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Sometimes our comfort zone can be a nice, restful haven... and sometimes it can be a dark cave of lethargy and self-imposed limitations. If you're feeling you need to take some steps out into the sunlight, here are some very small changes that can help your body, mind and heart shift gears just enough to bring in the new: new energy, new movement, new ideas, new feelings, new awareness... new life. Choose one or two from each category and see how it feels. Enjoy!

For the Body: Routine Breakers

If you have a favorite form of physical activity or exercise, break your routine. For just one day try something different:

Try out a new machine at the gym.

Add a new yoga pose.

If you normally walk, find some stairs and climb up and down them.

If you normally ride a bike, walk.

If you normally run, walk.

If you normally work with weights, do some stretches instead.

If you normally don’t go anywhere near weights, take two cans from the cupboard and play around with lifting them, doing wrist curls, etc.

If you don’t usually do anything physically active, take a 10-minute walk in your neighborhood. Even better, drive to a nearby park and walk there.

Dust or wipe just the tops of everything in your home you can reach with a chair or step-stool.

Dress yourself in the “wrong” order: if you always put your shirt on first, put on the pants first instead.

Get ready for bed backwards: if you always wash your face and then brush your teeth, reverse the order.

For the Senses: New Input

Tune your car radio to a music station you would not normally listen to. Listen, with attention, for at least 15 minutes. Or, choose a non-preferred type of music (if you like jazz, try classical; if you like rap, try blues, etc.) and download 15 minutes’ worth of new-to-you songs. Listen with attention.

If you normally listen to music only while doing something else, don’t. Try doing that activity in silence. Or, just listen to the music, eyes closed, body still.

If you always read or watch TV while eating, for one meal just eat, noticing how the foods actually taste.

Buy a new fruit or vegetable and eat it with attention. Do you like it? Does it grow on you? Will you want to eat it again?

Re-try a food you tasted many years ago and decided you didn’t like. How does it taste to you now?

Sniff the tester bottles at an essential oils display. Choose one you’ve never used that is calling to you and bring it home to try.

Find a hill to climb. Let your eyes see everything they can see from the top. What have you never noticed was there?

Lie on the grass and watch cloud-shapes in the sky.

Spend 15 minutes listening to birds.

Lie face down on the grass. What does it feel like?

For the Emotions: Heart Openers

Pick one of these things that you haven’t done in the last five to ten years. Do it with full attention, noticing how it makes you feel.

Stop and watch the next gorgeous sunrise or sunset.

Buy flowers for yourself.

Stand under a tree and look up into the canopy. Feel the tree’s enveloping presence around you.

Soak in a hot bath for 20 minutes.

Eat your next meal alone at home by candlelight.

Look in the mirror and let your eyes smile at you, looking back. Slowly let the smile extend to your whole face.

Make an inner gratitude list: during the day, notice five different things/people/ small events that make your heart sing. Remember them so that you can write them down at the end of the day.

For the Mind: New Perspectives

The next time you attend a meeting or workshop, take a chair on the opposite side of the conference table or sit in a different part of the room. What do you notice?

Find a way to agree—­­honestly—with someone you generally disagree with.

Think of an opinion you hold strongly on a topic that really matters to you. Then write down every argument you can find against your stance. What would someone on an opposing debate team have to say? See if you can just write down their arguments without countering them.

Choose a field of study you never think about and know nothing about (architecture, quantum physics, Medieval history, archery, ballet… any field!). Then choose a subject in this field, go online and learn one of the following:

Commit five new terms in this field, and what they mean, to memory.

Learn about two major innovations or discoveries in the field over the past 20 years.

Revitalized? Terrific! Repeat as needed!

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