When was the last time you did something for the first time?
My answer these days is usually ‘about 20 minutes ago.’ However, that certainly hasn’t always been the case. I was all for trying new things as long as they were safe, appropriate, moderately low risk and didn’t involve talking to too many strangers. In short, I made a habit of never biting off more than I thought I could chew. I challenged myself to do things that I was reasonably sure I would be able to accomplish.
While this is a superb strategy for many scenarios (academics in my case) there are some situations in which you just have to take a deep breath and jump in with both feet. You’re never going to learn how to talk to people if you spend your evenings holed up in your apartment. You’re never going to feel totally self sufficient until you’ve lived completely on your own for at least several months.
Setting healthy, achievable goals is fantastic and should be done on a regular basis to ensure that progress is being made. But goal setting and visualization only get you so far. Sometimes you just have to decide you can do something and force yourself to go out into the world and prove it.