I usually wake up at 6:30 and go jogging. I eat basically the same things for breakfast and lunch, keep regular office hours, and typically go home to make dinner with my husband, before retiring at a reasonable hour.
These routines are important to my success, but no matter how much I enjoy my job and family, sometimes keeping things too routine can make it feel like work. The psychological term for this is habituation; becoming familiar with experiences can lead you to appreciate them less, wrecking your gratitude and engagement.
That’s why I recently decided to inject some novelty. I have this theory that the secret to long-term happiness is finding things to get excited about every day. They don’t have to be big things. In fact, the simple, stolen pleasures can sometimes make my day. So here’s a list of little things you can do to add a dash of excitement to your workweeks.
1. Take a different route to work.
2. Invite someone you don’t know well to coffee.
3. Go to the movies on a weeknight.
4. Start from the bottom of your to-do list. It’s unlikely anyone else will notice.
5. Wear an unexpected colour lipstick, eye shadow, or nail polish. If you’re a guy, try a bright-coloured bow tie, sock, or pocket square.
6. Give someone you’re intimidated by a compliment.
7. Eavesdrop on someone’s conversation. You’ll feel like a spy.
8. Forget online shopping. Spice things up with one of these subscription boxes, bringing novelty to your doorstep.
9. Or, literally add some spice to your snacks. I’m a big fan of wasabi peas.
10. Plan a vacation, even if you can’t afford it yet.
11. Get a hotel room in the city you live in just for a night.
12. Enter a sweepstakes for something cool. Just don’t check that box that lets them email you.
13. Replace your water with coconut water for a day.
14. Introduce yourself to a stranger, and ask what they do.
15. On a slow day, catch up with friends or former coworkers over lunch, take a long walk, or watch some of the baseball game at a local pub.
16. Make a new recipe for dinner every night for a week.
17. Take a cold shower.
18. Rearrange your furniture.
19. Give a fake name to your Starbucks barista — the more exotic the better.
20. Take a new exercise class. For maximum excitement, I recommend aerial yoga.
21. Join a book club.
22. Wear red. It’s dangerous.
23. Take all of Spotify’s suggestions for new music to listen to.
24. Don’t do anything work-related during your lunch break. Read fiction instead.
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