31 Risks Everyone Needs to Try This Month

updated Oct 2, 2019
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Credit: Jenny Chang-Rodriguez

Welcome to Risk Month at Apartment Therapy. For the month of October, we’ll look at what risk means in the context of home—whether it’s taking a big design risk when creating your home, dealing with the inherent risks that are associated with owning a home, or anything that involves putting yourself out there without knowing what awaits on the other side. Check out all of our Risk Month content here.

When someone encourages you to take a risk, it’s easy to instantly imagine bungee jumping or diving with great white sharks. In reality, though, taking a risk can be as simple as cooking something brand new for dinner, or taking up a new hobby out of the blue.

Sure, taking a risk can sometimes mean something traditionally scary or anxiety-inducing (public speaking, anyone?), but it doesn’t have to. And reframing how you view and define risks is actually the first step to taking more risks in your day-to-day life.

And taking more risks? It’s really good for you.

Why is it important to take risks in life?

As the Huffington Post reported, risk-taking not only exposes you to dozens of positive outcomes you never would have experienced before, but it also boosts your confidence, and helps you let go of the fear of failing. If you’ve ever started a new career, asked someone out on a date, or tried out for a sports team, then you probably know all too well that fear of failure is almost always the thing that holds us back from doing something. 

So if there’s a way to get used to risk-taking, and to prime yourself for being able and willing to take on bigger and bigger risks, then it only benefits you to start getting used to the process ASAP, little by little. Lucky for all of us, a new month means new opportunities for change. This month, why not use those fresh starts to take some risks? How about 31 risks, to be exact?

Whether you want to be more bold in your home design choices or finally work up the guts to bake a cake from scratch (hey, it can be pretty intimidating), here are 31 risks for the 31 days of October. 

Oct. 1: Wear the item in your closet that you never, ever wear. 

Sure, this seems small, but it will force you to finally wear that thing in your closet that you never wear (come on, you know the one). It will also force you to finally donate or sell said item if you just can’t bring yourself to wear it at all. 

Oct. 2: Take a brand-new workout class

If you’re used to spinning, try yoga. If you’re used to yoga, try spinning. If you’ve done it all, try something a little weirder, like an aerial yoga class or underwater spin class. 

Oct. 3: Send fan mail. 

OK, this one might seem a little weird if you’re no longer a teenager, but seriously, try it out. Think of someone who inspires you and actually take the deliberate time out of your day to tell them why. You might be surprised how inspired you feel after. 

Credit: Jenny Chang-Rodriguez

Oct. 4: Rearrange all your furniture.

Yup, all of it. Even if you don’t think you need to, you might be surprised at how different you feel after it’s all said and done.

Oct. 5: Paint a piece of art for your wall.

Have one big spot on your wall you’ve been wanting to fill with artwork, but haven’t found just the right piece? Paint some art for yourself. It might not work out, but on the other hand, you might end up with something great for a fraction of the price of something professional. 

Oct. 6: Spend $100 on something impulsive.

Whether it’s the one rug you just can’t stop thinking about or the dress you’ve been dreaming about for ages, take a risk and put $100 toward it (and if you can’t quite afford it this month, then pick an item you want to splurge on and start saving so you can do it a month or more from today). You might be surprised at the boost you get from treating yourself. 

Oct. 7: Cook a recipe you’ve never attempted before.

If you stick to your go-to recipes every week, switch things up and try something you’ve never had before. Even if it’s a bit ambitious or beyond your expertise, the challenge will be worth it.

Oct. 8: Skip your morning coffee. 

I know, I know. This one makes me cringe too. But think about it—do you really need it? How does your body react if you don’t have it? Try skipping coffee (or tea) this morning and see how you feel. And hey, maybe you can save some money on that Starbucks habit, too.

Credit: Jenny Chang-Rodriguez

Oct. 9: Watch a genre of show or movie you usually avoid.

If you never watch documentaries or avoid comedy specials at all costs, try out one of them tonight. Heck, try out any kind of film or television show that you usually avoid. You’ll probably be surprised at what you end up liking and maybe even inspired to go beyond your comfort zone in the future. 

Oct. 10: Host a dinner party. 

If you’re intimidated at the idea of cooking for others or having people over for dinner, make yourself try it out tonight (take your cues from the Crappy Dinner Party rule book). It’ll be something nice to look forward to at the end of a long week, and you’ll probably love having a cozy night at home with friends. Plus, it’s hard to mess up wine, even if the cooking doesn’t go according to plan. 

Oct. 11: Do stand up at an open mic night—or even just in front of your friends. 

Almost everyone has thought about professionally telling jokes at one point or another, whether they’ll admit it or not, so why not try it? If you’re too scared to do an official open mic night, try one at home with your partner or your friends. 

