I’m not really a fan of New Year’s resolutions.
Why should we wait for a new year to start making changes that will benefit our lives?
Having said that, I did make what is essentially a resolution this year. I promised myself that 2020 is going to be the year of adventure.
Late last year, I realized that the one thing I needed to kick out of my life was fear. And the best way to do it and have fun at the same time seemed to be going on more adventures.
Death in the comfort zone
Random fact: before I was a fan of The Greatest Showman, I was a fan of Zoe Sugg. And before I got to see the movie, she shared her favorite quote from it.
“Comfort is the enemy of progress.”
Never thought of it that way before then.
And true enough, while we don’t seem to realize it, our comfort zones are slowly but surely killing us.
They make us feel all kinds of pleasant and snuggly things. But when we get too used to them, and too comfortable within their comfort, we find leaving them harder and harder. Which essentially prevents us from trying new things, growing as people, and enriching our lives.
Leaving our zones of comfort is the only way to become who we would like to be. And yes, it’s scary, and yes, it’s new and exciting, and it gets us all anxious and tied up inside. But there is no feeling like overcoming that initial fear.
Enter adventure as the theme for 2020.
Adventure and what it means to you
I keep saying adventure but don’t think that I am talking about some kind of backpacking through Southeast Asia on my own with no phone and a single pair of shoes on me.
Adventure does not have to be grand in scale, nor does it have to involve traveling. It can, of course.
I find that adventures can be anything and everything, something that scares us just that little bit, but something we desperately want to do.
For example, you can have an adventure by going out to dinner on your own.
Or joining a book club even though you are terrified of talking to strangers about books.
Of course, you can choose to travel further than you have before, or to a country where not everyone may speak your language.
You can have an adventure right in your home on any given night, by choosing to cook a meal you have never attempted before.
The bottom line is, you get to choose your own adventures.
Grab a pen and paper right now (I feel that writing things down is much better than typing them), and write down 5 adventurous things you want to do this year.
Here’s my list:
- Adopt a cat (which is something I wanted to do for years, but was always a bit scared of having someone depend on me that much).
- Make my own turkey for Christmas (because I am not the best cook in the world).
- Go paddleboarding in San Diego (because I am afraid of the water, and I am also afraid of flying just a bit).
- Run the half-marathon (again, something that I wanted to do for years, and after running 10k last year, I feel this is within reach).
- Go to the movies alone (self-explanatory, never done that before).
Now that we have our list, let’s explore how to get the things on it done.
How to embrace adventure and let go of fear
Admittedly, this will be the tricky part.
Start by practicing a different mindset: yes, it may be scary and new, but you can change your perspective of it. Start thinking more positive and more encouraging thoughts, and stop focusing on the negative of it.
Build yourself a safety network if you need one, no matter what it is you are attempting to do. Having a friend, a sibling, or a parent in on the adventure, even if they are not there in person but cheering you on from a distance, can make a lot of difference.
Accept that it will be hard and most likely unpleasant – but that it’s fine and as it should be. We all need to get accustomed to feeling a bit more unpleasant in life because life will never let us only live through the good stuff. Learning how to best deal with the discomfort, and different levels of it is an excellent way to live better.
Finally – a word of wisdom
When you set off on your adventure, make sure you do so with an open heart and mind. Whatever you do, don’t give yourself a hard time if it’s not all you hoped it would be, or if you get scared and give up, or if you are not as happy about it as you think you ought to be.
One of the biggest lessons we can learn in our lifetime is to let things go: to stop pulling ourselves down when we don’t do something we think we should have.
Life is about the unexpected, and the sudden and the new and the bold, but also about the discomfort and the stumbles we all make. Knowing how to embrace both is the balance we should be striving for.