Don’t take a personal day – take an Inspiration Day

Have you ever felt the urge to explore a totally different field, skill or interest for a while?

Don’t feel like you have the time? You could probably take the plunge and really do it if it was just for one day. Anyone can manage to do something for one single day.

sunrise over maui

Take an inspiration day

What is it you’d like to try, if you only had the time? Music? Programming? Web design? Entrepreneurship? Camping? A new exercise? A better way of eating? A new social group?

But then of course, you talk yourself out of it, don’t you? You probably tell yourself things like:

I can’t be starting something new right now.

I have too many other things to deal with.

It would take a big commitment to get anywhere with this, and I don’t have that kind of time.

I’m not ready to transition yet.

>> The future is now: How to stop procrastination

No one is forcing you to commit, though. Commitment is unnecessary at this point. Why not simply taste and sample your new interest? Give it a day to impress you.

Do it for just one day

Set aside one day to explore your new interest. Say yes to it for one day only. During that day, let it guide you, lead you, and make its case for further exploration.

  • Video: Film some video with your phone, fire up iMovie (or go online and try a site like Magisto or WeVideo), and make your first movie. You’ll learn a great deal by doing.
  • Music: Fire up GarageBand (or an app like Music Maker Jam or a website like Hookpad) and try writing your very first song. It’ll probably suck, but so what? It will be your own creation.
  • follow the yellow brick roadArt: Go to an art supply store, tell an employee you want to try painting, and ask for help to buy the bare minimum supplies you need to paint for one day. Take it home, and paint the day away. See what flows through you. Maybe you’re more creative than you realize.
  • Shop: Go out and visit stores you wouldn’t ordinarily visit. Talk to the salespeople. Ask all the questions you can think of. Become as much of an expert as you can in one day.
  • Try veganism: Go vegan for a day, and you’ll save more water than you would by not showering for a year. There are thousands of free recipes online, so use a search engine to find some. Make a shopping list, cook up a storm, and have a feast.
  • Gym: Read about the equipment in a part of the gym you never visit and learn some exercises you can do, then do a full workout there. It will give you a nice sense of accomplishment.
  • Sports: Have you ever played tennis? Disc golf? The equipment is cheap. Go have your first game.
  • Know more: Spend a day researching and reading about a whole new field — like maybe the one that seems to keep coming up for you recently.
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After that one immersive day, you’ll be a slightly different person. You’ll have a fresher understanding of your interest. And you’ll be in a better position to assess and evaluate whether you’d like to explore it further.

>> Maintaining the momentum to make a change

Maybe one day is all you need. You satisfied your curiosity and discovered that the door wasn’t for you. That’s a good outcome, since you won’t have to worry about those distracting urges for years to come.

But maybe that day triggers many more questions. You got a taste, but it wasn’t enough. You want more. So take more inspiration days, half days, quarter days, or whatever you need to continue your exploration. Lean into it more.

Or maybe that day was amazing — full of rapid learning and encouraging progress. You walked through a door and discovered a delightful new path. Wonderful! Keep going. Let the inspiration continue to motivate you.

Still uninspired? Eliminate distractions

What if nothing inspires you? Then you’re not listening very well. If you can’t hear the voice of inspiration, turn down the volume of everything else. Turn off the distractions like the constantly buzzing phone, sit quietly by yourself, and take an hour to simply listen. Reflect on your life, your lifestyle, your work or school, your relationships, your finances, and your body. Listen to your thoughts. Hear yourself think. Notice your feelings.

What’s nudging you to change, grow, or shift? Where do you notice a pushing or pulling sensation? Where’s the dissatisfaction? Where’s the disappointment? Where’s the gentle request to try something new and different?

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Maybe you have many commitments already. Maybe you’re busy. Maybe you have some great excuses. Give your inspirations an outlet anyway — a small slice of your time. Otherwise they’ll poke you… then nag you… then eventually overload you with regret.

Give inspiration a day to make its case. Open the box and peer inside. Listen, taste, and explore.

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