kids or your parents to a game.
Connect with others.
- One night a week, instead of getting home from work and sitting on the couch to watch the latest tv hit wonder show, make plans to meet up with a friend you don’t see often (or only connect with online or through texts). Keep it simple and have them meet you at one of the new parks you researched and go for a walk together.
- As you are trying out different places, sports and modes of exercise, introduce yourself to someone you’ve never met before. Who knows, maybe the person in down dog next to you is the author of the latest New York Times bestseller. That would be a fun surprise!
- Spend time with other adventurous-minded folks. We all have a different definition of what we consider to be “adventurous”. For some it’s moving to a foreign country where they don’t speak the language, for others it’s simply eating eggs for breakfast instead of cereal. Neither one is wrong – adventure is what thrills us – regardless of what that may be. Find your tribe and connect with like minds for more ideas on keeping life interesting.
Change up your brain: learn new skills.
In addition to spicing up your routine, engaging in activities that are mentally unfamiliar or challenging to your brain are shown to improve recall and memory. They also boost confidence and self-esteem (important for mental health).
- Always wanted to be able to pick up an instrument and play? Now’s the time to learn. Google beginner guitar lesson (or trumpet or cello – whatever strikes your fancy) and learn some basics online to see if it interests you.
- Feel like there may be an artist or author lurking somewhere inside? Take some art lessons or join a writers group and find out.
- Always wanted to learn a foreign language? Get a beginner audio course at the library or download an app like duolingo and start now. Five minutes a day is all it takes.
Mix it up at work too.
- Instead of driving on “auto-pilot”, take a different route to work today.
- Even better – walk or bike to work – exercise AND commute? Awesome!
- Does the girl behind the counter at Chik-Fil-A know your face and your order? Pick a different spot this week. Extra bonus: pack a healthy lunch and eat outside for a vitamin D boost if the sun is out!
Thinking about living a life of adventure can evoke images of travel to exotic locations with minimal possessions and something new and breathtaking around every corner. The truth is, the key to living a life of adventure is a willingness to open yourself to new experiences. These don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Simple joys and a sense of newness can be found in your own backyard.
Save a little time each day to stray off the beaten path and embrace new adventures.