What is something you’d like to do or try, but just haven’t?

Sometimes we’re afraid to try new things because they are new – and we automatically prefer the familiar. The unknown is scary because it’s unknown.

We don’t want to look foolish, or incompetent. We don’t want to look stupid or silly.

We don’t want to fail or disappoint someone else. We don’t want to disappoint ourselves.

Needing to change versus Wanting change

There’s also the constant need to keep up with changing things – technology, apps, products, rules, laws, and so on. Few things are really simple, and nothing seems to stay the same for very long. The world forces us to keep up with some things and that makes us even more reluctant to voluntarily change those things we don’t have to.

Human beings are, basically, creatures of habit. We might like to try something new sometimes, but for the most part people prefer to stick with what they know. You probably have a usual favorite drink, favorite appetizer, favorite meal, favorite restaurant, favorite songs, favorite shoes, favorite flavor, favorite lipstick color, favorite cologne… You get the picture.

Our natural reluctance to try anything different or new leads us to stick with our most habitual purchases. Are you a coffee drinker? Do you routinely purchase coffee at a particular shop or chain of stores, no matter how you might grumble and complain about the high prices there? You can make coffee at home, keep ready-made coffee in your refrigerator, buy your coffee somewhere else, you get the picture. With this example, you might even manage to break free and try something else for a little while… And then you fall back into the habit.

Think about that favorite restaurant of yours, whether you eat-in or take-out. How many items on the menu have you actually tried? Are you ever willing to give up what you know you like to take a chance and try something new? Doing that requires you to take a chance that you won’t like what you get and therefore give up something you’d definitely enjoy in exchange for that displeasure. That’s exactly what happened to me over the weekend. We ordered from our usual favorite Italian restaurant. I haven’t had gnocchi in a long time and decided to order it. It was awful – the expected pillowy pasta bites were like lead rocks. Just terrible. I was so upset I deviated from my favorite couple of items.

I’m telling you a couple of things you already know, when you think about it, and some things you may have never thought about at all.

It’s good to try new things.

If you never try something new, you’ll never find other things that might become favorites. You’ll never have new experiences to add to your memory banks, to laugh about, to think about. It’s good to challenge yourself in different ways. Experiment with new things. Give things a try just for the heck of it.

Find new reasons to be proud of yourself.

Accomplish something you never thought you would. Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll be great at it, or even good at it. You might be simply terrible at whatever it is – ballroom dancing, basket weaving, making something to hang on your front door, brewing homemade beer, making a cake from scratch, painting a still life, running a mile, training for a marathon (or half marathon), or any one of a million other things. The results don’t truly matter at all. What really matters is that you tried something new.

Dreams versus Realities

You’re not going to be able to try everything you’ve ever dreamed about. Physical restrictions and monetary limitations are just two things that might make it necessary for you to adapt your goals. After all, it’s truly unlikely you’re going an Olympic athlete if you haven’t been training intensively already. But that doesn’t mean you can’t explore some variation of whatever sport interests you, on a recreational level and take it from there.

You don’t have to challenge yourself in a huge way for you to make a difference in your own life. Read a book in a genre you don’t usually choose. Learn about something that’s always intrigued you, but you never explored. Volunteer for a cause you always thought was a good one. Teach yourself a new skill by first using YouTube.

Benefits and a Question

Trying, doing, and maybe even reconfiguring your comfort zone can make a huge difference in your life. If you’re curious about the science behind how it benefits your mood and your brain, let me know and I’ll share a bunch of them with you another week.

Meanwhile, what is something you might challenge yourself to do or to change? Email me and tell me, and you might just find yourself rewarded in my newsletter. You can reach me at

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