I have been working lately to challenge myself in every aspect of life. I challenge my religious views by reading a variety of dissenting articles and differing opinions. I expose myself to opposing political views and force myself out of the comfort of my understanding of the world. I enjoy reading about other cultures and how they differ from mine and why they do the things they do. I appreciate the experience of stretching my boundaries and expanding my worldview. I feel it makes me a more complete person and the more I can open my mind to new information and views, the bigger advantage I have over those close-minded people we have talked of in past articles. One of the ways I recommend to force yourself out of your comfort zone and into experiencing something new and different is to take up a new, exciting hobby!
Many of us become so entrenched in our daily routines that the coffee shop knows what time you’ll arrive to purchase your vanilla latte, skim, tall. The grocery store knows you’ll be in on Tuesday at 6:30 to fill your pantry for the week. We watch the same shows, at the same time. We go to dinner at the same 3 restaurants. We listen to the same music we’ve heard for years. Routine, routine, routine! For me this works great as I have learned to utilize routine and structure to help me stay focused and aimed at my long-term goals. But, the downside of structure can lead to a mundane, boring, ordinary, familiar existence. And who wants to be boring and ordinary?? So to ensure our lives do not become plain while maintaining focus, I propose you institute a checks and balances system.
Many of our habits are attached to family and work routines and more than likely will continue to exist. So to mix things up a bit I recommend injecting your life with something new, different and bold; a hobby. And I’m not talking about needle point or crocheting, but something challenging and different. (Not that needle point isn’t a worthy hobby!) I want you to take time and make a list of hobbies that you have always thought would be fun or interesting. Maybe guitar lessons, photography, building model ships, woodworking, golf, reading for self-improvement, etc. Try to find something that will challenge you to grow and expand. The more you challenge yourself, the more effective your growth will be and the more you will appreciate the experience.
As I have stated in the past, you must work diligently to break that crust that forms around our lives and disallow your life to waste away in bill paying, carpooling, PTA meetings and the occasional vaca. We forget that everything we need to know in life we learned in kindergarten. One of those things kids do that adults forget? Exercise your imagination!! There is a unique, creative spirit in each of us; a spark. Unfortunately, many of us get lost and forget this part of ourselves. A hobby will allow you to reawaken this creative spark and thus open your world. After all, wouldn’t you rather experience seeing the sunrise from a beautiful mountain top than watching Good Morning America from your couch? Wouldn’t you rather experience a refreshing run on a beach as the sun sets? Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to converse with someone in a second language? How about being able to play the piano at a party? Stop watching life from the sidelines and GET IN THE GAME! Find your niche and jump in headfirst!
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Swimming, hiking, walking, running, cycling, golf, tennis, kayaking, sailing, yoga, weight training, tai chi, martial arts, archery, fencing, snorkeling, diving, skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, painting, drawing, photography, pottery, quilting, sewing, knitting, crochet, scrap booking, jewelry making, candle making, soap making, body scrub making, flower arranging, dressmaking.
Play guitar, piano/keyboard, the violin, trumpet, clarinet, French horn, etc.
Singing: learn to sing, join a choir, try karaoke!
Ballroom dance, Latin dance, salsa, swing dance, belly dancing, tap dance, ballet, jazz dance (the Mrs. of my house is a trained ballroom dancer!)
Cooking: (gourmet, ethnic, etc.) specialty cake making and/or decorating.
Home decor, feng shui, refinish furniture, upholstery.
A Green house is a great way to grow your passion, whether its prize winning chrysanthemums, tomatoes or whatever your heart desires. Grow an organic garden, plant grafting and growing, landscape design: This is a great way to use your creativity and create a beautiful garden.
Write a book, write poetry, start a blog!
Volunteering: This one can be the most rewarding, helping others!
If you feed your creative spirit you will be mesmerized at how other parts of your life begin to make sense and fall in line. Challenge yourself to grow and expand your experiences! I promise you will not regret doing so!
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Awaken your spirit and….Dream Big, Dream Often!