5 Practices to Help You Let Go and Embrace Change

When was the last time you hit a wall and tried shifting your perspective to reach a solution? How can you cultivate and encourage such a mindset in your daily life to think differently? Here are five small practices to help you learn to embrace change and harness your creativity.

1. Mix up your routines.

You may be stuck in ruts you don’t even realize. Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. (It’s surprisingly difficult, and it enhances creativity by building new neural pathways in the brain.) If you’re right-handed, try using your left hand to move your mouse cursor for an afternoon.

Shift the arrangement of the apps on your phone, or change up the order and organization of the files on your computer desktop. It can be very disorienting at first, but just try something new and getting over your initial resistance is the hardest part.

2. Experiment with new tastes.

At the start of each month, make a list of foods (guava, figs, buffalo jerky) that you’ve never tasted. It can be as simple as sampling a new kind of cheese.

It’s reassuring and comforting to hold on to our old, trusted standbys, but you never know what could become your new favorite food. I didn’t try mango or pomegranate seeds until last year, but now they’re two of my all-time favorite fruits.

3. Add playfulness to your day.

The next time you’re at a coffee shop or restaurant, why not order with a British or Indian accent (if you’re not British or Indian)? Stick to your accent the whole time, or switch it up in mid conversation and try to keep a straight face.

Or, if you’re shopping for clothes, pick one item to try on that’s something you’d never wear. You’ll (hopefully) at least get a laugh, but being playful can also open you up to considering new ways of doing routine tasks, helping to gently expand your perspective as you see more possibilities than the obvious, logical ones.

4. Reach out to others.

Let go of any inclination to be too inwardly focused by observing and commenting on your surroundings. Compliment a stranger on a piece of jewelry he or she is wearing, or ask a stranger for directions somewhere.

If you seek out interactions each day or each week that you wouldn’t otherwise have had, you may be surprised by the cumulative effect they can have on your creativity. It can also open you up to more opportunities that you otherwise would have missed if you hadn’t stepped out of your own headspace.

5. Clear out old stuff.

For twelve years, I had an alarm clock that was a comforting presence since it was the first thing I saw each morning. I realized I no longer needed it, but I didn’t want to abruptly let go of it.

So, I took baby steps by first just unplugging the alarm clock. Then, I moved it down on the floor. After a few days, I put it in a brown bag so it was out of sight. A few days after that, I put the bag by the door, and then the next day I donated the alarm clock.

If we resist the little changes in our lives, we have a much harder time dealing with the big changes. When a certain method isn’t working for you, take a step back, clarify what you want to accomplish, and open yourself up to approaching the problem in a different way. Letting go can feel scary, but it can also bring you to something better.