The Courage to Try Something New

Posted by on Apr 16, 2012 in Inspiration | 70 comments


“Never be afraid to try something new.  
Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.  A large group of professionals built the Titanic.”

~Dave Barry


Over the years there have been many times I jumped right into trying something new.  Sewing, rock climbing, blogging, selling makeup, quilting, flower arranging, painting–

 try something new elmo overalls _opt

Elmo overalls I made for my niece.  My wall mural is the background.


Even if I didn’t take to something, at least I learned from it (like that I really don’t like selling makeup and I really can’t sew in a zipper).

But I don’t always try new things.  Habit tends to get in the way.  I get used to my routine.  I like my To Do lists and that satisfied feeling I get at the end of a productive day.

Habit makes it so easy to resist the new.

So does fear.  Maybe you never sign up for those dance classes because you think you will look silly doing the Argentine Tango.  Or stay quiet about that new project idea you had for work because it’s not what you usually do.

Trying something new often takes courage.

And sometimes I think we just plain forget the thrill that often accompanies something new.

 converse sequin

And it’s not only about creating or wearing something new.  It can be trying new foods.  I tried  Vietnamese food for the first time a couple of years ago and I love it.  But most of the time I stick with the same meals because it’s easier, one less thing to consider in regard to taste or nutrition.

But it’s definitely fun to try new food, experience a taste sensation–both good and not so good.  Like last week when I tried gluten free oat matzoh.

Now I can now officially say I’ve eaten cardboard.

Still it’s amazing how many sensory details I eked out of that experience.  Trying something new can get your neurons sparking again.  Sort of like what happens when you put oat matzoh in the oven–it spontaneously smokes at the slightest hint of warmth.  Your brain can get all warm and smoky too, but in a good way.

Plus trying something new can lift your mood.  This weekend my son was in a Spring-Break-is-Over-Funk and I knew I needed to nudge him.   So we all got up early and headed to the batting cages.  It was something neither of us had ever done.

 Try something new batting cage_opt


Funk dispelled.

Sometimes new things have the power to do that.

Tell me! Have you tried something new lately?  I would love to know.


  1. Just what I needed to read this morning and also learned there is a gluten-free oat matzoh. I eat a lot of cardboard these days, and as you say, your taste buds do rewire, just like the rest of your senses. Great post!


  2. I have to give this some thought. I would like to try something new. Thanks for the spark. Will get back to you on it Coleen

  3. You are so right with this one! Sometimes doing something new is hard. I get worried that I’m going to look like an idiot. It’s just easier to do something I’m already good at. But, it is so worth it when you actually do it, even if you don’t do it well. Thanks for the inspiration, Coleen. I’m going to try something new. Just not the matzoh! :)

  4. I’m very similar. I try different things, try to get a certain mastery of them, then move on. I’ve done that with knitting, crocheting, being green at home, blogging, writing…but writing is probably the one new thing I tried and found impossible to let go of.

    • I feel the same way. While writing the post I kept thinking I should put writing in as a thing I’ve tried, but it didn’t fit–because it feels like so much more than something I tried :)

  5. Super post Coleen, and those Elmo dungarees are gorgeous! Trying new things is daunting but so good for you.

  6. I haven’t teied anything new lately, and I have had to fight off the funk quite a bit – maybe that’s why! I think time constraints are my biggest barrier in that regard, but you’ve inspired me! Maybe I’ll try some flash fiction.
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..New Release! Travel back to prehistoric America in Time’s FugitiveMy Profile

    • Arrggh! That should be TRIED anything new. Stupid smartphone!

    • Oh flash fiction is a good one. I am always impressed when I read FF pieces on other people’s blogs. I have a hard time just writing a synopsis!

  7. I love those Elmo overalls, Coleen! I think I’ll put them on my Pinterest! I love your line, “Now I can now officially say I’ve eaten cardboard.” LOL! I’m always trying new foods. I recently tried red bell pepper soup at a restaurant, and it was one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever had! I’ve been more willing to try new things since I became a writer because we need to know how things feel, taste, etc., to describe them. Fun post, Coleen!

    • Thanks Lynn. I made those overalls seven years ago–I even sold some a few similar outfits on Ebay for a little bit. It was fun! I still geek out over pretty fabrics. :)
      That red bell pepper soup sounds yum!

  8. I need to try something new! Let’s think up a plan and do something new together :)

    • I know! We need to set a good example for the world traveling Phyllis!! She really knows how to try something new :)

  9. Ooh, I love those Elmo overalls. And the sneakers too.
    Last week I tried 3 new endings to my novel — does that count?
    I actually had fun mixing it up.

    • Of course it counts Beth! And creating 3 new endings sounds fun–although not without a lot of hard work I”m sure.

  10. I’m picturing the matzoh in the oven, smoking hehehe. I’ve never eaten such a thing, and probably won’t now that you’ve described it. But I’m all for trying new things. We only get one shot at life, we might as well sample everything! Sorta like a buffet :-D

  11. I’ve been dying to try Aikido. My son’s been taking it for over a year and the adult class is right after his. I’m scared silly though. Crazy, right? Working on it. Thanks for the push.

