When we first embark on a new activity, whether it’s a new exercise routine, joining a new social group, starting on a new creative project, there is often a period of time when our new endeavor has an awkward new shoe feel. During this period of time, our new activity might not feel fully comfortable yet.
Have you had this experience?
Yet, part of the wonder of life comes from trying out new activities and then choosing whether we want to continue to do them or not.
Like new shoes, some of these activities we choose become progressively more comfortable and to our liking as we do them, while some others just never seem to fit.
When we experience some uncertainty as we try out a new activity, how do we decide if we are just experiencing the new shoe feeling or if the shoe simply doesn’t fit?
One way is to try out our new activity on a trial basis for a length of time of our choice. This trial is like trying on shoes and walking around the shoe store to see how they feel.
This trial period with a new activity can be made into a simple game, which I call, “The Finding What I Love To Do Game.” The basis of this game is a fun chart, like the one pictured above. In this chart, you keep track of two interesting things. First, did you do the activity? Secondly, and maybe more importantly, you rate how you felt as you did the activity on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being substantial discomfort and 10 being substantial joy.
Consistency in doing our chosen activity is part of this game. Because if we try an activity once today, once two weeks from now and once two months from now, it is probably going to have the new shoe feeling each time because we haven’t allowed ourselves the experience of doing it consistently enough to give ourselves a chance to get used to it. (Note: What consistency means for your activity will depend on how often it is feasible to do it. While it may be feasible to do an exercise routine everyday, some social groups, for example, only meet once a week. So in this case, consistency is attending the weekly meetings.)
Saying that about consistency, this is your game. Make it fun! If you miss a day, CHOOSE to miss a day free from guilt and enjoy your choice. This game is about accomplishing what you want to do in a way that makes you happy.
You are also keeping track of the joy you feel each time you do your activity. As you embark on your new activity, your joy may start out fairly low, more towards the discomfort end, but as you get used to the feeling of your new activity, your numbers will naturally rise.
You are looking for a rise in your numbers by the end of your challenge. But also, remember this could just be the beginning of your potential to feel joy when doing your chosen activity. If an activity is a good fit for you, the joy you find in doing the activity will often accumulate the more you do it. For example, I loved yoga the first year I did it, but now four years into doing yoga, I find much more substantial joy in doing it.
(I got the idea of creating this type of game from the 21 Day Yoga Challenge that we did at my yoga studio, Pilgrimage of the Heart. A whole bunch of us did the this challenge and we became excited to ask each other, “How are you doing with the challenge?” One of my favorite parts was that we were given star stickers to mark off each of the days we did yoga. Sometimes, I used the stickers and other times I drew my own smiley faces. So cool!)
Game of the Day
Steps to playing the “Finding What I Love To Do” Game
1. Pick an activity that you want to “try on.”
2. Pick a length of time (or number of times) that you want to “try it on” for. Examples: 21 days, a month, as many days as you are old, 10 times, 25 times.
3. Make a simple and FUN chart modeled after the one pictured above.
4. Have a wonderful time playing your game.
5. At the end of your game, determine from your experience and your chart if you want to make this activity part of your life or if you want to drop this activity to make room for one that brings you more joy. OR if you are still not sure how you feel about this activity, play another round of the game.