25 New Things to Do Today

by Anna Newell Jones on 26 June 2012 10 comments
Photo: slalit

It's easy to get into the habit of doing the same things day-in and day-out. Here are 25 new things to try today to give your life a little bit of a shake-up! (See also: Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life)

1. Make Sure Everyone You Love Knows It

Do the important people in your life know how much they mean to you? When was the last time you told them? Whenever I let this slide I try to remember the season five finale of "Grey's Anatomy" that I randomly watched one day. As weird as it may sound, that episode reminds me why it's so important that loved ones know they're loved.

2. Get Prints Made of Your Digital Images

It seems like we're all taking pictures all the time (especially with Instagram's huge fame), but will future generations get to see these shots? Make sure your life's images don't get lost and forgotten. Fill up shoe boxes with photos so that down the road, your kids can go through and wonder about your life.

3. Call Your Mom (More)

She loves you and probably wants you to call way more than you do.

4. Run Through a Sprinkler

Nothing screams summer quite like running through a sprinkler. When was the last time you did it? This is a cheap idea, and it's a great way to feel like a kid again while doing something responsible — watering your lawn.

5. Say "Yes" to Everything for One Full Day

Pull a Jim Carrey in the movie "Yes Man" — see what happens when you open yourself to everything that comes your way. Do you find that you automatically say "no" to things without even really considering them?

6. Conquer Your Public-Speaking Fear by Trying Out Toastmasters

Speaking in public can be completely dreadful. What if that fear was removed or if became manageable? Try out Toastmasters.

7. At a Restaurant, Let the Waiter Pick Your Entire Meal

I once ate dinner at a restaurant in Montreal called O.Noir. There was not a single light in the place, and we ate in pitch-black darkness. All of the waiters also happened to be blind. Needless to say, it was an unforgettable experience. Apart from the obvious, one of the things that stood out was that they had a "surprise meal" option. You could say if you were vegetarian or if you had other dietary concerns or restrictions, and they would accommodate that, but other than that, your meal was a complete surprise. Letting your waiter pick your meal is a way to get a little bit of the O.Noir experience no matter what city you live in.

8. Sleep in the Buff

If you've never done this before, it is completely liberating to try. Just be sure to keep a robe handy in case the fire alarm goes off.

9. Take a Bike Ride Through the City on a Summer Night

Here in Denver there is an event called the Moonlight Classic where some streets get shut down and bicyclists take to the road at midnight. The Denver Cruisers also hit the road every Wednesday night throughout the summer. Maybe your city offers something similar? Don't forget a bike light.

10. Write and Send a Hand-Written Letter

Everything is email, text, and IM these days. Break out a pen, and put it on paper.

11. Give a Sincere Compliment to at Least Three People

Who doesn't love a compliment? I love seeing people light-up and smile when they're complimented.

12. Try Cutting Your Own Hair

Cutting your own hair can feel very scary and intimidating the first time, but after you do it once, you'll wonder why you haven't been doing it all this time. (If you mess it up, then I'm sorry, and tell your hair-dresser I'm sorry too. Hey, it grows back, right?)

13. Tip Big

If you've ever worked in a restaurant, you know what hard work it is. You come home smelling like spoiled food, and it's a funk that's hard to wash out of your clothes. People can be rude, and the hours are sometimes brutal. Make someone's day by giving them a big tip. Trust me, they deserve it.

14. Shoot a Roll of 35mm Film

It can be exciting to not know exactly how a picture is going to turn out. 

15. Decide What Your Three Wishes Would Be If a Genie Asked 

Just have fun with it. 

16. Do a "No Spend" Weekend

If you're not up for an entire year of no-spending, you can still positively impact your financial life by cutting back, even if it's for just a short amount of time.

17. Buy Bright Red Lipstick or Grow That Mustache

My husband hates the bright lipstick I wear. I like it, and I feel good wearing it. Even if no one is a fan of your choices but you, that's OK. Go forward with pride.

18. Take a Technology Break 

Whenever I go on vacation, one of my favorite parts is that I get a break from technology. It's okay to cut yourself off for a day or two.

19. Wake Up an Hour Early

As hard as it is for me to wake-up early, I always feel better when I do. There a peacefulness in those early hours.