    • Not crazy Lisa. I’ve been holding on to a trapeze gift certificate for about 5 years now, and while I can blame distance for not having done it yet (it’s almost 2 hrs away), I don’t think that’s the only reason . . . :)

  12. Painting shakes me out of a funk. I love the smell of a freshly painted room. The actual labor can be fun, too, if you’re painting with the right people. :)


  13. Love the sparkly shoes! You’re so right. We can definitely get stuck in ruts in life, work, relationships… Shaking things up a bit can help in so many ways. Even when they end up tasting like cardboard. LOL

    I’ve been dabbling in music more lately, listening to it and making it. And I love trying new restaurants. :-)
    August McLaughlin recently posted..Cinderella StrongMy Profile

  14. There is an excitement in trying something new that is such a charge, a bolt of excitement. I live in fear of the same ol’, same ol’ blues. I don’t want to get stuck in a rut and so I am always trying to come up with new and off the wall things to do with the family. The batting cages was a great idea!

    • I had to throw in a little baseball to make it a little less girly around here. LOL
      Thanks for stopping by Tim!

  15. I recently got to try out Lebanese food and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Other than that, my life is pretty tame these days. :)
    Sheila Seabrook recently posted..Authors In Bloom Giveaway Hop/Enter to Win A Nook/Enter to Win a Kindle!My Profile

  16. Awesome! I love trying new things and sometimes just forget to take time to do it!

  17. This is such a great reminder! I love to try new things whenever the opportunity arises!

  18. I try to remember how important it is to branch out and try new things. It’s easy to forget when we get bogged down and so busy with just maintaining the usual. Thanks for this post!

    Fun overalls and sneakers! I would totally sport sneakers like those. :D
    Debra Kristi recently posted..Elves March on Immortal Monday – Tolkien StyleMy Profile

  19. Love those sparkly shoes. Hate shopping for clothes but will happily spend hours in a shoe shop. Blogging has been the scariest thing for me, strange isn’t it? No idea why when I would win an Olympic Gold if they had one for talking.

    Over the last three years I’ve overcome the fear of needles. I don’t like them, but no longer come out in a cold sweat.

  20. I get to try some new things this year. I am going to try and rope a calf when we do branding this year, AND… if I’m brave enough, I’m even going to preg check a cow! Yeah – all farm stuff, that my hub is used to, but totally new to me! And slightly crazy, maybe? :D

  21. Baseball?!?! Awesome!!!
    Love the Elmo overalls…you are so darn crafty!

  22. Awww. You’re a good mom helping him out of his funk like that. I have a fear of trying new things that I constantly have to fight against. When I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way years ago I was encouraged to make a commitment to doing something new and different each week. I remember loving it. I’ll have to push myself to get back to it. Thanks for this post, Coleen =)
    inluvwithwords recently posted..Sunshine and a Song to make you SmileMy Profile

  23. LOVE this post! It’s so true that we need to break out of our routines and habits in order to truly feel alive in an experience. Good for you for all you have done. And those Elmo overalls are beyond adorable!

  24. I used to be more adventuresome and tried lots of new things — I guess I still am since I’m now wrting for kids after spendng years as a journalist/PR — but it is easy to get stuck in routines when it comes to cooking meals. Loved the Elmo jeans — very ceative. But we all need to do more — keeps us vital, expecially for those in our 50s-60s. :)

  25. What a cute Elmo overall! And the batting cages sound like a perfect way to blast funk away. My new thing is learning the basics of Russian. The Cyrillic alphabet is a challenge but it’s really interesting to learn about the Russian culture (as our teacher is a native).
    Reetta Raitanen recently posted..Kickstart The Week With Feel Good MusicMy Profile

    • Russian–wow, sounds challenging, but I think I would enjoy the culture part too. My son likes studying foreign languages–he’s learning Spanish & Italian and now wants to learn Swedish. :)

  26. “Like last week when I tried gluten free oat matzoh. Now I can now officially say I’ve eaten cardboard.” I haven’t tried it, but I’m gonna go ahead and check that one off my bucket list based on this post alone.

    I’m glad you tried the batting cates. Sounds like a good time was had by all!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  27. Very nice, Coleen. It can be very hard to do something new, but it can be so rewarding, too, even it it tastes like cardboard. LOL! I have slowly learned to try all kinds of things. It’s really liberating and fun! Thanks for reminding us to take the chance and try new things.
    Lynette M Burrows recently posted..Do the Pros Measure Up to the Lucky 7 Meme?My Profile

  28. I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned, but ask Fabio about trapeze lessons. He seemed to really enjoy it. :)

    LOVED your comment about having officially eaten cardboard. Remind me to never try that please. :)

    Have I tried anything new lately? Yes. Two things actually. For the first time ever I ‘had my makeup done’ so I could go for my first time ever professional photography experience. I’m think that they will both be a LAST time experience, too, since I wound up looking like I could be an extra in Night of the Living Dead. :)

