Finding Freedom Through Trying New Things

Posted by admin on May 30, 2015

Courtesy of my hubby!!

Have you ever tried to do something new that scared you or at least intimidated you or made you anxious?  Or maybe you want to try something new, but just can't make yourself do it...

Well you are not alone.  I promise.  It is very easy to make a new activity or even an activity we haven't done in a long time a MUCH larger obstacle in our heads than it really is.  We can completely psych ourselves out so quickly with negative self talk.  Some of these might be all to familiar to you, they are for me:

"I can't do that, because _______________ (insert excuse, in case you need help, lol: I'm not fit enough, I might not be able to finish, I might make a complete fool of myself, I just can't, etc.)"

"You're not good enough to do this.  Look at all the beautiful people doing it, you don't even come close."

"Last time you tried this, you totally struggled."

I mean, let's face it, for every one of those, there's 100 more!!  We are so good at criticizing ourselves in a way that we would NEVER criticize other people we adore in our lives.   So, how the heck do we push through it?  How do we stop missing out on life's opportunities, and do it anyways?

I had the "opportunity" to work through this for you last week the WRONG way, and I'm happy to share it with you, so we can all learn how NOT to do it in the future :-)

Because I decided to purchase a mountain bike, my husband wanted to take me along on one of his favorite things to do: mountain biking.  I have to admit, when he first mentioned it, I was completely gung-ho!!  I really desire to do more things with him that he enjoys, so now was a great time to give it a go.  I was going to be a SUPER STAR mountain biker and totally impress my husband (this plays out later, so I have to mention it :-))

Well, the day arrived for us to go, and I have to tell you, my brain was on over drive, full swing action-I was scared, anxious, and not sure if I could do it!!  Grasping at reasons to not go-it looked like it was going to rain, I wasn't sure if I could handle it (I was on my first week of an extended fast), the kids might need us (they were in school) I was trying very hard to get him to cancel.  To which he promptly and annoyingly I might add, had perfectly good answers: we weren't going out that far, and we didn't have to go for a super long time, everything would be just fine.  Grrr.

And so, we loaded up, which seemed to take forever (another reason to NOT go), and to my dismay, we left.  My brain kept going the entire way there.  In fact, when we got there, I almost asked him if we could just skip the ride and go for a hike instead, but I knew he would say yes, and be disappointed, even if he didn't tell me, and then I would feel bad.  That wasn't going to work.  I just needed to do it.

During the ride, I started to feel better, but I have to say, I had built up some pretty high expectations for myself.  Remember, I was going to be a ROCK STAR!!  Well, surprise surprise!!  I wasn't.

  •  I didn't know how to use my gears yet, so I had to learn that.
  • Then I had to get it out of my head that I didn't have to go fast when I was climbing hills using my gears.
  • Plus, I had no idea how scary going down hill would feel at first, especially if we hit gravel or anything like that.

Boy, had I set myself up for failure in my mind.  I did cry, several times, and though I didn't show my husband, he knew.  He was very gracious, understanding and sensitive to my first time incapabilities, probably even more so than I was myself.  We didn't go very far that day, but it was quite the uphill battle, haha.

But here's the beautiful thing, on our way down, as I started to get used to the hills, and I started to feel more comfortable with my bike, I was able to loosen up and chill out a bit.  That's when perspective started to come, and I realized that where I was proud of myself for going for it, I certainly could have set myself up in my mind for better success.

Starting to get the hang of it
Starting to get the hang of it

Have you ever experienced this 'trying new things' anxiety?  It sucks!!  And if you don't change it, it can completely derail you from trying out other new things that could help you live a fun and fulfilling life.  Well, I'm going to share with you how I'm going to change this:

  • 1st off, trying new things starts with some Visualization and Challenging:
    • Visualization:  Picture yourself doing this activity.DCIM100GOPRO
      • You can do this!!  But don't expect that you are going to be perfect at it the very first time.  Know that you can stop if you need to and do small chunks-you can do it again if you don't do as much as you thought you would the first time.
      • Be honest with yourself about your limitations.  If you have a disability that keeps you from doing certain parts of an activity, then modify it as needed, don't hurt yourself or you might not be able to do it again AND you might train your mind to think trying new stuff is not for you.  Give yourself that grace-you would give it to someone else you love, right?
    • Challenging:  When you have High Expectations or Negative Thoughts, don't let them sink you before you even start.DCIM100GOPRO
      • For High Expectations, think through the things I mentioned above, and remember, just like when you were in school, every time you learn something new there is going to be a learning curve.  We're going to assume that you are not an expert in this-even if you've watched some youtube videos on it, lol.  You need to give yourself the ability to observe and learn.
      • For Negative Talk, challenge it.  Are the things you are telling yourself true?  I really like to think of my negative talk in terms of talking to other people I respect and adore.  Would I tell them the same things I tell myself?  If I wouldn't, then there's a pretty good chance that I shouldn't be telling those things to myself either.  Think about that, and don't let those negative thoughts win :-)
  • Next, JUST DO IT!!  Yes, I know the Nike saying has been quoted over and over again.  But it's so true.  You don't HAVE A CLUE what something will be like if you don't try it.  If you're a parent, you have probably told your kids a time or two to taste new things, and asked, 'How do you know you won't like it, if you don't try it?'  Well, it's the same thing.  If you try it, and flat-out don't like it, then that's great; don't do it again.  At least you will know for sure.
  • Finally, don't quit!!  Even if you have to try this new activity in several smaller chunks of time, that is fine.  Just don't quit, unless you absolutely detest doing it.  Just make sure that you are not confusing a complication or something that takes some time to train in for 'hating' it.  You could be missing out on something very enjoyable, and you might regret it if you know you didn't try hard enough.
    • Also, make sure to speak up.  If you're with someone, make sure to let them know that you're struggling.  Not so that you'll quit, but so they can help you.  It's easier to do almost anything with support.

Once you have finished your new activity, "Give yourself a pat on the back," as our teachers would say :-)  You deserve it.  Then make sure to reflect on your experience, and ask yourself a few questions:DCIM100GOPRO
-What do I think of this activity?
-How did I really do?  Was I able to push through any tough moments?
-Did I like this activity?  Would I be willing to do it again?

I will tell you, if you decide that you liked it, and you want to do it again, it's a great idea to get out and do it again soon.  It will allow you to build on top of the foundation you started, you will still remember what to do from the last time you went, and then you'll be able to associate that activity with new positive memories.  You won't have too much time to stew on any negative experiences you might have had your first time.

Well, there you have it.  Those are the steps I am going to use next time I try something new, and I will let you know how they go.  I hope you will give something new a try as well, and let me know what you think.  Here are a few questions:
What new thing are you wanting to try?
If you use this method, how did it go for you?
What worked and what didn't?

Please share with me in the comments below or at my Facebook page, or twitter.

© 2013 PhotoSpin, Inc. All rights reserved
© 2013 PhotoSpin, Inc. All rights reserved

Ta Ta For Now :-)