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Novelty Challenge!

Updated: May 7, 2021

Why is novelty important?

Mental Flexibility!

Fixed mind can find ways of creeping into our life that makes particular outcomes feel like high stakes, but is it really?

Our preferences can become habits.

This shows up even in small ways- how we load the dishwasher, fold our towels, drive to work. The (sometimes painful) truth is that there is more than one way to do most things. Our preferences or habits can sometimes become a challenge when interacting with other people in our lives (and their preferences and habits).

If I get into an argument with a family member about the way the dishwasher is loaded (even if I have done extensive research about the most efficient way to do this), what am I social signalling is most important in this interaction? The relationship, clean dishes, or my rules?

As we age, we also can get “stuck in our ways”. Routine is comfortable, known. Is there an age we reach that no new learning happens? No. New learning is an important part of our living. Our survival counts on being able to take in new information about the environment, ourselves, and others.

Eating sushi is relatively new in my life. If I am honest, friends and family have encouraged me to try this deliciousness for a lot of years. The idea of eating raw fish made me squeamish. A couple of years ago, I tried sushi that a friend had prepared. I didn't want to hurt her feelings about something that looked like it took a lot of effort to prepare and that she wanted to share with me. It was better than expected!

During the pandemic, one way that I have gotten my novelty fix is cooking different things/trying new foods. A recent trial that didn’t sound like a good idea, but turned out to be delicious was Sushi Bake. These sound like words that do not go together. Although there are no guarantees that trying something new will be something that you enjoy, this one turned out well.

For the next week- I am going to encourage you to take the novelty challenge.

When opportunity shows up, try something different.

Start with small opportunities- and notice what happens. Be mindful of your thoughts and body sensations before, during, and after trying something new. Opportunities to consider: Walk or drive a different way to a destination, try doing a household chore the way that a family member does it, fix your hair a different way, try a new food, say yes to something (default settings for saying no to requests can be common). See what happens!

For a comedic representation of trying novel behavior consider watching Yes Man. I have included a link to the trailer.

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