Trying new things is hard, especially for adults. We’re incentivized by money, titles, status, and praise to pour our time and energy into getting even better at what we’re already good at. As we focus on building expertise we can forget how to navigate being a beginner. While it’s more comfortable to stick with what we know, avoiding new experiences comes at a cost. We miss out on moments that have the potential to add value to our lives. Here are three strategies to help you get better at trying new things:

Expose Yourself Gradually 

Identify your goal and break it down into small, gradual exposures. You don’t have to throw yourself off the high dive the first time you go swimming. You can start by dipping your toe into the shallow-end and slowly work your way up from there. Create a plan to gradually nudge yourself out of your comfort zone by asking yourself the following questions: What’s my ultimate goal? How can I break this goal into smaller steps that gradually get more challenging? When am I going to take the first step? Make a plan and hold yourself to it. 

Reward Yourself

Plan to reward yourself with a fun or relaxing activity after you try something new. It will give you something to look forward to and help you celebrate your achievement. For example, push yourself to hang out with that new friend on Saturday night even if you’re nervous about it. Plan to reward yourself by grabbing a latte at your favorite coffee shop and watching your comfort show on Sunday morning.  

Remember Your “Why”

Whenever we willingly walk into discomfort it helps to have a strong reason for doing so. It’s like choosing to eat peas even if you don’t like the taste because they support your value of taking care of your body. What’s your reason for taking a pottery class, making a career change, or going on a first date? Does it connect with your values? Does it support your vision of a meaningful life? Is it a step toward a longer-term goal? When faced with scary situations a strong “why” can motivate you to face your fears. Take some time to identify your “why.” Write it down and hang it on your fridge so you’re reminded of it regularly. 

Interested trying new things with the support of a therapist? I specialize in helping high-performing adults lean into meaningful, values driven-lives. Schedule a free consultation to see if we are a good match.

This blog post isn’t intended as professional counseling or clinical advice. If you’re in need of support, please consider speaking to a professional to be evaluated.