Why You Need to Start Something New in Life Every Now and Then, And Tips on How to Do It (Plus Free Inspirational Quote Cards for Download)
A new hobby. A new routine. Or a new job in a new city. When you start something new—however insignificant or ginormous it may seem—you’re lighting a spark that could set off brilliant fireworks in your life.
A few years ago, I said yes to something I never imagined I would embrace in my life—dodgeball. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically running around in a frenzy while trying to dodge balls flying at you at break-neck speed.
Well, at least that’s how I play anyway. Did I mention I have not a single athletic cell in my body?
I never could have imagined trying my hand at a new sport would change my life. But it did, and in so many ways.
I made new friends and strengthened existing friendships. I became stronger, both physically and mentally. And I felt, for the first time after my recovery from cancer, that I finally got my life back.
Dodgeball—this seemingly trivial new thing that I welcomed into my life ended up triggering a series of changes that made me who I am today—a happier and healthier person.
It opened my eyes to the powers of embracing new things, so much so that I made a commitment to myself that I would look for opportunities to start something new in my life, every year—no matter how small.
And I want you to consider taking up this challenge too.
This is What Happens When You Start Something New
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Did you know that new experiences are good for the brain? According to Michael Merzenich, PhD, the author of “Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life”, any time you learn something new, you’re reshaping and rejuvenating your brain.
Now, if improving your brain is not enough to convince you to try new things, here are a few more reasons for you to consider.
When you start something new:
- You become more confident. When you encounter success outside of your comfort zone, your confidence grows as you realize you have more potential than you initially thought.
- You become more curious. Curiosity is like a muscle—the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. As you explore new ideas and learn new skills, your curiosity will soar and make you crave for more new experiences.
- You become more creative. It’s hard to be creative when you’re always doing the same thing over and over. New experiences will open up new paths in your brain that will allow you to see things from another perspective. You’ll be able to come up with more creative solutions to a problem and do so with more ease.
- Your focus improves. Ever notice how your mind wanders when you do something familiar, but practicing a new skill can grab your full attention, sometimes for hours? Starting something new is a great way to sharpen your focus and stimulate your mind.
- Your social circle expands. When you start something new, you get a chance to meet other like-minded people who share your interests and forge new friendships. And we know, from many studies around the world, that having meaningful friendships is crucial to lasting happiness and longevity.
Hey, I get it—starting something new can be daunting. If you find that you have to convince yourself to try new things or you struggle with taking that first step, here are a few simple tips to help set you in the right direction.
But before we go into these tips, I want to give you a chance to grab these inspirational quote cards I made specifically for this post. The set contains 12 inspirational quotes to help motivate you to start something new in life. It’s perfect as an office/home decoration, or you can use each individual card as a social media post. Download the set for free now!
6 Tips on How to Start Something New in Life
1. Make Starting Something New a Personal Goal
If you’re willing to make starting something new a goal and a priority, you’re more likely to carry through with it and do it more often.
So make it a personal goal to start something new at least once or twice a year. Solidify the goal by coming up with concrete action plans and timelines, and commit to following through with what you planned.
And if you keep falling behind because “you can’t find the time”, ask yourself if embracing new experiences truly important to you. If it really is that important to you, you’ll make the time.
2. Recognize What’s Holding You Back
If you want to embrace new things in life but have a tough time doing so, you need to ask yourself this question:
What’s holding me back from experiencing new things in my life?
Is it because you’re afraid of looking foolish? Is it because you think there’s always tomorrow? Or is it because you can’t drum up to motivation to actually begin?
When you have a deeper understanding of what’s holding you back, you’ll have a better chance of overcoming the obstacle.
3. Be Willing to Accept Failure
The key to starting something new and sticking with it is that you have to be willing to accept failure along the way.
You have to ditch the notion that you can get it right on the first try. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but odds are you’re going to fall down at least a few times before you can even get close to what looks remotely like success.
If the thought of failing freaks you out, don’t worry. Hey, I used to be the same way.
Starting something new, no matter how small, used to make my stomach churn with anxiety. I was always afraid that I’ll fail miserably. In my first year of high school, I got my first taste of insomnia because I was getting a C in math. I couldn’t sleep for months until my grade improved. That was how much I dreaded failing.
How did I overcome this fear?
By developing a growth mindset—the belief that one can develop and improve their skills over time. Instead of saying “I can’t do this” in the face of obstacles, I would tell myself “I can’t do this YET, but I will be able to with practice.”
Let’s try an exercise:
Think of the last time you made a “can’t do” statement in your daily life. Now try turning that into a “growth” statement following the example I just gave you.
How does it make you feel?
If you want to learn more about Dr. Carol Dweck’s fascinating research into the growth mindset and how to use it to improve your life, read her best-selling book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”.
4. Just Do It
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth… not going all the way, and not starting.” –Buddha
I’m way too busy right now, I’ll do it when things calm down a little.
I’m exhausted, I’ll do it when I have more energy.
I’m not in a good mental space right now, I’ll do it when I’m feeling better.
Any of these sound familiar?
If you wait for the right moment to start something new in your life, chances are you’ll miss many great opportunities to take that first step, and even worse—never start at all.
You don’t need to figure out everything before you begin. Things will fall into place, you’ll see. Don’t let the small details paralyze you into inaction. If you don’t take that first step now, you’re going to regret it. And that’s not me saying this, it’s what research shows.
So just DO it. It’s not easy, I know, but it’s simple. Don’t think about all the “what if’s”, analyze the pros and cons, or wait for the stars to align.
5. Go at Your Own Pace
When I first started blogging, all I could think about was why I wasn’t getting as many readers as other bloggers who launched their blogs around the same time as I did.
Every evening, as I checked my blog stats for the 100th time of that day, I would feel a mixture of anxiety and self-doubt brewing inside of me. It made me want to bury my face in a pillow and admit defeat.
Then I started asking myself: why am I doing this in the first place?
So I can make a load of money from blogging? No!
So I can feel self-worth from amassing a huge following? No!
I started blogging because I wanted to write. I wanted to create. And I wanted to give something of value to the world.
I had gotten so wrapped up in the comparison game that I almost forgot why I started this new hobby in the first place. I was so focused on catching up to other people that I stopped having fun. And when you stop having fun, you stop enjoying the journey. Soon, you’ll forget why you even began the whole thing.
Luckily, I caught myself before I got to that point. I stopped monitoring my blog stats like a hawk, re-focused my attention on producing quality content, and immersed myself in learning new things related to blogging. And now I’m here, almost 18 months into this new hobby, and still loving it!
What’s the takeaway from my blogging journey? When you start something new, go at your own pace. Don’t focus on how fast others are going beside you and wonder if you’re cut out for the journey. If you’re learning new things and having fun, your life will be so much brighter even if in the end, the result doesn’t resemble a typical success.
Who needs typical anyways, right?
6. Celebrate Small Wins
Last but not least, remember to celebrate every small win along the way. Give yourself a high-five for having the courage to start something new. Praise yourself for having the discipline to continue when you could have easily fallen back to your old routine. And give yourself a pat on the back for every moment that you’ve pushed yourself out of your comfort zone, because it’s always tempting to just stay there.
But you didn’t. You started something new.
What are you looking forward to starting this new year? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
Oh and before you go, remember to grab a copy of the inspirational quote cards!