The 5 Easiest Ways To Shake Up An Old Routine In The New Year

Start today. Thank yourself tomorrow.

As another new year begins, there's no better time to shake up an old routine. If you're looking to get out of a rut — or just add a little extraordinary into your ordinary day — you may think you need to do a full life overhaul to get noticeable results. 

But that's totally not true. Over time, small, everyday changes can add up to big, long-term progress, whereas drastic, overnight changes don't always stick. 

With all that in mind, here are the 5 easiest ways anyone can rejuvenate their routine and reap some powerful benefits.

1. Change your commute.

Photo Credit: Jack Alexander on Unsplash
Photo Credit: Jack Alexander on Unsplash

Though your daily commute might seem set in stone, don't be so sure. Trying out a new route — whether it's via car, public transportation, a bike, or even a plane — can forge a new path to new possibilities. One of which could be, believe it or not, a shorter commute (and a better start to your day!). A 2014 study showed that, after a London Underground strike that forced many subway commuters to find alternate routes, some ended up sticking with their new route because it actually saved them an average 6.7 minutes. Because anyone can make this kind of small change, they can then put any time saved toward pursuing a passion or, even better, discovering a new one. 

2. Make a new connection.

If you find yourself doing the same thing with the same people every day, you may have gotten yourself into a rut. As long as it took you to fall into this routine, it's super easy to get out of it. Whenever you can, challenge yourself to go somewhere new, like a restaurant or cafe, and try something new while you're there. Take this challenge one (baby) step further by grabbing a meal, coffee, or whatever with someone different, whether it's a work colleague you don't know too well, an old friend you haven't seen in a while, or even a total stranger. While it might feel intimidating to strike up a conversation with a new person, once you make the first move, you might be surprised by how naturally you form a connection that — who knows — could lead to even more unexpected possibilities. 

3. Get rid of something you don't need.

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Photo Credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Whether it's the beginning of a new year, spring cleaning, or just a regular Tuesday, throwing out, or donating, something is a simple and fast way to freshen up any routine. Often, when you feel like you're just "going through the motions," it's probably because you're so used to doing them in the same places. General decluttering can breathe new life into a room and even inspire you to change up your routine further by moving furniture around or redecorating completely. 

4. Try a new look.

Photo Credit: Hai Phung on Unsplash
Photo Credit: Hai Phung on Unsplash

Not to worry, you don't need to get a drastic haircut or a new tattoo (though if you've always wanted to, go for it!). Any change to your physical appearance — no matter how small — can help switch up your routine, too. Simply strutting your stuff in a different outfit or a new hairstyle, can put a little extra pep in your step that lasts throughout your whole day. Heck, even trying a new brand of toothpaste can make a minor change in your physical appearance, helping to increase your confidence. 

5. Say 'yes' to everything.

Photo Credit: Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash
Photo Credit: Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash

This may be the easiest way to change up your routine yet because it doesn't require any action on your part, just a positive reaction to whatever unexpected opportunities may come your way. Perhaps no one says it better than Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman. During his commencement address at the University of California at Berkeley, he encouraged new graduates, "Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country. Say yes to meeting new friends. Say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport ... Even if it's a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your life, and likely in others' lives as well." Now's the time to do whatever activities or tasks you normally avoid because even when it's something difficult, you're still doing something different. 

After you've done all this, you might be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you take these five baby steps outside your comfort zone. 

Cover image via Keenan Constance on Unsplash

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