1. Apply for a job you never think you’d get. Not even in a million years. Just to see what happens.
2. Sign up for a class on something you’re completely unfamiliar with. Ballet. Sewing. Kickboxing. Cake decorating. Improv. Spanish. It doesn’t matter. Trying something new with people you don’t know is terrifying but exhilarating.
3. Change your hairstyle. Cut it really short. Or give yourself layers. Or buzz it. Or color it. Change it to something you’ve never done before and see how different it makes you feel.
4. Set a specific goal for yourself and tell people about it, so that you feel forced to follow through on it. Sign up for a marathon or decide to move to a new city or just decide you’re going to cut soda out of your diet. No matter how big or small it is, it’s exciting to say you’re going to do something and then actually do it.
5. Those double-chin pictures you always send to your besties on Snapchat for 3 seconds? Just make it your story for everyone to see. Go ahead. I dare you. You’d be surprised at how liberating and non-embarrassing it is.
6. Hold eye contact with someone for longer than they are used to. Whether it’s your coworker or someone on the subway or the cashier at the coffee shop you go to, just look at them for a second longer than most people do (aka look at them for 2 seconds) and see what happens.
7. Tell someone you love them. It doesn’t have to be a first-time “I love you” with your significant other. Just tell your dad or your grandma or your high school best friend or someone else that you haven’t said it to in a while. It can be uncomfortable and awkward and freeing and satisfying.
8. Create something and then show it to someone. Write something or learn to play a song on an instrument or draw something or paint a picture or build a website. Make something out of nothing and then share it with somebody else.
9. Learn something about a subject that you know nothing about. Said subject could be quantum physics, but it could also just be the news. So if you can’t think of a good place to start, start with what’s generally going on in the world.
10. If you’re a girl, go out in public one day without make-up. You might feel weird at first. And you’ll probably convince yourself that everyone is staring at you and judging you. 1) They’re not and 2) It feels so good to have a clean face all day. You might even be inspired enough to do it more than once.
11. Eat whatever you want in front of other people and don’t apologize for it or say you shouldn’t be doing it. If you go out to dinner with a bunch of friends and you want dessert, order dessert. No one is going to be judging you. There’s just going to be wishing they also had a brownie sundae in front of them.
12. Give a random compliment to a stranger. Tell that girl in line behind you that you love her blue peacoat, or tell that sweet dad that his son is adorable. You’ll be surprised and delighted and how big of a smile you usually get in return.
13. Every time you meet someone new, try to remember their name after the first introduction. When you can immediately remember their name without having to ask for it again, people are flattered and impressed. And they will make a point to remember you too. And if they have to get your name a second time, they’ll make a point not to forget it after that.
14. Start talking to someone you don’t know at a party, without being first introduced by a mutual friend. Find out their name and why they’re there and who they know and what they like to do in their spare time. Ask questions. Learn about someone else’s life story without worrying about how you’re going to fit information about yourself into the conversation. Try to remember everything they say without zoning out and thinking about something else.
15. Plan a trip out of the blue to see an old friend. Buy a last-minute plane ticket, or jump in your car, or, even if they live in the same city, just send them a text and ask them if they want to meet up. Don’t worry about explaining yourself or saying you wish you could be a better friend or that your schedule wasn’t so busy. Instead, just enjoy the experience together without trying to apologize for time getting in the way.
16. If someone gives you a compliment, don’t try to minimize it or make yourself seem less impressive. You can still be humble and confident at the same time. If someone tells you they love your dress, just say “thank you” instead of explaining that it’s old and hideous and you paid $10 for it. Enjoy the compliment, and don’t feel the need to be embarrassed about it.