Most of us are tied down to something. Work, bills, spouse, kids, mortgage, business, debt. There’s always something that keeps us from breaking free and doing just what we want to, whenever we want to. As the French say, “C’est la vie.” That’s just life, and there’s nothing much we can do about it if we want to remain as responsible adults.
However, that’s not the end of the world. Always remember that what you’re doing now is only temporary, until you figure out how to follow your passion and get paid for it at the same time. Until then, there’s no reason why life has to be a bleak and dull place.
You should be as happy as you can possibly be, and one way to do so is to be more spontaneous. If you stop planning and actually start living, you’ll find that life is so much more interesting than it was, and trust me when I say that you’ll find it hard to go back.
I, for one, had a stable job, was earning decent money, had a great team, and was told that I had a bright future ahead of me. However, the grueling process of living the same life day after day after day had me itching to get up and run in the opposite direction. As happy as I was at my job, I realized that there had to be more to life than that.
After much thought and plenty of support, I woke up one morning and decided that that fateful day would be the day I quit, and I did. Two years on, I’m now a freelance writer who has the finances and, more importantly, the time to travel and finally live a life that I was working so hard to achieve.
My tale may be somewhat extreme for many of you to swallow, but the moral of the story is that if you take risks and make up your mind to do something spontaneous, you will program your mind and heart to do whatever it takes to succeed. No matter how big or small your goal is, you can get there if you go for it.
How to live a more spontaneous life
Becoming a more spontaneous person is certainly not an easy feat, so here are 18 simple things that you can do to live a more spontaneous life. Hopefully, these steps will encourage you to do something more when you’re finally ready to.
#1 Shake up your routine. It doesn’t have to be something drastic like yelling at your boss or picking up the dry cleaning in your undies. You could start with something simple, like going somewhere else for your morning coffee or taking a new route home from work.
When you do something different, you open your eyes and mind up to new possibilities. You’ll then feel more inclined and less afraid to try new things. Plus, not knowing what’s around the corner is an exciting feeling, isn’t it?
#2 Do something new every day. Whether it’s placing a different order when you’re out on your daily coffee run or putting on that shirt that you never had any confidence to wear, you need to break out of your comfort zone. There’s no need to plan for it, just go with the flow. When the opportunity presents itself, don’t hesitate and just do it.
#3 Ask that hottie out. Another way to be more spontaneous in life is to not be afraid of getting rejected. A good example is asking your crush out. The reason you haven’t done it yet is because you’re afraid of getting rejected, right? The next time you’re able to, ask that hottie out without worrying too much about the consequences.
People love it when they’re the object of someone else’s desire and you can be sure that your crush will be flattered that you had the courage to ask them out. Even if you get rejected, so what? At least you get to build a bond with your crush, and possibly even a friendship. That will leave you plenty of room to try again. Remember that if you never try, you’ll never know. [Read: How to ask a guy out like a classy girl]
#4 Reconnect with old friends. Whether it’s your old college dorm mate or coworker from your first job, there’s nothing wrong with rekindling neglected relationships. You’ll be surprised at just how meaningful a meet up with an old friend can be.
The nice thing about hanging out with people whom you haven’t seen in a while is that you never know where it could lead to and what you’ll talk about. Everything will seem fresh and new, a far cry from the same old tales you discuss with those whom you see on a regular basis.
#5 Connect with those around you. You’ll be surprised at just how interesting the people around you are. Instead of meeting up with your regular group of friends or heading home for a night of TiVo, invite your coworker, neighbor, study group member or anyone else whom you see on a regular basis *but do not have a friendship with* out for a drink.
You have to admit that it’s a little unorthodox, but that’s where the fun is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting to know the “background” people in your life. [Read: 10 motivational tips and tricks for shy people and introverts]
#6 Do what you want. Afraid of consuming that delicious croissant, because you’re on a diet? Don’t want to take an extra day of vacation leave, because you’re afraid your coworkers will look at you as a lazy team member? Embarrassed to wear pink, because you don’t want your friends to think you’re not manly?
Forget the rules, and just do whatever makes you happy. Life is for living, so live it loud and proud. Just be sure you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else in the process.
#7 Jump on a plane. Traveling is one of the best ways to feed the heart and soul. The more time you spend seeing what the world has to offer, the more likely you’ll feel that routine just isn’t right for you. The people you will meet, food you will taste, smells you will encounter, and sights you will see will certainly give you a renewed sense of wonderment. That sense of adventure will be sure to lend a hand in your overall spontaneity. [Read: 8 tips to have a great time when you travel as a couple]
#8 Start saying yes. Whether it’s an invite to a party where you know no one but the host, an invite to have drinks with coworkers whom you’re not very close with, or even something as random as saying yes to helping your neighbor move some boxes, just start saying yes.
