Remember that old definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Well it’s 2010, and there is no time like the present to push the boundaries of your comfort zone by infusing some creative energy into your daily routine. No need to make lofty New Year’s resolutions just because it seems like the thing to do in January. I’m suggesting that you reflect back upon 2009 or further if necessary and examine your patterns.
Which of your patterns of thought and behavior have resulted in momentum and success and which patterns have knocked the wind out of you and left you feeling disillusioned and defeated? Then delve deeper and ask yourself a few more questions: “What could I accomplish if I were to focus in on the personal strengths I employed to score past achievements?” and “What are the possibilities if I were to engage these strengths in unconventional and creative ways?” For example, if you have been recognized by employers for the quality of your project management skills, what if you were to use these same skills to embark on a part-time entrepreneurial venture or volunteer at a non-profit and offer support to planning or development initiatives?
Here are a few ideas on how you can shake things up a bit and encourage a more creative view of life:
• Put on a smock and attend an art class or maybe grab your wooden spoon and join a cooking class.
• Stroll through aisles at the book store that you normally shy away from and select something new for your nightstand.
• Use a “buddy pass” and join a friend/co-worker for a work-out at their gym.
• Attend a self improvement or motivational workshop.
• “Get outta town!” Escape to the mountains or a beach for a long weekend…and leave your laptop at home.
• Buy a journal and start a “My Amazing Ideas Book”.
• Exercise your mind and grow! Sign up for a university course or certificate program.
• Dust off an old hobby or pursue a new pastime and add some fun to the daily schedule.
• Create a “Vision Board” and post pictures, cartoons, inspirational messages, action statements, etc. that reflect attainable goals.
• Join a new professional association, or reactivate a dormant membership, and attend a breakfast meeting, lunch-n-learn session or networking event.
• Invite a friend to lunch and encourage them to share what’s going on in their life.
• Seek out materials (books, audio programs, assessments, etc.) for exploration and development.
• Take a mid-week “mental health day” and tour a museum, attend a lecture, arrange some informational interviews.
Examine your comfort zone and challenge boundaries that may be contributing to outmoded, stale patterns in your life. Then commit to infusing some new stuff into the weekly routine. The key will be to reflect upon and assess the thought process, skills, energy, level of satisfaction, interests explored, etc. associated with each new activity. 2010 has arrived. What proactive steps can you take to make this your best year yet?