There’s a comedy chat show on the radio that encourages celebrities to try out things they’ve never done before – things that many other people have done.

The programme has made me smile, especially when Sandi Toksvig tried out wearing high heels for the first time and it made me consider if this could be an approach for some gentle goal setting.

Personally, there are many things that I haven’t done, dishes I’ve never tasted, books I’ve not read, places I’ve not visited – and the key point is …I’m surprised I haven’t done these things.

Let’s be quite clear: I’m the kind of person who HATES even the most tame fairground ride – so the fact that I’ve never done a bungee jump is no surprise. A luxury trip around the world may be a vision to aim for but I’m not surprised that it hasn’t happened (yet).

But I am surprised that I’ve never had tea in the Ritz, that I’ve never visited Ireland (even though I have lots of Irish ancestry), that I’ve never made a vegan meal, spent time reading a sci-fi novel or tried tap dancing…. and many other things too.

Why haven’t I got around to these things? Maybe I haven’t had the funds or the time – but more likely I haven’t ever thought about them or made them a priority. And it’s unlikely that I’ll do them all immediately – but this exercise illustrates how easy it is to fall into comfortable habits and forget the richness of new experiences.

So if you’ve noticed yourself slipping into a comfortable rut, or you fancy a different approach to setting goals you could try the following:

  • Brainstorm things that you’ve never done – without censoring anything. Notice your emotional response to different experiences – is it fear, is it curiosity, is it regret?
  • Sort your list according to interest/effort/cost/time and pick three experiences you would like to make happen. You might want a couple to be easy and low cost and one might that may take longer to work towards. Do you want to nudge out of your comfort zone? Or do something fun for pure pleasure? It’s your choice.
  • Write a mini action plan for making these three experiences to happen. For instance, I could have chosen having tea at the Ritz from my list – to make this happen I need ask a friend if they can come, allocate some funds to do it and book it in advance.
  • Make it an action point rather than a good intention by putting a timescale on it. Be realistic – tea at the Ritz could happen within a couple of months while a trip abroad may take a bit longer to achieve.

Give this sneaky and fun way of getting into goal setting a try – you never know, it could give New Year resolutions a completely different meaning.

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