    • I think Fabio’s trapeze post was the one that put it back on my radar. I do want to do it–it’s just pushing past the various roadblocks :)
      I hear you about the makeup–which is why I was a terrible makeup sales person!! :)

  29. I think I may have had a snort laugh over the comparison between gluten-free oat matzah and cardboard, but don’t tell anyone ;) This is such a great post, and so true. I often hold back from trying something new because I’m tired or so busy, but if I’d just take the time, I’d feel energized after and actually get more done.
    Marcy Kennedy recently posted..What Groundhog Day Can Teach Us About ContentmentMy Profile

    • It really is amazing how something simple can be so energizing! Even though my hand is sore today (from the vibration of the ball hitting the bat!) it was so great to step out of my routine!

  30. I don’t try enough new things. I’ve always been shy and it’s only recently that I’ve stepped out of my shell, gotten to know people and explored the world a lot more. Hopefully I can keep it up.

    • I am shy too-and I embarrass easily! So often I am hesitant because I don’t want to look stupid. Most of the time it ends up being worth it!! :)

  31. Great advice, Coleen! Luv the pics, especially the sneakers. Unfortunately I think all the new stuff I’ve tried lately is about learning to handle yet another social media system. Urgh. Definitely time to look for something fun. :)
    Alicia Street recently posted..Reader2Author – Ruth Harris and Marilou GeorgeMy Profile

    • I know! As soon as I somewhat figure one system out–there’s another! Right now I am trying to do the Pinterest thing–at least it’s fun looking at all the sparkly pictures!!

  32. I get stuck in a rut too easily. Maybe I’ll try a new restaurant (grin)

  33. This is an AWESOME post! I love trying new crafts but you’re totally right, it’s hard to get out of our bubbles, sometimes (I’m especially terrible at trying new foods, grr). I need to keep this in mind when I’m feeling stuck :) Thanks for the post!

  34. Okay, first of all, those overalls are adorable!! If you ever want to paint a mural and need a wall, call me. Seriously.

    I might have to make those sparkly sneakers.

    You actually made me laugh out loud with that cardboard statement! I’ve never even heard of it, so I think I’ll skip it entirely. ;)

    Breaking out of a habit truly is hard. Over Spring Break we all were in our little caves, me writing, the boys programming. I realized we missed out on a whole week of new experiences. But it was comfy in our caves! This week I’m back to my schedule and loving it. I sort of missed life last week. But we still need to get some new experiences under our belt. Got any ideas?

    • We were mostly in our little caves too–it was part of the reason my son was in a funk. He didn’t want to leave his video game/music making cave to go back to school :)
      Tameri–maybe we should both make those sneakers!!

      • Dang, do we live close enough to make it a crafting day? That would be fun!

        • Wah. I live in Virginia. You’re in CA right?

          • Yeah, bummer! We couldn’t be farther apart. Well, unless you were in Europe or Australia. We could skype craft. If I knew how to skype. ;)

  35. I’m going through a big transition right now so many things will be feeling new very soon…but maybe in a way that feels just right and just like me, as I remember I’m kick-ass.
    Sophia Chang recently posted..Dirty Writers ClubMy Profile

  36. Was Ginger’s Writer’s Butt post have you eating cardboard?? ;) I have a love/hate relationship with trying new things. I’m a cautious gal in general but, I find that as I get older my, caution is usually only in direct relation to the possibility of getting physically hurt. That said… I’m registering for a fittest contest which has me excited and nervous all the same.

    • No, it wasn’t Ginger’s fault–ha ha. I know what you mean about worrying about getting hurt–it’s one of the reasons I’ve been putting off using my trapeze gift certificate! Good luck with your fitness contest–hope to read about it on your blog :)

  37. My latest new things were exercise related – a Hula Hoop class and a yoga class. I’ll keep the yoga, but weighted hula hoops? Hmm, gotta think about that one.

    PS–I love the overalls!
    Jennifer Jensen recently posted..Smile – It’s the Crazy Frogs!My Profile

    • Thanks Jennifer! I am impressed with the hula hoop class–for some reason I have never been able to hula hoop. :(

  38. I get bored very early so change is a constant in my life. just had a meeting at work which could change my work alot. we’ll see. if it doesn’t happen then i’ll try somehting else. makes for interesting times.

  39. I could use a dose of new! I’d love to take lessons in something…guitar, or drums, or aikido. I can’t do all of them – for both time and money reasons – so I’m procrastinating on making a decision.
    Stephanie recently posted..S is for Screen TimeMy Profile

  40. Love it! I thrive on novelty. That’s why I love being an artist and business owner! Every day is different :)

  41. I love this blog post and totally agree. I think personal growth only comes from trying new things and challenging yourself. Unfortunately, most people believe that trying something new has to be a monumental sized thing like skydiving or doing a marathon, when in actuality it can be something as small as trying a new food or taking a different route.

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