20. Throughout the Day, Keep a List of Things You Are Grateful For

It's easy to take things for granted. Keeping a list and reviewing it at the end of the day keeps things in perspective. If you can't get yourself to write things down throughout the day, even just thinking about what you're grateful for before you go to sleep is a good habit.

21. Make a Recipe You've Bookmarked on Pinterest

If you're anything like me, when you look at Pinterest, you get motivated to make and do lots of things but also discouraged that you're not making and doing lots of things. How many times do you make something you've pinned? Practically never? Today might be a good day to give one a go.

22. Get a Cardboard Box, Fill It Up With Clutter, and Donate It

Clearing out unwanted and useless junk feels good. Plain and simple.

23. Spend 20 Minutes Watching Funny or Die Videos

Laughing is good for you, and there is a lot of funniness happening on Funny or Die.

24. Create an Alter-Ego for Yourself

Do you wish your name was Natasha or Sven, you ran 20 miles a day, always stood up for the underdog, and had the most magnetic personality ever? Why not create that dimension of your personality in your mind and tap into it when you need extra strength?

25. Make a List of 33 Things to Do Before Your 33rd Birthday

It doesn't matter if you're turning 33 on your next birthday, or 20, or 63. Whatever stage you're at in life, create a list of things that you hope to accomplish before your next birthday.

What do you do when you need to get out of a rut? What one are you going to try from this list?

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Guest's picture
Bryan

I would like to try almost everything in this list, but I think I'd start with #2 first. I've actually been meaning to do this to put them in picture frames, but I'm really busy most days.

Guest's picture
Edward

Here's something I did that still has an impact on rut/gloomy days. In a very small font, I made a bulleted list of all the greatest and happiest moments in my life. (About 50 or 60 in total.) I printed it out double-sided on paper a little smaller than the size of a postcard. I had it laminated. Folded in half, I carry it my inside coat pocket. (It takes up very little space.) On gloomy/depressing days (especially in mid-winter), I close my eyes, pull it out, open my eyes, and randomly read one bulleted event. It instantly changes my mood from bad to good as a flood of memories come rushing back. Try it! You'll find your mind has a hard time concentrating on the negative around you when it's busy remembering the spectacular. Your body also begins to feel as good as it did in that special moment as well.

Meg Favreau's picture

I love #21. I have years of recipes bookmarked on Delicious, and I probably haven't even tried 1/4 of them.

Guest's picture
Julia

This list is great. Especially numbers 4, 7 and 9. And 1 (I clicked the link and watching the 007 scene gave me chills all over again. Thanks for sharing.

Guest's picture

Cut your own hair?! What a suggestion! I really like number one on this list and think it works well with writing hand made letter. I think a lot of people underestimate the power of a greeting card or hand written note to remind loved ones- whether its your immediate family, extended family, friends, or just people from your past who you haven't gotten in touch with in a while- it will make you feel good to reach out "just because" and it will definitely brighten their day when they receive it in the mail as a surprise.

Guest's picture
Bob

I like #24!
My name is Bob and I'm a Competitive Eating Champion. I excel at eating any type of sweets. I hold the record for most amount of peanut butter cups consumed in 5 minutes. 42.

Guest's picture
Guest

Great inspirational post! I've always been afraid of public speaking and have always thought about joining Toastmasters...today's the day to take action!

Guest's picture

When I'm stuck in a rut. I do two things; examine every aspect of my life from when I get up in the morning to what I do in the car on the way to work and look for things I can change. The second thing I do is think deep about all the things I want to do, both grand things I want for my family and career and little fun things that I've kept on the back burner. Then I just try to see if I can make it happen.

I definetly need to call my mom more. #5 and 7 intrigue and scare me a little, but hell, why not? Sleeping the nude is very liberating especially on a hot summer night (I live in FL). Please tip big one day. I tipped a server huge once (I had a per diem for business travel) and the gratitude she expressed was a tremendous feeling. Lastly, always be mindful of what you are thankful for. It's really the root of hapiness.

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Caleb

this is a great list and I hope to use many of these ideas. thanks!

Guest's picture
Guest

Interesting! If you're bored, try http://www.AThingToDoToday.com - it gives you a thing to do today, where you are.