We’re all creatures of habit to some extent, and it’s easy to fall into a routine when you’re busy working and nesting. But before you get stuck in a rut (or become a total bore), remember that trying new things is good for both you and your relationship. A recent study from Winston-Salem State University found that people who tried new things on a regular basis were more likely to be more positive about life and to repel negative emotions, which may reduce their risk for anxiety and depression. Hmmm, sounds like pretty good motivation to break out of your routine, doesn’t it? Lucky for you, you have a partner in crime to take along for the ride. But if your days have become so predictable that you don’t even know where to begin, here are some tips for getting started.
Start by whipping out a pen and paper. Make three columns with the following titles: “This week,” “This month,” and “This year.” Under each of those categories, write down one thing you’ve been meaning to do within that time frame but haven’t gotten around to yet. Maybe under “This week” your goal is something small, like trying a new restaurant, while “This year” is something bigger, like taking a couples’ vacation to Hawaii.
Then below each goal, make a list of what it will take to actually accomplish it. Trying a new restaurant won’t really take much prep work, but still list the steps (1. Ask your partner which night he’s free, 2. Make a reservation, and 3. Dig in.) But getting a crew together for a vacation in Hawaii? That’ll require a bit more planning. So start mapping the basic steps on paper (coordinate with other couples to pick a date, research flights, pick a hotel, etc.).
Once you’re done, don’t just let that paper sit there collecting dust. Put your words into action. Return to your list of goals at the start of each week. Have they changed at all? Then make some amendments. Cross off your weekly goal (since you accomplished it, right?), and set a new one for that week. Is there something you should be doing to get closer to your monthly or yearly goal that you haven’t done yet? Make sure it’s on that week’s to-do list. Regularly updating your progress will encourage you to actually follow through with them. Trust us, once you start crossing some of your goals off your list, you’ll start to feel good and you’ll be encouraged to do more new things in the future.