- A new year is a good excuse to vow to try out new things.
- From calling your parents to riding around town in a luxury car, there are lots of things to fill your 2019 with.
- Get inspired for an exciting 2019.
Some say that variety is the spice of life. Having new experiences, after all, can positively affect how you perceive time and lead to feelings of fulfillment and happiness.
Looking for something different to try? From completing a famous hike to perfecting your favourite mocktail – here are 50 creative and fun ideas that will help you make this year one of the most rewarding yet.
Support a local band by going to as many of their shows as you can.
It’s the perfect time to notch superfan status; supporting a local act is a fun excuse to go to more live shows and enjoy the music scene close to home.
Expand your interests by going to an event.
Explore a topic or hobby you’ve always been curious about by finding a regular meetup or one-time event; go and mingle with the people who know all about it. Roll solo or bring a colleague, friend, or sibling if your shyness warrants extra support.
Volunteer at an animal shelter.
Love animals but can’t have pets at home? Get your fix by volunteering at a nearby animal shelter – they’re almost always in need of people who are able to help out.
Call your parent, guardian, or loved one once a week.
Life gets hectic and text might be your preferred communication method, but your parents and loved ones probably still love hearing your voice. Challenge yourself to check in with a phone call at least once a week.
Join the scooter craze.
Live in a major metro? If so, chances are good that you’ve spotted several roadside scooters or a fleet of riders more than once already. Round up some friends and get in on the craze; it’s inexpensive and incredibly fun.
Cross a famous hike off your bucket list.
Take a well-known hike, like a local one you’ve heard about a ton of times but never done, a trail that provides epic views of a famous landmark, or a more intense trek that surfaces some of nature’s most jaw-dropping sights.
Buy great seats at a concert venue you haven’t been to before.
Heading to a new concert venue can be an exciting experience, especially if you’ll see an artist you love. For a fun twist, try this one while on vacation – and splurge for the good seats.
Have your favourite foods delivered to the beach.
It might feel something like a modern picnic when you score food delivery for your favourite eats by the beach; services like Postmates will deliver so long as you’re in range. Round out your fun by bringing cosy blankets, a good read, and a bottle of bubbly.
Rent a luxury car for the day.
You don’t need to be wealthy to roll around town in a luxury ride. You can rent a classic car or the wheels of your dreams with an app.
Getaround charges as little as $US8 per hour for some vehicles, while Turo boasts a fleet of super deluxe class cars like Bentleys and Porsches for less than $US200 per day.
Make music playlist-sharing days with the people on your family plan.
A music streaming family plan is one of life’s simplest joys and making playlists is a fun way to tap into memories.
Go back in time and bond over new jams by asking the people on your family plan to create and share a playlist on the same weekend once a month. You’ll love getting creative with fresh finds and old favourites.
Host a blind wine taste test.
How distinguished is your palette? How much do you really know about wine? How about your vino-loving friends?
Put your buddies and taste buds to the test with a blind sipping event that mixes inexpensive bottles with more notable blends. Treat the winner to a bottle of their choice.
Make ravioli from scratch.
Eating ravioli is a savoury culinary experience to treasure but making the food can be an event in itself. This year, try your hand at preparing the popular Italian pasta at home.
Bon Appetit suggests inviting your friends along for even more fun. “This whole process is a lot more fun if you do it with some company. Helping each other out, and making mistakes together, makes it a less burdensome process. And making mistakes is fine; your first batch will not be perfect. So pop open the bottle of wine and enjoy yourself.”
Angle your skills to a friend’s startup in your spare time.
Have a friend who has started a small business or startup company? See how you help out, whether it’s acting as a sounding board, giving them feedback on ideas, or testing the product or service they offer.
Studies show that entrepreneurship can be isolating and lonely; your time and attention might mean even more to your friend than you know.
Write a letter to someone special to tell them why you appreciate them.
If you can’t remember the last time you told someone you cared about them how special they are, writing a letter to share your gratitude and what you adore about them is a great thing to try this year.