Oct. 12: Have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. 

Pancakes for dinner, anyone?

Oct. 13: Tell someone a secret. 

Everyone has little secrets that seem much bigger than they actually are. Try casually telling someone close to you one of the secrets and see what happens.

Oct. 14: Actually answer when someone asks how you are.

No more, “I’m fine!” if you’re not actually fine. Be honest and vulnerable instead. 

Credit: Jenny Chang-Rodriguez

Oct. 15: Make it a goal to meet one stranger. 

It can be hard to talk to strangers, but it is even harder to actually meet strangers. Just try to think of the last time you talked to someone you’ve never met before while taking a walk or going to dinner and actually learned their name. Make it a goal to learn one stranger’s name today and you might be surprised what else you learn.

Oct. 16: Apply for your dream job.

Whatever your dream job is, do a quick search online for it and when you find it, actually apply and see what happens. Even if you don’t hear back, you’ll probably feel empowered just by taking the chance. 

Oct. 17: Have dinner by yourself.

Doing something alone can be terrifying. It’s easy to worry that someone is judging you or you won’t know how to fill the time. But try bringing a book and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Oct. 18: Go to a movie by yourself. 

Is a long dinner too intimidating? Try taking yourself out on a date to that movie you’ve been dying to see. Get your favorite snacks, choose your favorite seat, and you’re set. 

Oct. 19: Say yes to everything for a day. 

If a friend asks you to go to a sports game you usually hate or your parents ask a favor of you, just say yes. For the whole day. 

Credit: Jenny Chang-Rodriguez

Oct. 20: Have a day with zero plans. 

When’s the last time you woke up in the morning with nothing planned? Not a meal, not a chore, not a social outing—nothing? Try it out and don’t worry about productivity or anything else. 

Oct. 21: Paint one wall in a room. 

Statement wall, anyone? Plus, if you hate it, you only have to repaint one wall.

Oct. 22: Bake bread from scratch. 

In theory, baking bread can seem like a recipe (no pun intended) for disaster if you’re a novice baker. It’s actually quite simple, though. Plus, it makes the house smell amazing. Here are five beginner bread recipes, if you don’t know where to start.

Oct. 23: If you usually wear makeup, wear zero for a change. If you wear nothing, try out a new product—or a full face. 

Trying out a new look can feel odd, but it might actually bring you newfound confidence. If you’re not a makeup person, try out a nail color, hair product, or even just a new sample scent.

Oct. 24: Ask someone to be your mentor, officially.

If there’s someone you’ve always admired in your industry, why don’t you ask them to be your mentor—formally? It can feel like sort of a vulnerable request, but most likely whoever you ask will be flattered.

Credit: Jenny Chang-Rodriguez

Oct. 25: Move your TV out of your bedroom for the weekend. 

If you have a TV in your bedroom, try taking it out of the room for the weekend and seeing how it affects your sleep patterns. 

Oct. 26: Make a cocktail from scratch. 

Be your own bartender for a cozy Saturday evening at home. If you’re a beginner, here are 20 cocktail recipes that are easy enough to know by heart, or search for all sorts of cocktail recipes from our friends at Kitchn. Don’t partake in alcohol? No problem! Making mocktails is equally fun and engaging.

Oct. 27: Watch the movie you’re the most scared of.

Halloween is approaching, so scary movies are everywhere. If you usually avoid them or have one you haven’t worked up the guts to watch before, do it anyway.  Watching scary movies together is supposed to make couples happier, so if you’re in a relationship, you’ve got that going for you, too. If you need help finding the right one, here’s a guide to the best scary movies by zodiac sign.

Oct. 28: Ask a stranger to take your photo. 

If there’s something you’ve always wanted a photo in front of, ask a stranger to take your photo and pose confidently. You’ll be happy you have those photos one day, even if it does feel awkward to have your photo taken by a stranger. 

Oct. 29: Make a flower arrangement and give it to a stranger.

Giving flowers to a total stranger can feel a little awkward, and making a floral arrangement if you’re not a professional is also a little intimidating, but what’s the worst that could happen other than making someone’s day?

Credit: Jenny Chang-Rodriguez

Oct. 30: Decorate for Halloween if you never have before. 

Even if you’ve never decorated your home for a holiday, try it out (even if it’s just in the form of a pumpkin or two) just for one day. These 13 (spooky!) Halloween decor ideas are perfect for the last minute.

Oct. 31: Give out the extra large candy bars to trick-or-treat-ers instead of the minis.

Yes, it costs a little bit more money. But trust me, the reaction of every child (and adult) on your block will be very, very worth it. Here’s the best Halloween candy for every zodiac sign, if you need some candy-shopping guidance.