Trying new things when you’re a creature of habit


I’m 31. I thrive on routine. It’s not that I don’t want to try new things, it’s just that trying new things takes effort and learning and time and sometimes failure. To someone who is already running on all cylinders, trying new things (no matter how great the potential payoff is) just sounds exhausting and it’s easy to feel like it’s not worth disrupting a good groove. I like to find things that work, set to autopilot in that area of my life and not worry about it. Survival mechanism? Maybe. It’s been a very long time since I tried anything new for myself because frankly I was just barely swimming. And there’s no shame in that, but it’s where I was.

The last month of my life has been SO UNCOMFORTABLE but SO WORTH IT. People – try the new things. I promise you even if you hate it, you will learn so much about yourself and the world around you. It is so hard but IT IS SO REWARDING. I remember my college orientation. I was 17. My leaders told me that it was important to step out of your comfort zone if you wanted to learn and grow and succeed. I spent many years doing that (and feeling really good about it), and then one day along the way…autopilot. Maybe it was when the kids came along. When it came to food and fitness, it was kind of like Groundhog Day (you keep living the same day over and over again). I wasn’t fed up or unhappy or at rock bottom. I just got a challenge from someone (my little brother) and felt like it was time.

I am the last person I thought would ever do a Whole30. I’m a picky eater, I don’t like deprivation, and I frankly felt like I’d be too lazy to stick with it for 30 days. I got a custom workout from a friend who is a trainer and did my first real workout today. I could only do the three-rep circuit two times because I thought I was going to keel over. It was so hard and exhausting and I was doing it in the gym in front of other people who at first I thought might be laughing at me (I’m sure my form wasn’t perfect) but then I just hit the wonderful feeling of NOT CARING AT ALL what other people think (and I’m sure no one was, but don’t you always think that when you’re doing new workouts?). I was doing something that was good for me. I was proud of myself. It wasn’t perfect, but I was getting it done.

I want to encourage anyone who feels like they’re on autopilot to shake it up a little. You don’t have to make a big change (or maybe you do?) – just step outside of your comfort zone. Try the new things. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. Do something even if you don’t think you can. Write out your goals. Read and learn about what you want to do. Find support. Give yourself that gift.

What’s something you’d like to do? Share in the comments! I’d love to hear what other people are doing, and you never know if your journey can spark someone else’s.



  1. says

    Hi Jen!

    I also have been stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s tough (especially for type a people)! You know from IG that I have decided now is the time to quit smoking and then on July 6th I will be starting the whole30 too! A LOT of change in a small amount of time, and I’m the captain of my works wellness challenge group to get 8000 steps a day for 3 months (if my team completes this, then our medical insurance rate is discounted). But I feel that doing all of these things staggered, yet at the same time, will help me keep my mind off of what I’m not doing anymore (smoking, mindless eating, sitting around, etc).

    Someone recently told me… “you aren’t a loser until you have completely decided to give up” and that completely resonated with me! Baby steps and who knows, maybe something will become a new normal for me and for you!

    • Jen says

      Ramona I know you’ll do GREAT! It’s so hard to uproot your lifestyle but I really think it makes us better people! Best of luck with your whole30! I LOVE how you’re keeping track of your no smoking journey! Congrats!

  2. Jade Joseph says

    You inspire me! I wouldn’t have started Whole 30 if it weren’t for you. And this post is perfect for me — I need to get out of my comfort zone and try new things! Love your blog; I need to remember to check it more often. If only I had a planner or something… haha

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