If you’ve got kids then you’ll likely agree that one of the most simple joys we can learn from them is the joy of spontaneous fun. Those jumping in the puddle moments come so naturally to impulsive little people don’t they?
Yet the older we get, the more cautious we become. That’s not to say you should splurge your weekly budget on one outfit, or speak first and think later, but why let go of spontaneity altogether?
Our calendars become so full that there’s little room for spur-of-the-moment decisions- but what if we’re missing out on moments of joy?
We all understand the value of a good routine, but that doesn’t mean you need to adamantly stick to it all the time, particularly at the cost of having some impromptu fun. The same goes for staying safely inside your comfort zone- both can get in the way of doing more of the stuff you want- or need, to do more of.
Delaying exciting and fun opportunities because of the rigidity of routines and habits, or because you’re worried what other people will think of you, won’t serve you well in the long run. What if you end up looking back and regretting the stuff you didn’t do?
That’s not to recommend you burn your diary or say au revoir to your routine, but rather find a balance between the well-known and the mysterious. Routines are fantastic for keeping you focused, managing stress, and dealing with decision fatigue. In fact many successful entrepreneurs attribute their success to having a good routine, which they also credit for freeing up the mental capacity, time and energy available to experience and enjoy life’s unplanned moments.
It can be unnerving to let go of plans, after all we associate maturity with words like sophistication, reserve and properness, and while on the one hand tend to admire spontaneity, we see the free spirit and the unconventional as a little intimidating- but this fear of letting go of plans and perfection holds you back from infinite possibilities. There’s always the likelihood that it might not work out, but why not focus on all the great things you could achieve and see where it takes you…
1. Say yes- Turn off the autopilot, stop saying no and start saying yes- it’ll open you up to new experiences, new people, and situations out of your comfort zone. Even if it’s a one-time thing, you’ll look back and remember it as a moment that was exciting and out of the blue, and you’ll be more open to do it again.
2. Let fate decide- If you’re finding it hard to come to a decision, bite the bullet and let fate decide. Flip a coin, and see where it takes you. It’ll save you precious time and worry, and could lead to a positive result. Trust, let go and see what happens…
3. Use affirmations- Evidence suggests that spontaneous self-affirmation is associated with psychological well-being. Create mantras to remind yourself to go for it, or why not write little reminders around the house such as ‘seize the day’ or ‘the time is now’.
4. Book in spontaneous moments- It might sound a little contradictory, but plan to not plan. Don’t plan anything in particular but set some time aside to be spontaneous and see where the day takes you. Place enough value on spontaneity that you let it happen even if it’s a little inconvenient.
5. Don’t overthink- The more you feel like you can’t do things, the more likely you won’t because you’re stuck inside your head. When you psych yourself out to try something new that you’re not comfortable with, you’re less likely to step outside your comfort zone and break free from the familiar. Tell yourself that you can do it, and you will.
6. Be a kid again- Swallow your sophistication and embrace your inner child. If you’ve got kids or spend time with any, emote with them, and let them be your teachers. They are the experts in spontaneity, so do what they do. Live in the moment and explore life with a sense of curiosity, excitement and wonder.
7. Turn off tech- When you don’t have any distractions, you’ll be more willing to get up and get something different done. Stop scrolling through social media and find freedom away from technology to absorb your surroundings and notice the opportunities that you didn’t before.
While planning out the future has its benefits, there are also rewards to throwing caution to the wind and spontaneously seizing the day. Spontaneous people experience a greater sense of joy and self-determination as they are more flexible, adaptable and open to whatever happens. This openness and willingness can lead to opportunities and moments that you simply can’t plan.