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21 Ways to Do the Unusual Thing Today and Start Creating a Positive Change in Your Life

Do the unusual thing
Image by mark sebastian (license).

[hana-code-insert name=’social w twitt face’ /]I’m a big fan of doing the unusual thing. Sometimes in big ways. Often in small and daily ways to mix things up.

This is also an easy and simple way to expand your comfort zone and to keep your curiousness up.

By changing your perception of yourself from someone who sticks to the old and comfortable all the time to someone who likes to mix small and big things up it feels more natural to mix things up in any other area of life too. You break out of your comfort zone regularly and so the inner resistance and fear that things will not go well becomes a lot smaller in everyday life.

Plus, it keeps you from getting stuck in the same old rut. It allows you to discover a ton of new exciting things. It could sometimes be the start of something bigger in a way you cannot see right now. And it’s just plain fun. I hope you’ll find some inspiration in this list.

  1. Eat the unusual thing. Instead of choosing the meatbased dish at lunch try the vegetarian alternative. Or try the fish if you usually go for the beef.
  2. Smile towards everyone. Instead of just going along with your day in your normal social way try smiling more. Smile more towards your co-workers, the lady at the checkout at the supermarket, the people closest to you and smile to yourself when you encounter a mirror. See what happens.
  3. Cook something new. Each week me and my girlfriend try cooking a new recipe from our cookbooks. It is most often a tasty experiment and helps us to find, sometimes unexpected, new favorites. It has also certainly made me a better cook in the last year or so.
  4. Mix up your music. I mix things up by trying new music every month. I have a look at the best music on sites like Pitchfork.com and Metacritic.com. Then I load a few of those albums on Spotify and listen.
  5. Work in complete silence and stillness. Shut the door to your office, shut off your music, unplug the internet and just focus on doing the most important thing you can do today while enjoying the silence.
  6. Read something that your friends wouldn’t guess that you are reading. I’m reading Jared Diamond’s history book “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.”. Definitely not my usual cup of tea. But I’m loving it. And it helps me to think in new directions and gives me new ideas on a daily basis.
  7. Do all your shopping for the week. Instead of doing grocery shopping when you feel like it or need to, sit down down and plan what you will eat and need for a whole week. Go and get all of that at the store. Now you don’t have to go back there for a week and you’ll probably have a bunch of extra free time and less stress to enjoy this week.
  8. Have a day of kindness. Instead of having the usual bursts of irony, sarcasm etc. during your day try to go for a day where you are just being kind and friendly to everyone including yourself.
  9. Enjoy it all. All fluctuations during your normal day is a part of life and as life it is a gift in some way or another. So recently I have started to have days when I just tell myself: “enjoy it all”. Then I try to enjoy my day no matter if the inbox is overfull, if I’m hungry and starting to get cranky. The things I usually don’t like so much I tell myself to enjoy as a part of life. And so my day actually becomes more enjoyable because much of how we see life is about how we choose to think about it.
  10. Watch something odd. If you usually watch thrillers then try a romantic comedy. If you most often get stuck with documentaries try an animated movie form Japan (I recommend anything by Hayao Miyazaki). If you love Family Guy, try the Wire. Expand what you watch to get new ideas and impressions.
  11. Listen to the sound of the world. Leave your portable music player/radio at home. Just listen to sounds of the city, nature and people as you move about during your day.
  12. Take a day off from the Internet. I have started to take Internet-free days on either Saturdays or Sundays (or both) over the last month or so. It’s a wonderful change of pace and feels like I’m on a small, healthy and extra relaxing vacation. Plus, it makes it more fun to get back to work on Monday.
  13. Exercise in a new way. Recently we got a Nintendo Wii. So now I jump around once or a couple of times a week and exercise with my EA Active 2.0 game. It’s more fun and the workouts are harder than I expected. And feels like an excellent home workout option as the long and hard Swedish winter is just around the corner.
  14. Take a news black out. Instead of reading the paper or watching the news as usual try to go without that for a day. See how it affects you and how much you miss the news.
  15. Hide a note for a loved one. Try hiding a sweet note of affection for a partner, family member or a friend in his or her cookie jar, tea or coffee container, book on the nightstand, hat, shoes or somewhere else where they look each day. Make him or her happy in an unexpected and odd way.
  16. Take a different route. To work or to school. To your gym or home. See something new even when you are in transport mode.
  17. Walk or take the bicycle to work. Instead of taking the car or riding the bus as usual. Get some exercise and fresh air before it is time to start working and before it’s time to go home.
  18. Let it go just for today. If you often get into arguments or have trouble letting issues go and replay them over and over in your mind then just for today let it all go. Tomorrow you can take up your old habits just where you left them . But for today, instead of getting into an argument just let it go and walk away. If you replay something in your mind, let it go for today. If that old memory pops up today too, let it go instead of dwelling.
  19. Go out. If you usually stay in during the weekdays, then call up a few friends and head down to the pub for a few hours even if it’s just a Wednesday. Or call up someone you haven’t met in ages and go for a cup of tea or coffee. Or pop down to the movie theater and catch a movie. If you usually do those things though, consider just staying in with PJs on and taking it easy.
  20. Sit in a new place. If you have favorite chair or part of the sofa where you always sit then try another chair and/or place to sit today. It can give you a new perspective at work or at home and I have found that it can even give you some new, fresh thoughts and perspectives on life.
  21. Throw out the things you haven’t used in 1 year. Go through one part of your home (a closet, a drawer in your desk or bedroom cabinet) and see what you have there. Ask yourself if you have used each item in there in the past year. If not, give the item(s) away to charity or a friend or simply throw it out.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • aejohnson November 9, 2011, 5:13 pm

    once again, thanks for the thought-provokers. And props for selecting that incredible photograph!

  • Kian | Awesome Life Coach November 9, 2011, 6:43 pm

    I used to be someone who hated change and always stuck to what I was familiar with because I was content with what I had. However since I’ve been exploring new options everyday I am finding even better things than what I had before. The thing is if you try something new and you don’t like it you can always revert back to your old way and at least you can tell yourself that you gave it a try.

    Great article with many great ideas. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  • Agnes Brzeski November 9, 2011, 9:05 pm

    As always …find your articles not only very informative and well organized but also easy to apply to everyday life…Thank you for writting :)))

  • marc van der Linden November 10, 2011, 8:28 am

    Hi Henrik,

    Great list! They are a real source of inspiration. Many of them I already have done, but some of them are refreshing. For example, “enjoy it all” for one day long. Being Joyfull by choice. I will go for it – today.

    Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!

  • Aurindam Mukherjee November 10, 2011, 8:59 am

    Smiling at everyone is nice little thing that surely makes everyone, including us, happy.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Neil | Butterfield November 10, 2011, 12:52 pm

    Very nice post. Variety is the spice of life and this is a great way to mix things up a little.

  • Mr. Frank's Place November 10, 2011, 7:40 pm

    Take a day off from the internet. I recently was in a training course which instructed us to not use the internet for 4 days. It was an amazing feeling for me to experience. It allowed me time to clear my mind with a lot of clutter.

  • Geraldine November 12, 2011, 7:37 pm

    Another gem of a post here Henrik! It is such a pleasure and a boost to read your latest work. I wholeheartedly agree with what you’re saying too. I need to be reminded at times to break out of the routine! I can certainly relate to the cooking suggestions. I’m a cookbook author: http://www.veggiesyarnsandtails.wordpress.com and cooking is one of my true pleasures in life. But we do tend to go back to old favs again and again! I’m cooking a new sweet potato and spinach curry for supper tonight, so that’s a breakthrough LOL

    Great post, yours is one of my fav blogs, always, G


  • Franklin November 16, 2011, 5:18 am

    wow, that is a great list. It really makes you want to listen and od them, just to get that extra serenity in you week. Thanks.

  • KenWert@MeanttobeHappy November 16, 2011, 6:32 am

    This is great, Henrik!

    I remember doing this experiment once. It actually came from a place of love, but it was a challenge I gave myself nonetheless. There was a lady who never smiled, never looked up or said hello when I walked by and said hi to her.

    At first I was irritated by her rudeness (I was 21 or 22 yrs. old at the time). That’s when I decided to challenge myself. I wanted to make her smile and say hello. Every day she was in her front yard gardening. So every day I would say hello. Every day I would be ignored.

    But I kept at it, cheerfully, happily. I saw her as a very sad woman who needed friendship and compassion in her life. So I did what I could in the moments it took to pass her house as I walked to college.

    Then Christmas vacation came and I stopped walking to school for a couple months or so. When school started again, I began to walk by her house once more and the most amazing thing happened.

    She stopped me. Mind you, she had to this point never said a word to me, never nodded, waved, winked, blinked or otherwise acknowledged me in any way, shape or form.

    Then she stopped me. And she opened her mouth. And words came out!

    She said she had missed seeing me and wondered if I had finished school. I told her I had been on Winter break and that she would be seeing me every morning again. She smiled and expressed how much she had enjoyed my daily passes before.

    After that, as long as she was out and I was passing, she would look up and say hello with the biggest grin.

    That one challenge positively changed two lives: hers and mine.

    Thanks again for the awesome post, Henrik!

    • Henrik Edberg November 16, 2011, 3:54 pm

      Thank you for sharing that wonderful story, Ken! Made me smile. :)

  • Brian November 16, 2011, 6:39 am

    Brilliant list! Relatable and do-able, and all things that go a long way toward improving everyday life. I just started my own blog and hope to hone my posts to provide such useful advice as this. Great article!

  • jamiexin November 16, 2011, 1:57 pm

    your article is really great!
    Thank you for you post!

  • darren November 20, 2011, 2:20 pm

    Hi, I read the same book too. Very thought-provoking. Nice post, by the way.

  • Kelsey November 28, 2011, 10:29 pm

    I try not to get on the internet too much during the weekends, and I call my friends and family instead of IMing or emailing them.

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