While you’ll obviously warm someone else’s heart, you’ll experience feel-good effects by writing the email and expressing yourself as well. Lifehack shared that Dr. Helen Fisher (an expert who studies the neurohormonal phenomena of love) believes expressing love can flood your brain with dopamine. This natural, feel-good chemical can help you relieve anxiety, feel more positive, and even find improved focus and energy.
Do a digital detox — for at least 24 hours.
Ditch your devices for a full day for a fresh perspective this year. Spending a day without your computer, tablet, and phone might be tough but that’s what will make it rewarding.
Forbes reports that you might experience benefits like more time for yourself, rediscovering a healthy balance with technology, improved sleep, and new ideas.
Shop somewhere you’ve never shopped before.
Wander into a boutique that catches your eye or give an unfamiliar online retailer a chance; shopping in a spot where you’ve never made a purchase before is a refreshing way to uncover neat new stuff, be it housewares or clothing.
This can also be a great way to support local business or small businesses.
Swap your signature scent.
Having a signature scent makes shopping for cologne or perfume effortless, but breaking free from what you’ve worn for years can be a simple way to switch things up.
Not convinced? Mindy Yang of MiN New York explained the effects. “Fragrances are like potions or magical triggers that can transcend your moment,” she told Forbes. “It’s because different scents make you feel different ways emotionally.”
Try a bold new hairstyle.
Celebrities aren’t the only people who get a thrill out of changing their hairstyle; how you wear your coif can come with psychological effects, like improved confidence. When asked about why it works, psychologist Lauren Appio told Lifehacker, “Making a significant change to your appearance can be soothing because you can see the immediate results of your actions, which reminds you of the power and agency you have in your life.”
Maybe you’ve inspired by Kylie Jenner’s love of wigs, Hailey Baldwin’s fresh chop, or want to hack your own hair but have historically felt too timid to make the bold change? Make this the year you go for it.
Swap secrets with a new friend.
Sharing secrets can help you learn something new about someone. An added bonus, it will help grow a friendship or relationship too.
“Self-disclosure, with the right person, strengthens trust and invites the other to do the same, creating a common bond of human experience,” psychologist Sue Varma affirmed to Psychology Today.
Cut something out of your life that doesn’t serve you.
Time, attention, and energy are limited resources. Why waste them on situations, habits, or people who don’t bring you joy, grow you, or serve you?
Show yourself love and respect by nixing negativity this year. Replace what brought you down with something that lifts you up, and you’ll feel so much better afterward.
Tell your partner how beautiful they are.
Chicago filmmaker and actress Shea Glover proved that telling someone they’re beautiful has amazing effects after stopping people in her school’s hallways, asking them to be in a picture and letting them know she was photographing things she thought were beautiful.
“It wasn’t really meant to be a compliment, to brighten people’s day, but I’m glad that that was a byproduct,” she said in YouTube follow up video. “I’m glad I could make people really happy. I didn’t realise that so many people don’t hear it or they don’t tell themselves that.”
Play a sport that you’re good at (but haven’t enjoyed in a long time).
A busy schedule can make it hard to find time for the sports you used to love or played often when you were younger. The same sports might not be as enjoyable if you’ve fallen out of shape. But why let that stop you?
Whether it’s a team sport like basketball or an independent activity like ice skating, lean into nostalgia and have great fun while doing it.
Skipping work isn’t a good practice to adopt, but taking an unplanned day off to catch up on sleep, bang out a personal project, or spend time with someone you care about can be a legitimate way to practice self-care.
Even more, playing hooky might make you more productive. Neuroscientist Tara Swart reminded Fast Company that time off is good for your brain.
Take a spontaneous road or train trip.
You don’t need overnight accommodations to pull off a fantastic, spontaneous getaway. A road trip to a nearby town or down the coast is a fun and inexpensive way to break free from reality.
Don’t have a car? Try a train trip instead; you’ll appreciate the extra legroom, Wi-Fi, and how easy it easy to move around.
