A new year is traditionally a time for promises to make big changes to our lives. Anyone who's made such a change knows the power change can have. Storing them all up for one time of year can be difficult if you're not used to making changes though. Like Rey in Star Wars looking up at the ship climbing to orbit, it's easy to sit still. It's easy to expect that that something will change without us doing anything. In books and films even if the hero refuses the call to adventure, something will happen to force them into it. Rey is found by BB8 and Finn, bringing the adventure to her until she can no longer resist.
If we can make smaller changes more regularly that can make change manageable. It can make change easier. It can get us into the habit of making changes, building momentum until change is second nature. Yes, we get knocked down along the way, just like Rey and Finn, but if we keep getting up, then we can find our own adventure. The greatest adventure of my life all started when a friend challenged me to build a new life. Along the way I've discovered all kinds of ways of bringing inspiration into my life, and I'd love to share them with you.
With it's fantastic tag-line 'ideas worth spreading' TED has made a name for itself with its any videos covering technology, entertainment, design. The newest (at time of writing) videos on whether you should be able to patent a human gene, glow in the dark sharks, and asking if a computer can write poetry. That's just the latest videos too. Their first videos were uploaded in June 2006, so there are over 2,000 videos you can watch. You can filter videos by length, so if you've only got 10 minutes, try the 0 - 6 minute category. If you want to learn a little about a lot, and be inspired by a wide range of people, TED's a great place to go.
I'm a huge fan of Pinterest. I love the way you can create your own scrapbooks (boards) and pin anything you like to them. Anything. Search on anything that fascinates you and you stand a good chance of finding something inspiring. The only limitation is your capability to express what interests you. Even better, you can pin things from website addresses too. So if you find a TED video you love, you can pin a link to it on one of your boards to share it with everyone. Pinterest is visual and makes it easy for you to find interesting things. So go on, dive in!
We all have things we've been putting off learning. Maybe we feel swamped by the rest of our life, trapped by routine, or worse, too stupid to do it. Like making changes, it's never too late to learn something new. I've been putting off learning Canva for ages, but I've dived in again by exploring their tutorials which are really easy to use and bite-sized in nature. I'm going to have a play and see how I can use it to communicate in a more visual way.
Try sitting down in a quiet place with a blank piece of paper (paper, not an app or any other software) and think about what you've been putting off learning. Write everything that comes into your mind onto the page. Don't think about it at all, just get it out onto the page. You could be amazed by what you write, by what you're desperate to learn. The desire for change could send you off on an exciting journey all your own that could enable you to make real changes to your life. All great adventures start with a simple thought. What have you been putting off learning? What have you always wanted to tackle, but never found time for? Don't let it go. Don't settle. Take charge and learn it.
Food is more than just fuel, it's something that can bring our senses and mind alive. It's good to have healthy staple foods, but it's great to pep them up with some different additions. Each time you do you give something familiar a twist. Try buying some new things at the supermarket, different bread, ingredients, or meals. If you're watching your budget, then certainly in London during the 4 - 6 pm range, supermarkets mark down what hasn't sold that day. It's a great opportunity to find something new. If you're going out, it's great to have familiar places, but if you rarely go anywhere new, then they're going to get dull. Find somewhere new. Actively look for restaurants in your area. If you walk to work or to the shops, look around. I found a great new place a short while ago and I've had breakfast there a few times now. Wake your taste buds up and bring yourself alive!
Take a Walk
Not just for the exercise, which is great of course. You can develop a real feel for the place you live by going on foot more. You start to see new places to eat, new places to buy coffee, points of interest, great architecture, and all the people who frequent them. I've lost count of all the great things I've seen doing this. Walking down a new road and discovering a place that had been rebuilt right after the Great Fire of London was amazing. It connected me to the history of my city in an immediate way.
Walking everywhere also meant that when I went to Paris, I was used to building up a mental map. That's why I was able to make it back to my lovely landlord's flat when I got lost in the dark with no map and no charge left on my smartphone. Go on foot, take different directions, and see your city with a fresh pair of eyes.
Yes, a million times yes. I'd never visited a non-English speaking country before I visited Paris last midsummer, and I had an incredible experience. From food to architecture to shops to museums to restaurants to cafés - I had an incredible experience. I could gibber like an idiot for hours about Paris, and if that's what you want, you can read more about my experiences. I had no preconceptions about the city, but as soon as I arrived I immediately felt at home. Travel can give you another place to call home, and isn't that beautiful? There's a reason why travel's described as broadening the mind: it's true. I was there for Fête de la Musique, and look what I discovered when I turned a corner.
It's these happy accidents that can make travel the incredible experience that it is.
It's really easy to get stuck in routines, not just of where we go, but of what we wear. I think it's especially true in seasonal extreme temperatures of heat and cold when we're likely to have fewer suitable clothes in our wardrobe. When I bought another pair of trousers recently, I opted for an dark olive green. It's a colour that I've never worn before, yet they look and feel great. That feels good, and I like the way they change everything I wear with them. It's not just a different colour, it's a shift in my style. How we feel about ourselves as we set foot outside the front door starts the day off right. So try something different, buy a different colour, a different style, a whole different look maybe. If you just need to tweak your style, or you're on a budget, remember my experience: a single item of clothing can change far more than you think. Now, about your hair...That's part of the package too, the package that helps you feel good about yourself. How long have you had your current style? A few years? More than a few years? Isn't it time to do something different, or find some way of evolving what you have? The first things I'm conscious of seeing of people is their hair and their face. If their hair looks like it's in a timewarp, what does it say about them? Does it fit with what they're wearing? Does it fit their personality? Does yours? If not, engage with the new year spirit and try something new.
I'm not a cinema guy. With high sensitivity, experiences like that and live music can be harder for me because my senses can become overwhelmed. Going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens though was a great experience. It reminded me of how involving the experience can be with a big screen. The same is true of live music: going to see my friend Holly's band is a completely different experience than listening to it on headphones. Not better, not worse, just different. It's opened my eyes to different things, and that alone is worth it. Think about your favourite forms of entertainment - have you tried anything new in that form lately? What about a different form of entertainment all-together? Excite your senses.
Keep it Rolling
If you're inspired, then making changes becomes natural. The whole concept of new year resolutions goes out the window when that's your day-to-day life. If we can keep it rolling, then we'll always be inspired, always be inspiring, and always changing. That's a challenge I want to meet this year: to make the changes I go through not big waves that happen every now and then, but more frequent. By being more frequent, I believe I'll process them better. I want to make 2016 a year about what I can do, not what I can't.
How about you, what are your favourite sources of inspiration? Please share them with me. Together, we can spread them so that more people can benefit from them? You can tell me about them here in the comments, and share this post if you think it'll give others some great ideas. You can also find me on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn.