Tuesday, March 25, 2014

To live beautifully requires throwing caution to the wind and stepping out in your goals and activities. It’s easier said than done, but the more you challenge yourself to take risks socially and artistically, the less daunting each new action will seem. In order to get us started, we’ve come up with a list of ten items that push the boundaries of our comfort zones. Select a few tasks that speak to your own apprehensions, and make it a point to complete them over the course of the next couple of months. By the end of your challenge, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve grown!

1. Share your work at an open mic night: Reading a poem you’ve been working on or playing your latest song in front of an audience will help you become comfortable with your own work and open you up to discussing your art in the future. Plus, you could make a new friend (or a fan)!

2. Open an Etsy store: If you make jewelry, knit, paint, or have any cute crafts in mind, get your work out there through an Etsy store. Not only will you be able to share you work with others, but you could turn a profit to help fund future projects and adventures.

3. Submit creative or journalistic writing to an online or print magazine: Sharing your writing can be intimidating, but you can’t get published unless you try. If you don’t get selected, you might receive much-needed constructive criticism which will benefit your writing in the long run. And if you do get selected? You’ll be especially thankful you gave it a shot!

4. Take an improv class: Putting your sense of humor on trial is quite the test, but you might get more laughs than you expected. Taking an improv class can also help you with public speaking, which will translate to your ability to do well in a job or interview. And improv classes are always a great way to meet new people!

5. Explore a new place: It’s easy to spend your days in the same square-mile radius, so take a chance on someplace new. Make dinner reservations in a neighboring city, or go for a hike on trails you’ve never tested.

6. Try a new food: Ever gone out for Ethiopian? Or perhaps you’ve always shied away from olives? There’s no better time to try new food, and you could ending up loving what you taste. And if you dislike it just as much as you thought you might, you can at least say with confidence that, yes, the texture of shrimp just isn’t for you.

7. Host a dinner party or brunch: Having people over is a wonderful lesson in confidence. If you’re new to cooking, opt for simple meals or attempt to make the food ahead of time on a trial run. If you’re more of a seasoned chef, take a chance on a challenging or inventive recipe. In the rare possibility that you experience a total food fiasco, you can always mend the problem by ordering take-out and laughing with your friends about it. We’ve all been there!

Photography: Brandon Kidd

8. Start a blog or YouTube channel: If you’ve been wanting to share you fun DIYs, recipes, fashion sense, or photography with others, pick the format that suits you best and dabble in a bit of self-promotion. You’ll end up connecting with like-minded people and will feel far more confident in your craft.

9. Ask someone new to coffee: Making new friends can be intimidating, but we’re all in the same boat. Take the initiative and ask someone you’ve crossed paths with to coffee or reach out to an old friend to reconnect. The other person may be just as nervous to make plans and will thank you for stepping up to the plate.

10. Tackle a long-time fear: Many of us have an overarching fear that can interfere with many of our dreams. If you’ve always been afraid of heights, sign up for rock-climbing lessons and gradually make your way closer to the top each week. If the thought of flying scares you, book a trip that involves a very short plane ride to help you ease into it. Don’t worry about conquering your fears overnight -- just push yourself in whichever ways you can and your confidence will blossom.

Which acts of courage will you challenge yourself with this season? Do you have any tips on branching out  to share with us?


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