Build something you’re proud of.
Making something with your own hands – be it by knitting, making art, woodworking, or coding something – has primal benefits that range from decreasing stress to reducing anxiety and modifying depression.
According to Carrie Barron M.D., the director of the Creativity for Resilience Program at Dell Medical School, “When you make something you feel productive, but the engagement and exploration involved in the doing can move your mind and elevate your mood. As you sift, shape, move and address your project your inner being moves too… The process itself provides value. If we can treasure doing as much as having done we provide new avenues for success, self-esteem or self-repair.”
Participate in a high-tech treasure hunt with a geocaching expedition – there are millions of caches to try around the world.
First introduced in May 2000, LA Weekly reports that by September 2000, there were 75 caches across the country. Just three years later, there were already 2 million around the world.
Take an online learning course — just for fun.
Forced learning is often dreadful but exploring something you’re already interested in can bring you excitement, joy, and inspiration.
Enroll in a digital class without putting pressure to use your new knowledge in any professional capacity. Go at your own pace and have fun experimenting with your new skills on your own.
Attend at an old-fashioned flea market.
“Oh, flea markets and swap meets the way they used to be! Vendors selling used items they no longer needed, and buyers scoring great deals – some requiring TLC, others in mint condition,” Bob Vila, home improvement expert, reminisced. “At old-fashioned fleas, you can still pick up vintage values to add a distinctive touch to your home.”
Visit one of America’s best for an authentic experience, complete with past relics and unparalleled people watching.
Browse your favourite bookstore.
Spend a lot of time at your favourite bookstore – this idea also makes for a fun date.
Co-author something with your significant other.
Write a riddle, poem, song, or a short story with your partner. Get creative with rhymes, trade off on lines or sections, and experiment with different storytelling angles. When you’re done, read your work together.
Swap your coffee for green tea for a week.
Tea has powerful antioxidants that can help you fight illness and inflammation. It also has I-theanine, an amino acid, which has been proven to improve alertness and focus.
Swap your favourite coffee with green tea for a week to see if you can get a boost without the caffeine jitters.
Create a personal uniform.
“Uniform dressing is just plain smart. Stylesetters at the top of their game rely on it, and wildly smart people outside the sphere of fashion do it, too-a prime example being Steve Jobs and his habitual turtleneck,” Who What Wear states.
The site says you can create your own by asking yourself a few key questions: “In what outfit do you feel your absolute best?” “What do you have a lot of in your closet?” and “What types of pieces do you fan-girl over?”
Save time in the morning by investing in these items. You’ll wear them again and again, which will also save you money.
Buy a National Parks pass.
Not only does a US National Parks Pass help support America’s parks but it grants you entry into more than 200 country’s most amazing outdoor destinations.
The pass, which has an annual fee of $US80 per year, covers your entrance, the standard amenity fees, and day use fees for one driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person).
Gift a constellation.
Knock someone’s socks off with a cosmic gift this year – a star you name and buy for them. Feeling extra generous or want to make it even more memorable? Opt for a constellation instead.
Keep a journal.
Go back to your childhood days where you would write the good and bad things that happened in your journal.
As an adult, this practice can help you reflect on your emotions and how you felt that day. It can also helps you note important memories that you will want to look back on in five, 10, or 20 years.
Adopt a whale.
Adopting a whale is another unique gift idea that also helps support endangered wildlife. Yearly adoption fees range from $US35 to $US100 dollars, depending on the species and foundation you choose.
Cook a recipe you pinned but haven’t tried.
According to new data from Peapod, 77% of Americans would rather eat a homemade meal than eat out in 2019. The site’s annual meal planning forecast also shows that 43% of Americans plan to cook more in 2019.
Jump on the bandwagon by attempting to make recipes you’ve pinned or saved but haven’t tasted yet. You’re likely to appreciate the variety and might love a dish enough to add it to your standard rotation.
Become a mentor.
Start by establishing what and how you can help before looking for an organisation that can connect you to a mentee. Mentoring.org is a smart place to start your search as it has a database of national and local organisations where you can get involved.
