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How to Live Mini-Adventures on a Small Budget

How to Live Mini-Adventures on a Small Budget
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    Believe it or not, having life adventures is not in the exclusive realm of eccentric billionaires and jet-setting entrepreneurs. Life adventures don’t even require a lot of time, so you don’t need to quit your job or cash in sick days. Having adventures is more about attitude and a skill than resources.

    What is an Adventure?

    Adventures don’t have to be African safari’s, base jumping or flying around the world. The best way to have more fun in life is to reframe what you feel an adventure is. My definition would be something enjoyable, unique and a departure from your routine.

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    With a simple definition like that, you can start having mini-adventures. They may not amazing tales you can tell over a campfire later, but they can make life a lot more interesting. Better yet it won’t break your bank (or your neck!) to go on them.

    Adventures are About Randomness

    The core of any adventure is that it is unexpected. Injecting randomness to your daily life is an easy way to start making it more interesting. This means doing things you wouldn’t normally do. Meeting people you would otherwise ignore. Saying yes to unknown opportunities.

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    Here are some tips to get you started in having mini-adventures:

    1. Turn Off Expectations – Your routine is easy to calculate. It is familiar. Adventures are fun precisely because they are impossible to calculate and anything but familiar. If you start trying new things without looking for results you can have more fun.
    2. Force Yourself to Try New Things – You aren’t designed to seek novelty. Fear of the unknown is usually a much stronger drive than curiosity. Suppress those fears and drag yourself to try new things. It won’t be easy, but once you cross the first threshold you may discover something you love.
    3. Sign Up For Organizations – Organizations are an easy way to try something new. They are easy to seek out, offer new experiences and are usually filled with other uncertain people who can reassure you. Toastmasters, cooking classes, dancing, martial arts and workshops can all offer you a quick way to try something new.
    4. Develop an Interest in People – I haven’t seen scientific research on this, but it seems to me that extroverts have more adventures than introverts. My guess would be that extroverts naturally meet more people and develop an interest in them. A side-effect of meeting new people is you get exposed to new opportunities.
    5. Keep a Failure Log – Keep a record of your worst failures and humilations. If you aren’t adding at least one or two a month, you simply aren’t trying hard enough. Lower your expectations to the point where you intend to feel stupid.
    6. To-Try Lists – I’m a fan of lists. To-do lists can keep your tasks organized. Why not keep a to-try list to store fun activities? You can use it to keep track of any interests that pop up but you currently don’t have time to explore.
    7. Make Time – Living life requires time. If you are currently feeling overwhelmed by tasks, having adventures may seem frivolous. I suggest reading The 4-Hour Workweek if you are interested in finding ways to steal more time to have adventures.
    8. Say Yes – There are many reasons to say no. But occasionally you need to say yes. You need to say yes to things that, at first, appear to have little value. Don’t commit your whole life, just offer to try something out.
    9. Unknowledge is More Important – Nassim Nicholas Taleb makes the case in The Black Swan that what we don’t know plays a much bigger role in our lives than what we do. This means we tend to poor at judging events in the future and retroactively explain unusual events. All the more reason to expose yourself to new adventures. Be random, because you probably aren’t good at predicting which will turn out good anyhow.
    10. Courage is Mastery, Not Absence, of Fear – Fear is what keeps you back, not a lack of time or money. It’s fear that you will look like a fool, fail miserably or waste your time. The fear intensifies as you approach a decision. Courage is your ability to decide in spite of worry, not in absence of it.
    11. Plan Ahead – Adventures require work. Although a rare percentage of people can spontaneously have an adventure, they aren’t most of us. You are probably like myself, bound by a routine that needs structure to break out of. You can’t simply leave your job and try something new for a day on a whim. So plan ahead and schedule it in.

    Start a New Challenge Today

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    It doesn’t take a lot of work to make life more fun. But if you keep ignoring the question and push it aside, it will never get answered. There are already too many urgent issues that require your attention. Instead you need to act now.

    • Step One – Pick one new thing you would like to try. This could be an organization, hobby, activity, concert, food, sport or language. It can be huge or it can be small. Just pick one and don’t worry if it is best.
    • Step Two – Find a way to insert this new activity into your next month. For organizations and classes this can be easy. Just find one that meets once a week and commit for thirty days. For other activities, you may need to make your own schedule.
    • Step Three – Follow through. Try it out. The worst that can happen is you’ve found one thing you don’t like. But you may discover something new and exciting to fill your life.

    Go ahead, write your plan here in the comments or the forums and you can share your ideas with other adventurers.

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    More by this author

    Scott H Young

    Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

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    Last Updated on June 18, 2019

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Making Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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