Step Out of Boring Routines and Reignite Your Life

By Barbara Pierce

If they made a movie about your life, what it be called? “The Dull and Dreary Life of (insert your name)” or “The Awesome Adventures of (insert your name)?”

It’s a New Year. Maybe you’re thinking “I’m in a rut. How can I spice things up a notch or two, get rid of boring?”

Here’s the thing: drastic changes aren’t even necessary to reignite your life. The sparks are there; you just need to learn how to see them more closely, see them through a different lens.

“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes,” said French novelist Marcel Proust years ago.

According to research, finding new, quirky ways to interact with a familiar person, place or thing can make every day experiences give you that feeling of excitement.

Spending too much time in the same environment can cause a boredom buildup. So, if you’re bored at work, do your work somewhere different and new to you. If you work from home, mix things up by working somewhere else — a coffee shop or the library. If you work in an office, change the layout of your desk or work area.

Rearrange the furniture in your office or in your home. Check out thrift and consignment stores to purchase unusual accessories so it will feel like new all over again! Change the arrangement of your furniture until you find a new position that works for you.

Adding spice to your life doesn’t entail any extreme changes — just some subtle or not-so-subtle changes to your everyday routine can add excitement.

Change how you do the different aspects of your job; do them in a different way. For example, if you lead regular morning meetings, look for unique ways to change the meeting to keep it from becoming overly routine, like start at an odd time (8:48 a.m. instead of 9 a.m.), offer food, toss balloons, add sharing (everyone be asked to say one interesting thing they did over the weekend or brag about one accomplishment at work), meet in an unconventional location (instead of the conference room, the picnic table outside).

Finding creative ways to keep your job interesting can create a mindset that will increase your energy and make it exciting. Different is exciting.

• Mix up your commute. Take a different route home or listen to a new podcast or audio book. Open your windows and look around; simply observing your surroundings can be interesting with the right mindset.

• Explore somewhere new; drive or stroll down a street or area you’ve never been before. A new location will pique your interest and make you feel like you did something interesting that day.

• Explore your neighborhood or the towns around you that you haven’t had time to get to know. We have a wealth of hidden gems here in the Mohawk Valley, such as Fort Stanwix National Monument, an Erie Canal cruise, or walk along the path next to the Erie Canal, learn about its history, visit the Union Station in Utica, do a scavenger hunt in Syracuse, see the waterfall at Pixley Falls. Find a place that you haven’t been to and explore.

• Never stop learning: One of the most important ways to get your life out of a rut is to learn something new. Learn a new skill, like cooking exotic food, a new language, astrology, how to grill the perfect steak — whatever appeals to you. Stimulating your brain by learning new things has really positive benefits.

• Eat lunch with chopsticks, figuratively speaking, that is. Eating in unconventional ways makes it feel more novel. While this might sound like advice just for those who are tired of bringing tuna in Tupperware to the office for lunch, it applies to so much of our lives where boredom with the routine has taken the joy out of it. Finding new ways to do routine things signals the brain to pay more attention, making it more interesting.

“It all comes back to your mindset,” is how life coach April Cacciatori sees it. The owner and operator of Zensations Therapeutic Massage in Rome, advises us to “Slow down and become mindful, be truly in the moment. When you’re truly in the moment, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. It’s all a mindset.”

Make the ordinary extraordinary. That’s the key.

We get bored with the ordinary, with things as they are, with stability. Though stability is a good thing, you can consider it a call to action, a stimulus that you need to shake things up in your life.

Or, maybe just develop a different mindset, to look at the ordinary and find the extraordinary.

It’s January. What can you do differently to spice up your life this year?