5 reasons to try something new Craving a challenge? Tired of the same daily routine? Now is the perfect time to try something new By Jackie Middleton iStockphoto.com Risks come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re working up the courage to ask for a raise, change your hairstyle, or skydive, all desire involves an element of risk. The good news is that a small step can be just as beneficial as a big leap. If you’re keen to try something new, here are five reasons you should. 1. You’ll become more resilient Risk promotes resilience, which is the ability to bounce back from the challenges life throws you. According to Michael Ungar, co-director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University in Halifax and author of Too Safe for Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive (McClelland & Stewart), taking a gamble on new experiences gives you “the risk-taker advantage.” “Exposure to manageable amounts of risk is like immunization against future stress,” he says. Even if the outcome isn’t positive—for example, if you fall on your first attempt at downhill skiing—you’ll learn what to do differently next time. And once you’ve taken that first tumble, you’ll be less stressed about trying again. 2. Risk enriches your life Feeling bored? Your life will feel more fulfilling and vibrant if you take risks. “We are designed to seek out novelty,” says Ungar. And according to Sharon Good, a “Life, Career and Creativity Coach” at Good Life Coaching in New York, taking risks is “exciting, and broadens the world of possibilities. When we shy away from things, our world becomes smaller.” Just think what you’re missing if you take the same vacation year after year. A different destination can introduce you to new friendships, experiences and cultures. Going somewhere unfamiliar might make you nervous, but there’s a good chance a new adventure will leave you revitalized in ways you never expected. 3. Risk increases confidence and improves life skills “When you succeed, it feels great and increases courage and self-esteem,” says Good. To attain a positive outcome, Good recommends getting help and support. “If you're lacking a skill or knowledge, find someone who has it who can support you,” she says. By preparing for risk, your odds of success will grow. “You’ll develop new skills, new capacities,” says Ungar. “Push yourself and experiment. It reinforces the ‘I can do it’ attitude.” 4. You’ll have fewer regrets Imagine if you didn’t go on that first date with your husband! Or if you turned down that big job offer! Life would be quite different. Wonderful outcomes arise when you step outside of your comfort zone. And if you never take that chance, you might be left with regrets and what-ifs. “When we dare and take the risk of trying, we may fail, but we may also succeed,” says Good. “Think of the quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.: ‘Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.’” 5. You’ll inspire others The positives of risk-taking can rub off on your loved ones. Consider a mom who sets out to run her first marathon. “The 40-year-old who decides to run will be showing her kids that life is a process—that we [continue to] change and adapt” says Ungar. “You don’t have to get stuck.”Get inspired to try something new! Check out what other Canadians are trying as well as confidence-boosting changes.