Humans are creatures of habit.
We love to establish a routine and stick with it. Then we often put ourselves on auto-pilot.
Routines can be incredibly useful in helping you get things done. However, too much of a routine can also make you incredibly boring.
Nevertheless, many people live lives that are boringly predicatable, or live a life where everything is outlined or planned.
Well guess what?
Life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it. You must be able to go with the flow regardless of whether you have a plan or not.
My life is not even close to what I thought it would be like a year ago. How could I have known what was going to happen? How can you?
But it’s scary to let go of your plans because then you are inviting all kinds of uncertainty into your life.
In fact, fear is the root of most spontaneity problems. By conquering those fears, you can become less dependent on your plans and live a far more interesting life.
Create An Environment That Fosters Spontaneity
1. Ask Your Friends if You’re Too Predictable
Ask your friends if you are too predictable. It might be awkward to ask, but listen to them closely for the answer. The people who know you well are in a better position to give you this information, and they might see some areas where you can improve that you might not consider yourself.
2. Let go of limiting beliefs.
During your life, you have picked up beliefs that may hold you back. If you think it is “weird” to talk to a stranger, or that you’ll mess up if you try to do something differently, you have a limiting belief. Find these beliefs and then remove them.
3. Look at the world through a child’s eyes.
Children are endlessly curious, and you should be too. You may have much more in the way of experience than a 5-year-old child, but there is still a lot of stuff that you don’t know too. The only way to develop new insights is by trying new things regularly, much like a child who thrusts himself into the unknown.
4. Reduce time-wasters.
Things like TV and mindless Internet surfing eat up huge chunks of your time. They give you an excuse to be lazy instead of spontaneous. When you don’t rely on these crutches, it becomes much easier to act more carefree.
5. Stop waiting for the perfect time.
Stop waiting for the perfect time for spontanaeity to take hold. If there is something that you want to do, the best time to do it is now. For example, if it’s raining and you want to dance, don’t let the presence of other people stop you. The rain may have stopped by then!
Start Acting Spontaneously Now!
Becoming a spontaneous person is not easy, especially if you’ve been conditioned to be a boring person for many years. But you can change if that’s your wish.This section contains a progressive set of exercises to gradually turn you into a more spontaneous individual. If you can follow through on these steps consistently, you can add more joy and interest to your life.
1. Get up and dance. Right now.
I know it’s silly, but get up and dance. In fact, do it right now. As it takes some practice to become more spontaneous, now is a good time to begin. So, play some tunes and get up and boogie down! What’s the worst that can happen?
2. Add a “twist” to normal activities.
Normally, I do my writing while sitting on my couch. But, every once in a while, I like to spice things up and go to a local cafe. Maybe you go for a morning jog along the same route every day. Tomorrow, try taking a detour instead of continuing straight ahead. You may be surprised by what happens.
3. Go explore a new location.
You probably don’t have to go too far from where you live currently to find a street you’ve never walked, a town you haven’t explored, or a trail you haven’t hiked. Check out a new place and see what you have been missing.
4. Use randomness.
When I find myself in a situation where I can’t make up my mind, I randomly decide. For instance, I used to sit and debate with myself about which of three movies I wanted to watch. Now I just use a random number generator and arrive at a satisfactory answer within seconds. Flipping a coin or using a random number generator is very easy and it gets you in the habit of coming to a decision much more quickly.
5. Try a new hobby, activity, class, etc.
Choose an activity that has always interested you but you haven’t tried and another pursuit that has never interested you. Locate classes that are being offered on each of your two choices and sign up for them. Enjoying activites that you like as well as pursuing hobbies you wouldn’t expect to like makes life just that much more exciting.
6. Say “yes” more often.
If your friend invites you to a party that you normally wouldn’t attend, make yourself go. Start taking advantage of the social possibilities that are placed before you. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll also become more spontaneous as well.
7. Do something without thinking.
If you get a random (non-destructive) impulse, act on it fast. Don’t think about it too long. Otherwise, you’ll second guess yourself. Commit yourself to the activity even if you are hesitating. Got an urge to break out into song? After you reflexively dismiss the urge, commit to singing the lyrics and follow through on it!
8. Talk to strangers.
Does somebody look interesting to you? Go up to them and start a conversation. I know this can be extremely difficult. Nevertheless, go ahead and take a step in their direction. It’s not as “scary” as introducing yourself or initiating a conversation, but it does help build the momentum. In fact, I often start talking to someone who interests me once I take that first step.
9. Do things that scare you.
Being spontaneous involves regularly stepping out of your comfort zone. So, act and move ahead in spite of your fears. I used to be afraid of heights, but one of my friends and I decided to buy a Groupon to go skydiving. Guess what? I faced my fear and it melted away after I made that leap.
Becoming more spontaneous doesn’t mean putting an end to long-term thinking or planning. Ideally, you should be able to create a plan, execute it, and then deviate from it whenever you wish. Planning is not the enemy. Instead, the culprit is fear. So, begin living a life where fear does not hold you back. You’ll soon get into the habit of becoming more spontaneous.Featured photo credit: businessman unhappy at his desk thing are not going well today via Shutterstock