5 Ways to Make New Experiences a Little Easier

It’s easy to binge watch Netflix at home over a bowl of cereal. Sometimes it’s necessary. Other times it’s destructive. I recently had a friend tell me “There is a difference between being afraid you can’t do it and being afraid you won’t do it.” 

I believe there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who say YES too often and those who PASS too often. First off, let me be clear – neither extreme is healthy. Of course, there are the those that have found that healthy middle ground, but that population seems far too small so we’re going to call them a statistical anomaly and I’m not talking to you right now. 

I grew up around Yessers. My mother is the ultimate Yesser (most mothers are). Can you take care of the kids, grandkids, and grandma, while making food, working, making sure everyone gets everywhere on time and in one piece? “…YES!” It looked exhausting and I wanted no part of it. I often thought to myself “why don’t you just pass something off?”

If you can’t tell already, I am a self-professed Passer. I am the queen of well configured and often well-meaning excuses.

“Hey Meg, do you want to come hang out with new people?” Pass, it’s a Wednesday night and I have to work tomorrow.
“Meg, come on this great trip with us!” Pass, it’s too expensive and I’m saving money.
“I know you don’t have great hand-eye coordination, but we’d love to have you on our team!” HA! I’d look like an idiot. Hard Pass.

The problem is at some point people stop asking you to join in, and you start passing on experiences that could be good for you.

Passing is comfortable. It’s easy to binge watch Netflix at home over a bowl of cereal. Sometimes it’s necessary. Other times it’s destructive. I recently had a friend tell me “There is a difference between being afraid you can’t do it and being afraid you won’t do it.” 

Can’t is skill and knowledge – Do I have the know-how I needs to do this?
We often underestimate ourselves in these realms. Even if we aren’t experts, our foundation is usually good enough to build on. Won’t is hard work and resilience – Will I put in enough effort to make this work? Passers – You might not. Yessers may not either, but for different reasons (i.e. they’re too busy saying yes to everyone but themselves).

If you’re accustomed to passing on things that are hard, unfamiliar, or uncertain here are five ways to make your new experience a little easier:

Prepare yourself for what is uncomfortable
Physically and mentally prepare for what you are going to do. Imagine yourself in the midst of discomfort and tell yourself you can and will get through this. Maybe set a mantra for yourself before jumping in – “This is tough, but so are you.”

Is your new adventure going to be cold or rainy? Get the gear you need to set yourself up for success. Borrow or rent as much as you can. There is nothing worse than spending $$$ on a one time adventure and then having those expensive unused items shame stare at you from the corner of your closet.

Set a time minimum and stick to it
Give yourself a realistic time frame. If it’s a project, make sure you include a daily and weekly minimum. If it’s an activity, a minute or hour minimum will do. This allows you to give your new experience your all for a set period of time. Once you reach the minimum, see if you can continue challenging yourself by extending the initial time frame.

Find comfort where you can
This can be anything from wearing comfortable clothes, packing your favorite snack, playing your amp up song before you start, or bring a trusted friend with you. This way when you’re starting to question your own motives you can say, “At least I have this.”

Remove Ego
Your ego will tell you that your worth is tied to how well you do this new thing. Face your ego before you jump into your new experience. Remind yourself that regardless of what the outcome is – you are enough. Regardless of the outcome, you should be proud that you stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new.

Reward yourself
Congratulation! You did the damn thing and you deserve to treat yourself. Pour yourself a glass of wine, take a bath, watch Netflix in your PJs. Remember – don’t tie your reward to how well you think you did. The challenge for Passers is just getting up and doing something new. You are more likely to try that experience again if you reward yourself for your effort rather than punish yourself for the outcome.

Bonus
Write yourself a letter. Reflect on what did and didn’t work for you. Maybe you liked your new workout routine, but the traffic to the new studio was to stress-inducing – find a closer studio or leave earlier. Maybe you couldn’t reach your daily work time minimum because you were too hungry to focus after work – have healthy snacks on hand to get you through next time. If your ego reared its ugly head, put it back in its place. Use this letter to inspire your future self.

You did the damn thing – go do it again.

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