10 Ways to Break the Mold in 2016

The end of one year and start of another is cause for reflection on what we learned over the past 12 months and hope that the next 12 will bring happiness, good health and new experiences. Yet time and time again many of us find ourselves falling back into our old routines. We skip the gym, don’t put our car keys in the basket and forget to count to three before screaming at a customer service rep for something she had nothing to do with. Make 2016 different. It’s worth it.

Studies show that people who try new things are more likely to be happier than those who don’t. It can help you cope with unexpected changes and push you out of your comfort zone in other aspects of your life. Think finally asking your boss for a raise or for a work-from-home-day each month. Don’t look at this story as a to-do list of everything you must accomplish in 2016. I get you’re too busy for that. Instead, pick one or two that interest you and make the time to learn and grow because those are two things you should never stop doing. Get ready for a happier New Year.

Travel To a Foreign Country – Alone

Exploring a place on your own terms can be incredibly freeing, especially if you feel like you’re constantly living on everyone else’s time.

Take a Cross-Country Road Trip

Badlands National Park credit: sophia dembling

Badlands National Park credit: sophia dembling

If you’re not ready to do it alone or a trip out of the country isn’t in the cards, pack up the car and travel across the country. Get tips on how to (loosely) plan the perfect road trip.

Sign Up For a Road Race

image: istockphoto.com

image: istockphoto.com

Every year you promise you’re going to get in shape. Make this the year it finally happens by training for a road race. Ask Long Island natives Noah Lam and Ginger Bosak, who ran in the first Suffolk County Marathon & Half Marathon to Support Our Veterans: training for races is a great way to shed pounds and hold yourself accountable. If an uber-long distance run isn’t your thing, sign up for a color run, 5k or even a tough mudder for the truly daring. The important thing is to have fun while staying fit. Get started by downloading an app for runners.

Climb a Mountain

Enjoy the sounds of nature, a great workout and a gorgeous view. Climbing a mountain can be therapeutic and rewarding.

Take a Class

Learn to cook gourmet meals, play the flute, figure skate, speak another language…whatever you want to set your mind to. You may never be a top chef or Olympian, but you’ll learn something new each lesson and that’s something to cheer about.

Redecorate Your Bedroom

image: tim williams

image: tim williams

Not to give you more housework, but if you’re tired of staring at the same pale yellow wall every morning and night, think about revamping your bedroom. From bold colors to pretty pinks, patterns and fabrics, the possibilities for a room revamp are endless. These five apps will help you plan everything out.

Host a Dinner Party

Did you take that cooking class? Now, put your new culinary skills to work by hosting a dinner party. Our eight favorite delicious lobster recipes are an ambitious but tasty place to start.

Recreate Your First Date

Remember your first date with your SO, when you spent a little extra time on your outfit and had butterflies in your stomach all night long? Between bills, kids, work, bills, social schedules and more bills, you’ve lost some of those blissful on-the-edge-of-your-seat feelings. Go back to where it all began. Wear a similar color, greet each other the same way you did that first night and ask each other when you knew it would last forever. If you’ve moved away, try a restaurant that’s similar and recreate the rest.

Take Up a New Sport

image: peter miller

image: peter miller

I already talked about running, but if you’ve always been more of a stick-and-ball type person, opt for taking up a new sport instead. You don’t have to wait until the snow melts either. Try your favorite Olympic sport curling or get your golf game started this winter.

Unplug for an Entire Weekend

Take a break from holding your work e-mail in the palm of your hand and actually enjoy a ping-free dinner with your spouse. See if you can last for two whole days without your smartphone. Your reward? A new energy on Monday morning, which will help you kick ass and take names at work.

beth ann clyde

beth ann clyde

Beth Ann Clyde is a social strategist of Long Island Pulse. Have a story idea or just want to say hello? Email bethann@lipulse.com or reach out on Twitter @BAClyde.