It’s very natural for things that were once exciting to become boring, “same same,” old. It’s life on auto-pilot. If you don’t watch out, it starts happening for anything that once was new and fun. So how to break out of your routine?

In Positive Psychology, we often refer to the idea of a hedonic treadmill. The notion that it’s very easy for something that could instill a lot of happiness, to become less and less impactful over time.

You eat ice cream once and it’s fantastic. You eat it every day, and after no time, it become “normal.” You have a cup of coffee and you feel great. Drink one every day just to get your day started, and it can become a boring must.

Exciting vacation destination? Or “boring” everyday spot? Photo: Anh Tuan Nguyen

Or what about cities like Saigon, Hoi An or Hanoi? People travel thousands of miles to get here. And when they finally arrive, they can’t stop looking around. They’re amazing by the sights, sounds, smells and all else that makes Vietnam so different from their home country.

But once you live here for a while, even that becomes just normal. Every day is just another day in a place that once was unfamiliar and exciting. And it may even wish you to break out of your routine.

Experiment: the old becomes new again

So how do we make the old and routine, new and exciting again? That was the idea behind a new experiment by travel agency Thomas Cook called #FirstTimeFlyer.

As research showed that the majority of people saw flying as a bothersome way to get from point A to point B, they needed people to break out of your routine. So they hired a hypnotist to make people snap out of their boredom when it came to flying.

TV hypnotist and mind-reader Aaron Calvert used his skills to give frequent flyers, and those who have fallen out of love with flying, the chance to enjoy the first time feeling all over again.

He did that by putting them under hypnosis and telling them they had never been on an airplane before. The participants then spent eight hours in their condition and experienced every element of air travel like it was the first time for them.

And all of a sudden, they loved it again! “I could not stop looking out of the window, absolutely amazing.” “It’s amazing to feel the power.”

“I don’t know why I haven’t done it before,” one passenger even says.

How to break out of your routine, no matter what it is.

It’s so natural for us to get used to something. That’s why we have to work hard to ensure things won’t become normal, or boring. We have to practice not falling into auto-pilot mode, to not let routine take over.

To break out of your routine, try any or all of these:

  • Savoring: the art of truly enjoying something. Whether it’s before, during, or after you experience something.
  • Expressing gratitude: being aware of all the good things in your life, and not taking them for granted.
  • Channeling your inner child: make every day a wondrous as your first.
  • Practicing mindfulness: the total concept of mindfulness applies to making every moment in life special (again.)

Keep remembering yourself that nothing is normal, and everything will be special. For as long as you tell yourself too.

Break out of your routines, and live happier

You’ll soon see that when you break out of your routines, you will feel happier. Life seems more interesting, more exciting.

If you’re interested in learning other ways to feel happier everyday, consider taking our Positivity 101 Class. A 3-hour “happiness makeover” workshop in the center of Saigon. Interested? Find the details below.

Positivity 101: The Everyday Happiness Training
Positivity 101: The Everyday Happiness Training

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Now only 500.000 VND, everything included


Author Daan van Rossum Daan is Bright’s founder and a certified Life Coach. Having lived on 3 continents, he’s been studying cross-cultural happiness for a number of years. Daan’s speciality is around positivity, understanding your life goals, entrepreneurship and creativity. Daan lives between Da Lat and Saigon, but his heart is always in the mountains. Besides his Bright jobs and his work as a freelance brand strategist, his most important job is that of husband to his wife My.

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