#85 Investigate New Restaurants

It was so much of a routine that when the bartender saw us sit down she automatically ordered our appetizers and placed the margaritas in front of us.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#85

Investigate New Restaurants

For years, our Friday Night Date Night was routine. We took off a little early and then headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant for margaritas and dinner. It was so much of a routine that when the bartender saw us sit down she automatically ordered our appetizers and placed the margaritas in front of us. People nearby would often ask one of us if we had ‘ordered ahead’. While that routine was kind of nice and predictable it prevented us from discovering new restaurants. Since Harlan’s death, I’ve made an effort to discover new Friday night jaunts.

Recommendations

One of the first places I turned to were friends and family. I wanted to know what their favorite eatery was and why. I started my list. It’s always nice to have a personal recommendation when visiting someplace – especially by someone who knows you and is considerate of your time and budget. Most people are candid if they believe you won’t enjoy a certain experience.

Yelp

This is a great ‘recommendation’ app for smartphones. Generally, you can access the menu there and see photographs that have been taken by other people who’ve eaten there. Of course you can read their ‘reviews’ and determine if it’s a place you want to try. I’ve found that its necessary to read through a number of review in order to get a balanced perspective. Sometimes, people are having a bad day and leave solid derogatory review for a small infraction.

OpenTable

This is another smartphone app that is mostly for reservations; you won’t find every restaurant here but those who are will typically leave a table or two specifically for people who request tables through the app. Case in point: on a beautiful spring day in Baltimore, we strolled along the waterfront and decided to have lunch at a waterfront restaurant. When we approached the maitre d’, he told us it would be a 90 minute wait. We knew we didn’t want to wait that long so we found a bench and I checked Open Table to see what was available in our location. That very restaurant had a table for 4 available in 15 minutes. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch overlooking the Baltimore harbor that day and I spent just a few minutes being just a little smug about the work-around.

Dinner Club

If you really need inspiration, start a dinner club with a couple of friends or family members. Plan to meet once a month at a different restaurant each time. There’s a certain sense of adventure that you’ll experience in doing so and even if there’s a less-than-great meal now and then – you’ll at least have had fun with people you care about.

Be brave, trash the routine, and give your taste buds an adventure by…

Investigating new restaurants.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#93 Change Your Routine

It can mean eating with your left hand instead of your right. It can mean eating at a different hour.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#93

Change Your Routine

Many of us work diligently to settle into a routine that offers comfort, stability, and predictability. Routines offer a sense of safety that is critical to the well-being of some people yet it can also be the crux of a rut. Especially when this is the case – it is necessary to change things up a bit and shift or redesign  your routine.

Break a Rut

After a while of doing the same thing day after day, life can feel monotonous. We begin to engage in daily tasks without much thought – allowing us to step out of the present moment and stop living in awareness. Changing our routine can break up that rut.

Memory

Changing your routine is a great way to exercise memory, an important activity as we age. When we challenge our mind to think – to be in the present and aware of what is happening – we are firing neurons that are necessary for memory function. It’s like greasing the gears.

Learning

Changing routines – discovering new ways to do things – helps us learn. It may be that there’s an easier and more efficient way to do something since that last time that we set the ball in motion. Learning new things – staying current and relevant – helps us remain connected to modern day to day activity; it can help us feel younger.

Details

Changing your routine doesn’t mean getting up at a different hour or taking a different train to work necessarily. It can mean eating with your left hand instead of your right. It can mean eating at a different hour. It can mean working out after work instead of before. Change doesn’t have to be a big inconvenience, it can be simple and subtle yet still make a difference.

If you’re in a rut, want to work your memory, or concerned that you’re getting left behind, an easy way to address any of those issues is to …

Change your routine.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#246 Do Something Unexpected

The term ‘go big or go home’ is novel and sounds brave but could be financially or emotionally expensive and perhaps not a good way to get your feet wet with the experience of variety.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#246

Do something unexpected

Are you predictable?

Is there someone in your life that finishes your sentences? Do people make decisions for you based on historical data? Are you in a stagnant place; doing the same thing day in and day out? When life becomes too certain or too predictable, it can become boring. While we all need certainty to some extent, too much of it is not a good thing. Stability is a great thing but it needs to occasionally be sprinkled with variety with the understanding that tolerance for the unexpected is totally personal.

Take Control

For those of us who covet certainty, it’s a good idea to take some control of the variety we need and the best way to do this is to get up and do something unexpected. Make sure you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to experiencing any change up in routine. I’m not suggesting any wild or crazy things necessarily although if you’ve always been skittish about heights and suddenly express an urge to go bungee jumping, that may make sense. However, leaving a job that sustains your livelihood without another way to meet your obligations probably won’t be in your best interest overall.

Take a Risk

In order to step out of your comfort zone and do the unexpected – you must assume some amount of risk. For this reason, it is suggested that you start small – especially if you are just now stepping out. The term ‘go big or go home’ is novel and sounds brave but could be financially or emotionally expensive and perhaps not a good way to get your feet wet with the experience of variety. Be responsible and take calculated risks or the whole ‘certainty’ issue becomes more cemented.

Benefits

Doing the unexpected builds confidence both in yourself and in you for those around you. It requires courage and bravery to step out into the unknown. Even if you are certain of the results, doing something that no one would anticipate can be a recipe for surprise and entertainment; both of which contribute significantly to feelings of happiness.

Do yourself a favor and keep life interesting by making a commitment to …

Do something unexpected.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#337 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Either rearrange your perfunctory behaviors or add something significant. Beginning something new is especially effective when it is constructive to personal growth. Begin a gratitude journal or take a class; learn a new language or how to play an instrument.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#337

Change your routine

How often do you feel you’re in a rut? Do you ever get the sense that life is just full of habits, routine, and rituals? Perhaps mostly unconscious?  Has your daily routine become mundane?

You see, moving along in the rut of routine can impact our ability to be notice life. It becomes so rote that we enter autopilot mode and tend to fall asleep at the wheel, so to speak. Remember that time when you arrived at your destination but noticed that you had no recollection of actually driving there? That’s how easy it is for our brains to check out… to shift into unawareness.

What doesn’t grow, will eventually die and so when you notice monotony settling into your day to day life it’s important to be aware. It’s a loud and clear signal that some element of your routine needs to be rearranged. Perhaps you go for a walk after breakfast instead of before. Maybe you eat your largest meal around noon and lighten it up in the evening.

Deleting habits that aren’t productive can also be beneficial. If you habitually wake up, pour coffee, and light a smoke… try waking up – meditating (or praying) for 5 minutes – and shower before grabbing your coffee. Set the alarm 30 min earlier and take a walk, go to the gym after work, or make dinner from scratch. Making these small changes to your daily activities can produce enough variety to kick you out of the doldrums. Getting out of that rut may be a simple tweek, as you just…

Change your routine.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.