A large part of what we do every day is determined by habit, and by what we feel comfortable with. It might be a nice box we’re living in, but most of us are inside a box all the same.
What can you do now, today, to widen that box just a little? You can do these five things that challenge you to step slightly outside your comfort zone.
1. Change your route
For most of us, we’ve figured out the fastest way to get from Point A to Point B. But what happens when we make one tiny change to that route? It may be as simple as just walking on the other side of the street on your way to the skytrain, or going one block to the left instead of the right on your way to the grocery store, but try it. Keep your eyes open. You’ll likely notice different flowers blooming, you’ll look at your neighbourhood from a slightly different angle, and you may even come into contact with different people.
2. Smile at a stranger
This will be easy if you took a different route today. Those people you’re passing on the sidewalk probably take the same path every day too. Smile at someone you don’t know. Particularly if you live in the city, you will have plenty of choices. You might surprise yourself with how good it feels, and smile at more than one stranger. That’s okay too. It’s nice for people to get smiled at, and you never know when that stranger might just be a friend you haven’t met yet.
3. Eat something different
Most of us get into patterns and habits with the foods we eat, when we eat them, and how they are prepared. As you go about your day today, try just one thing that is different or new. If you always order the same salad at your usual lunch spot, order a different one. Always go to the same restaurant? Go one block further away and try something new. Making dinner? Even just cutting the vegetables a different way will make you think about what you’re preparing differently, and it will look different on the plate and feel different in your mouth as you eat it.
4. Call someone you haven’t talked to in too long
Whether it’s on your lunch break or once you’re home and settled in this evening, phone someone you haven’t talked to in too long (we all have those) and if possible, pick someone you’ve been avoiding calling because you’re uncomfortable about how long you’ve left it since your last conversation. You’ll feel doubly better for having taken that step, and get the added bonus of reconnecting with that person. Even if they’re not home, leave a message. Then you’ve still taken the step of reaching out.
5. Do something nice for someone
Ideally, do it anonymously and just for the sake of making someone’s day better. You’ll feel good about it, their day will get a boost, and who knows how many ways that will ripple out across the day. It can be as simple as giving someone a sincere compliment, sending flowers to someone special (not because it’s their birthday or mother’s day, just because they’re special), or even just leaving an orange or a chocolate on someone’s empty desk on your way past. Little things can make a big difference.
How’d that go? Tell us about your day outside your comfort zone.
These are all small changes, and none of them needs to cost you a penny. But if you give them a try, you might just find your day is a little more awesome than usual.
Tell us all about how your “outside the box” day went in the comments section below.