To break habits, dare to fail at something new

TAKE THE LEAP and try new things in all personal endeavors
TAKE THE LEAP and try new things in all personal endeavors
Lucy Thomas

Bad at something? Do it anyway. At first glance, that may seem counterintuitive — it’s human nature to do things because we benefit financially or because they bring us joy. When the decision is big, we often weigh consequences to determine which path is better. We may ask a trusted friend to offer their thoughts. But aside from these monumental decisions, the rest fall to minor choices we often give little thought to: hot lunch or cold lunch? Make or avoid eye-contact? Go to the gym or hang out with a friend?

Brains overwhelmed from countless little choices retreat to a habitualroutine. Habits are secure and safe. But why not try something different? According to a study at the University of Southern California, 47 percent of human behaviors are of this habitual variety. Subconsciously, these decisions build up and begin to make a sizable impact in life. Habits turn into lifestyles interfering with ideals and can become harmful when left unchecked.

Like with any big decision, think critically about your habits and push beyond them. Columbia University science students controlled a lab investigating mice success navigating a maze under two conditions: some mice had the opportunity to explore unknown areas before completing the maze, and others did not get the opportunity. Those who gained the additional experience of trying something new had more success navigating the maze. These mice were more flexible in the face of challenge and adapted.

Like with any big decision, think critically about your habits and push beyond them.

Pushing into uncharted territory leads to character growth. Confronting challenges, whether or not “success” is attained, make for immeasurable valuable lessons. We can find new things about ourselves that we never would have known had we not tried. An open mind and consistency opens the door to meeting new friends who share similar interests and community forms. Resistance, strength, and courage are qualities that have to be earned.

Though mindless reactions can feel easy, the results are more harmful than experimenting down a new road. Meet people and go to intriguing (and slightly nerve-racking) places, and be okay with discomfort. Moments last minutes, but memories last a lifetime. Allow personal growth, only attainable by vulnerability and experimentation.

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