It’ll open you up to new experiences, new people, and situations out of your comfort zone. Even if it’s a one-time thing, you’ll always fondly look back on the experience and remember it as something exciting that’s out of the norm, and you’ll feel more inclined to do it again. It sure beats repetition, doesn’t it?
#9 Stop doubting yourself. The more you feel like you can’t do things, the more likely you won’t. When you psych yourself out to try something new that you’re not comfortable with, the more likely you’ll break out of your boring routine. Spice up your life by telling yourself that you can do it, and you will.
#10 Work remotely. The less time you spend at the office behind a desk, the more productive you’ll be. It could be working from home, working from a café or working at a park. Just take yourself out of that dull office environment every so often, and see how much good it’ll do for your mind and your work.
I know that it’s impossible to convince your boss to let you start working from home, so how about asking for a couple of hours off on a not so busy day to work from a café around the corner? Propose this idea to your boss, and see what happens next. You may be surprised at how much inspiration you can get by taking yourself out of an environment that you’re so used to.
In my last job, we had a manager who took his entire team out to a nearby café for a few hours every week. The change in environment got their creative juices flowing, and he swears that they get more done in a few hours at that café than days spent at the office.
#11 Be inspired. When you have someone to look up to, there’s a better chance that you’ll pursue things that you never thought you would. The simple idea that you can do what others can do is one of the biggest motivational forces out there. Pick an idol and fashion your outlook on life according to how they do it. It could be a world leader, a positive friend or the head of your volunteer association.
No matter whom you decide to look up to, be sure to stick to your inspirations and continuously tell yourself that anything’s possible when you set your mind to it. You will then feel more inclined to tackle spontaneity head on without worrying too much about failing.
#12 Speak to a stranger. More often than not, we tend to retreat into our shells when we’re in unfamiliar territory and faced with unfamiliar faces. Whether you’re at a conference, on a plane, or in line at the DMV, don’t hesitate to speak to a stranger. You’ll be surprised at the tales some people have to tell. [Read: 12 quick tips to add more people to your social circle]
#13 Make yourself smile. Be sure to instinctively make yourself happy. Do something that’ll make you smile on a daily basis. Whether it’s treating yourself to that mango sorbet you’ve been craving all week or finally buying that plane ticket out of town, treat yourself without thinking too much about it.
#14 Turn off your gadgets. When you don’t have any distractions in the way, you will be more willing to get up and get something done. For example, head over to the park, and turn off your phone.
You’ll find that without Facebook and Twitter to distract you, you have the freedom to actually absorb your surroundings. You’ll notice things that you never did before, like how wrinkled the bark of that pine tree is or how many squirrels there are running around. You may even strike up a conversation with your bench mate and make a new friend. [Read: 8 annoying social media users that make you want to scream]
#15 Have open days. Don’t plan for anything, and just see where the day takes you. The same can be said the next time you’re on vacation. Instead of cramming your day with touristy sights, leave a day or two completely blank to just explore what’s around you. Travelers near and far have said that it’s times like these that allow them to make the best memories, not standing in line at yet another museum.
#16 Eat something new. You can either break up your routine by heading to a new restaurant in town or making reservations somewhere totally exotic. Ever tried Malaysian food? Know what Peruvian cuisine even is? Whether it’s experimenting with a new recipe or heading out to a new restaurant, surprise yourself by eating and drinking something new.
#17 Get your partner on board. Whether it’s your spouse, sibling, best friend or colleague, get someone you love to change their lives for the better, too. It takes two to tango, not to mention it makes being spontaneous way more fun.
You won’t be too embarrassed to make a fool of yourself if there’s someone right next to you doing the same thing. Traveling, trying new things, and just being a well-rounded person will be way easier with a buddy.
#18 Get rid of boring stuff. Pastimes like shopping, watching television and surfing the internet are downright time wasters and shouldn’t even be classified as hobbies. Be sure to rid yourself of valueless activities, and indulge in stuff that will teach you something new.
Add value to your life by joining a book club, learning to surf, learning to dance, and so on. When you don’t have silly distractions like a television show to worry about, you give yourself more time to do things that you never thought you’d do.
Your life is meant to be lived, and not wasted doing things that bring you no joy. Despite your responsibilities, there’s no reason why you can’t inject some spontaneous fun into your life to make it that much more worthwhile. Always remember the wise words of the French writer à‰mile Zola, “If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”
[Read: 12 insightful lessons to help you have a better life]
Everyone has the potential to become more spontaneous. Break free from your routine and try something new. In a few decades, you’ll be really glad you did.
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