While we’re still in the first week of the New Year and everyone is in goal-setting and resolution-making mode, all or many of which undoubtedly entail doing something different, we need to admit to ourselves that sometimes our habits put us in a rut that we need to pull out of. And since a plethora of neurological studies show that doing new and different things spark brain activity, here are 35 ways to break a habit:
1. Go up steps right foot first.
2. Change the route you take to work.
3. Change your lunch hour.
4. Eat lunch with someone you haven’t before.
5. Eat lunch alone.
6. Put your pants on right leg first.
7. Put your jacket on left arm first.
8. Exercise if you don’t; change your routine if you do.
9. Read a section of the paper you normally pass over.
10. Listen to a radio station you don’t like.
11. Call someone you haven’t contacted in years.
12. Break an obligation (politely).
13. Commit yourself to something you’ve been avoiding.
14. Read a novel in a genre you’ve never tried.
15. Read a joke book.
16. Buy a book for a friend.
17. Go away for the weekend.
18. Turn your cell phone off all day.
19. Don’t eat dessert all weekend.
20. Take a long slow walk around your neighborhood as if you’re seeing it for the first time.
21. Volunteer for a charity.
22. Play a sport you’ve never tried.
23. Find some fresh flowers to smell.
24. Commit two jokes to memory.
25. Make up an occasion and throw a party.
26. Do nothing all day (bet you can’t).
27. Spend time with someone a generation older than you.
28. Spend time with someone a generation younger than you.
29. Do a crossword in pen.
30. Send a love letter.
31. Watch a PBS show that sounds boring.
32. Watch a game show and try to win.
33. Switch brands.
34. Watch a stranger and make up their life story.
35. Take a class unrelated to work or hobbies.
BONUS: Order something that isn’t on the menu, no matter what eatery you’re visiting.
Add to the list…I can think of at least 50 other ways. But I want to hear your ideas!
H/T Matthew May