Fall, as we’ve all known since we were little, is the season of change and transitions. Students get new classmates in school. Leaves change color. Summer flip-flops are traded in for chocolate-brown boots. The weather gets cooler and crisper, which may mean less iced coffee and more hot soy lattes. Good-bye summer barbeques. Hello apple picking. Who’s ready for fall?
Seasons are not meant to be static, and neither are people. We are at our best when we are open to new ideas, flexible to life’s curves, and willing to get out of our own comfort zones. Here are ten ideas to shake up our usual routines all for the better.
1. Change your attitude about something you currently don’t like. So you can’t stand your know-it-all coworker. He’s not going to quit anytime soon, and neither are you. Rather than constantly bitching to your spouse about how your workmate drives you up the wall, try approaching his next one-sided rambles with some sympathy and understanding. Or that terrible traffic you have to endure every morning—maybe some good audiobooks will actually make you thankful that you’re stuck in the car for over forty minutes.
2. Change up the people you are surrounded by. It’s great to have your posse of close-knit friends. But it’s important to always have opportunities to meet new people, encounter new personalities (however difficult), and get intimidated as hell by people who are half your age and really kicking ass at life. So check out new community events, strike up conversations with strangers, ask a lot of questions, and continue to build new relationships among your social contacts.
3. Change your eating habits; try new recipes, new world cuisines, new ingredients, and new local supermarkets. Have your eating habits fallen into a predictable pattern of casseroles, hamburgers, and iceberg lettuce salads? My favorite way to change up my eating habits is to visit a health-food or produce store that I’ve never visited before; this has introduced me to new ingredients such as nutritional yeast, kale, rice paper, seitan, and more.
4. Change your usual interests and hobbies. Of course, this is why it’s so important to change up the people you’re surrounded by; meeting interesting people is one of the best ways to expose yourself to fields of interest you may have otherwise never encountered or thought of learning about. Another easy way to change up your usual interests and hobbies is to browse magazines at your local bookstore.
5. Change your style. No, you don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe to do this. It can be a matter of combining tops and bottoms in unusual ways, doing jewelry swaps with your girlfriends, or simply being a little more daring with your colors of eye shadow, lipstick, and nail polish.
6. Change your home environment. That painting you’ve been meaning to hang up for the last few months? Do it. And while you’re at it, unclutter your unwanted stuff and donate it to charity. Add a potted basil plant and some freshly cut gerberas, while you’re at it. Home environments need new energy, too.
7. Change what is stagnant about your work. Hate your job? In the wrong field? Quit. Love your job but getting bored? Challenge yourself, ask for bigger projects, change your attitude, do something. Just don’t do the same thing you’ve been doing for the last few months or years that’s been making you bored in the first place.
8. Change the usual routines you do with your loved one. Is it always pizza and movie night with your darling? How about taking a road trip along the coast? Or going on a grueling nature hike at five in the morning to catch the sunrise? Weekend trapeze classes? Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for letting it all hang loose in the name of love, but don’t forget to do the adventurous stuff that is best experienced with your favorite partner in crime.
9. Change your hang-outs. Oh, yes, we love it when we’ve become so familiar with that coffee and doughnut shop down the street that the owner knows our name and it’s even permanently engraved in a special chair by the window. But it won’t kill you to drive an extra mile beyond your normal radius to check out some new cafés, restaurants, supermarkets, bookstores, and other neighborhood hangouts and discover other hidden gems in your town.
10. Change something that has become easy for you. You used to be a couch potato, and now those five-mile runs are as easy as pie for you; add another mile. Getting bored with your yoga class? Step it up with a more advanced level. And that goal of writing in your journal every day that has become so second nature? Maybe it’s time to start submitting some of those writings to publications and become a published writer.
Variety is the spice of life, especially during this time of the year. Spice it up.
Originally published on Intent