Set up automatic bank transfers to save more money.
Effortlessly save money by sending a portion of your paycheck to savings each week. Setting just 10% aside will quickly add up over time.
If larger portions feel hard to part with, consider Bank of America’s Keep the Change Program. “This plan rounds up each of your purchases you make with your Bank of America card to the nearest dollar. For example, if you buy a coffee that costs you $US4.25, your total would round up to five dollars and that 75 cents are put into your Keep the Change account,” Money Under 30 reports. “Instead of using the weekly or monthly method, Bank of America transfers these small amounts daily.”
Taste a food you’re afraid of.
Scared to slurp on oysters? Terrified of trying to eat edible insects, like the wildly popular cricket nacho chips? Close your eyes and take a bite – you may just uncover a surprising new favourite food when you become brave enough to branch out.
Do one of the coolest things in the world.
The world is an amazing place and there’s surely no shortage of amazing things to do. Try one of the 50 coolest that INSIDER profiled this year; there’s no doubt your pick will be an experience to remember and talk about for years to come.
Start a side hustle.
A side hustle can be a passion project or the beginning of a new business. Having one can also help you grow personally and professionally, cure boredom, increase your creativity, and relieve stress.
Love the idea but can’t think of anything specific to do? Consider one of these 99 ideas.
Learn how to make a great mocktail.
A good cocktail is refreshing, but a well-made mock cocktail can be an equally delightful drinking experience. Learning how to make tasty, popular drinks without booze can come in handy when you’re trying to cut back on sugar and calories – or want to drive your friends safely home.
“Though they get a reputation for being kind of boring, a good mocktail is far from it,” SELF writer Audrey Bruno shared. “Made with a variety of different spices, fruits, vegetables, herbs, juices, and more, they can be just as exciting as their boozy counterparts. And the best part is, you can serve them as they are and keep a bottle or two of spirits around for any guests who’d like them spiked-that way, everyone wins.”
Project positivity with a vision board.
Creating a vision board can help you keep your goals and big vision top of mind, be it related to work, travel, or personal accomplishments.
Share your favourite books with younger people who might love them.
Pass the story you asked for hundreds of time on to a new generation by reading your favourite childhood book to a child you love.
You might also share a book that helped you, made you laugh, or taught you something when you were in high school or college with a student you think will appreciate it.
Conquer an everyday fear.
No extreme activities required here; conquering an everyday fear can be just as frightening as swimming in a cage of sharks or scaling heights.
Do something new and rewarding by challenging yourself to speak up in a meeting, giving honest, constructive feedback that might hurt someone’s feelings, or even by letting yourself fall in love.
Join a club.
Radha Agrawal, founder of popular morning dance party Daybreaker, cites research to prove the power of community. “Studies have found that strong social ties are vital to our happiness and even our physical health and longevity. Belonging is the essence of what it means to be human and is more important now than ever before. Despite the hundreds of ways to ‘connect’ online via social media, people are feeling more alone than ever before (and in many ways, this can be attributed to this digital confusion).”
Join a creative club, co-working space, or online group to connect with like-minded people and create valuable new relationships.
Thank someone who helped you.
Whether they have helped you personally or in your career, it’s important to let the people who have helped you on your way know how much you appreciate them. Take a little time to show your appreciation.
See a therapist.
Therapy has been trending in recent years, and for good reason – mental health is a key component to overall wellness.
Know that you don’t need to be in a tough state to give therapy a go; some of the most productive sessions can come from preventative efforts.
Spend a night at the museum or zoo.
Looking for the sleepover of a lifetime? There are heaps of museums and zoos where you can spend the night, including Baltimore’s National Aquarium, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Bronx Zoo, and America’s National Museum of History.
“There is something undeniably magical about being in a quiet, dark museum,” Washington Post features reporter Sadie Dingfelder wrote. “Mummies, animals, skeletons – they all take on an eerie luminescence as if they might come to life.”
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
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