It all started after a rather dramatic, and tragic ending to my six-year relationship with the person I thought I would end up marrying and starting a family with. I decided to take a big step back to focus on myself for a change. I began to practice doing things alone such as, traveling, going to dinner solo and going out to see movies, without a date or a friend to keep me company. I began to get a major grasp on what I wanted out of life and discover who I was as a woman. But, it did not happen over night. I dedicated 365 days to make it happen.
After my relationship ended with “Mr. Not So Charming After All” and having dated other guys in between our breakups and all of that, I knew I needed some serious time to understand the reasons the relationship failed. I wanted to understand why it failed so that I could avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
More importantly, I wanted to live my life the way I had always desired and to break free of bad habits weighing me down.
Side note: I spent the majority of my early twenties hanging out with people I could hardly stand, trying to impress people I didn’t even like, being told what to and not to wear, what I was going to do for this holiday and what vacation I would be going on that year with a family who didn’t even want me around. It was time for me to take charge of my own life and live it how I chose, not how someone else wanted me to.
Once I decided to take some time for myself and refrain from getting tied down to a relationship (no matter who it was), I began to feel free and ridiculously happy (for the first time in a while). I was focused on stepping out of my comfort zone every day.
For my 26th Birthday, I flew first class to Oahu and stayed on the top floor of a killer hotel (Aston Waikiki) looking out to the crystal clear ocean right there below my balcony. It was paradise. (Read: 10 Reasons Solo Vacations Are Better)
It takes a lot of courage to go up to a hostess at any restaurant and ask for a table for one. Not to mention sit in a movie theater to see some new flick that just came out by yourself in a room full of couples (UGH!). But, practicing doing these things, will help build your independence. It helps lessen your dependency to “need” to have someone by your side all of the time.
Learn to do things alone. Don’t be afraid to get out there. Going solo is therapeutic.
Many people feel like they have to run in packs, because they are too afraid to run solo. They may look at you and say you’re an outcast, but wouldn’t you rather be an outcast than a conformist? Wouldn’t you rather be a leader than another follower?
I recommend a “365 Challenge” for anyone who feels like that have spent way too long tied down to someone or something. If you’re unclear about what direction your life is going in, try it. If you want to experience more and broaden your horizons, now is the time.
And by the way, I’m not suggesting you go file for a divorce or get up and leave your family because you’ve decided to be a gypsy and backpack around Bali. No, I am simply suggesting that you practice doing things out of your comfort zone.
For an example, yesterday I went to the driving range in the morning and hit 100 golf balls. Yes, I went alone and it was incredibly therapeutic. I turned Pandora on my phone, enjoyed the smell of the fresh cut grass and took in the beautiful scenery.
By practice doing more of what you want to do, you will find yourself enjoying the simple pleasures in life and knowing that even being alone you can still have a good time no matter where you are. I recommend seeing a movie, even if no one is free to go with you. Book a seat at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Go to the driving range and turn on some relaxing tunes. Take a drive through a back road. Attend a class at church or a local event, even if it’s just for a day or a few hours. Roam Barnes and Nobles. Redecorate your apartment. Even the slightest adjustments can make a difference.
Pick a date and begin your 365 Challenge. Do not forget to journal your experiences.
Also, talk to your friends and family. Tell them what you’re doing and why. It’s important to have a healthy support group set up, so they can encourage you to meet your goals and motivate you to live the life of your dreams.
After my 365 Challenge, I was more comfortable in my own skin than I had ever been before. I met some awesome people who I never expected to meet and to be my mentors (one particularly). I began doing more of what I enjoyed, I became my authentic self without any doubts about who I was or what I wanted in life. I learned who my true friends were. I had so many wonderful things happen in those 365 days than I could ever imagined before I started.
Let me know what your 365 Challenge is like! I want to hear your progress. Let me know if you have questions and want to know more or would like some ideas.