How to Push Yourself to Try New (& Brave!) Activities

Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer

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Part of exploring your surroundings means also exploring your own fears and limitations. Whether you've lived in a city for a long time or have just recently moved to the area, pushing yourself to try a new and fun activity will not only show you a side of your city you've never seen before — it'll show you a new and fresh side to yourself. Here are some ideas to think about.

The trick is to choose something you've always been curious about trying but been a little too scared to take the leap — not something you have zero interest in ever trying (like I have no urge to skydive ever, but have actually wanted to learn how to salsa).

This is a great way to reconnect with past interests that you've forgotten or neglected. Used to paint when you were a kid? Enroll in some painting classes! Used to love ballet? Find an exercise class that uses ballet moves. The point is to push yourself a bit — and find a sense of pride after you take that leap!

Want to increase your chances of actually taking a chance? Do these things first:

Gather all the information
Knowing as much info as possible — like how early to show up to your event or class and what to bring — will help cut down on the nerves.

Pay ahead
Knowing that you've already plopped down dough for a class or activity will make you more likely to show up.

Drag along a buddy
A friend by your side might make finally taking that yoga class a little less scary!

Brag about it beforehand (publicly)
Then you've got to do it, if you've Facebooked about it!

Below is a list of ideas just to get you started — we'd love to hear in the comments below your favorite activities in your city that are worth joining in.

Take dance lessons
Nothing will break you out of your comfort zone faster than learning how to salsa. And getting a move on things is always a way to have fun and forget that you were essentially terrified to join up.

Try that Pilates/spin/yoga class
Tired of doing the same machines day in and day out at your gym? Join the enthusiastic group of gym-goers who know the secret to a good workout and a good time — take a workout class! Or find an outdoor yoga class or one that meets at an art museum to get a sweat on and see a part of your city from a new perspective.

Go see a movie or eat out at a restaurant by yourself
If you haven't yet enjoyed the pleasures of a solo trip to a movie theater or a restaurant by yourself, I highly recommend it. And leave that phone at home so you don't use it like a lonely crutch. You'll be surprised by how much more you notice when you don't have a screen or a conversation taking up your attention.

Learn how to do something with your hands
Finally learn how to use that sewing machine that's been gathering dust on a shelf in your closet by taking some classes! Or join an informal knitting group at a coffee shop to finally make a sweater. Go to your local hardware store and learn how to fix something around your home.

Join a meet-up group
The Meetup website is where you can find photographers getting together to improve each other's skills to hiking groups to cavers. Never met an unfriendly person through this site.

Improv comedy
The most welcoming — and funny — folks in your city are probably hiding at your local improv comedy club (or possibly at an open mic at a coffee shop if your city doesn't have an improv club). Consider signing up for classes (most give you a first class free) or go to a night where they're just playing to see how it's done. It's a great way to meet new people.

Don't forget about volunteer opportunities
Always wanted to learn how to do something or try something but they don't teach classes in your area? Look for volunteer or apprentice opportunities. Just offer to do the work for free to learn — from being a pastry chef to gardening, if there's something you've always wanted to know more about, do it! And use your beautiful city as the backdrop.

So how do you get out of your comfort zone in your city? What brave or fun activities have you tried that are now one of your favorite things to do? Let us know in the comments below!

Visit the Guide to the Perfect Summer main page for links to all of the posts published so far or sign up to have them delivered directly to you each weekend.

(Image credits: Fancy Tiger's Crafty Cute Shop and Classroom; Janel Laban)

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Adrienne photographs beautiful homes in and around her home base of Austin, Texas. She's a contributor to UPPERCASE Magazine and spends all her free time exploring small town Texas. She watches a lot of Star Trek.