How to Be Spontaneous – In Baby Steps
Okay this is a topic I’m totally not qualified to write about. Typically I like to plan my spontaneity. I’m not ridiculous about it, I don’t need months, but a few weeks advance notice is good. Like most people, I have responsibilities that sometimes prevent me from being impulsive. But recently I learned what a lift in life being spontaneous can be.
What brought this change? For me it’s being an empty nester. When I don’t have to line up a baby sitter or have a calendar full of school programs or sporting events to attend, it makes life a whole lot simpler. And I’m really starting to like this new status of empty nesthood, though at first I hated it. But if life is a series of trade-offs, freedom is a great one.
So how can you be spontaneous if planning things down to the last detail is more your thing or you have young children that require your undivided attention? Here are a few ideas that might help, but this is really a practiced science that takes time and baby steps.
- Start small – Keep in mind that humans are creatures of habit, but when you break from this you can discover something new. For example, if you typically go to the same restaurant every Friday night, try a new one. Or if you need even smaller baby steps, try ordering something new off the same old menu. The worst that can happen is you don’t like it as much. That’s it.
- Try saying “Yes” instead of coming from a place of “No” – Of course, if you are that person who says yes to everything and volunteers whenever asked, and puts themselves last, try saying no from time to time. Basically, you want to break up routine and allow for new experiences.
- Do something that pushes your comfort zone – This doesn’t mean go sky diving or motorcycle racing, it just means don’t let barriers stop you. Say there’s a movie you want to see, but your friends are too busy, go alone. You will survive.
- Embrace mystery – When we frame the narrative of something new as an “adventure” or the outcome of an event as a “mystery” it takes some of the pressure off and lowers our expectations. Go to a museum. Perhaps you don’t “get” the artist or the art, but you’ll still feel good for setting and accomplishing a goal.
- Expect the best – In other words, assume everything will work out and give yourself permission not to worry.
For me, being spontaneous will be a work in process for the rest of my time on this planet, but it’s something that’s more fun than exercising or eating vegetables, so that’s one way to look at it. Good luck! If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments section.