Exploring New Paths

woman hiking at Red Rock Canyon during sunset with backpack

Suzanna and I recently moved to Ft. Collins, CO with our Aussie pup, Sky, and the nearby running trails are outstanding! In the first few months, Sky and I had our favorite 8-, 10- and 13-mile routes dialed in, with a bonus route for hill day – all right out the front door. But this morning we tried a completely different route. It required extra leash time, included an unexpected dead end, and turned out to be uphill coming back.

Why? Why try a different route when we already know – and are very happy with – our current routes? Why mess with a new direction when the current options are working so well? Why take the chance of hitting dead ends and experiencing a tougher return trip when we know our favorites provide everything we need?

You’re probably sensing that I’m not talking about running anymore, am I? This is life stuff. We have our coffee/breakfast/snack/ lunch pre-determined. Our morning routine is working fine. Our commute to work is on autopilot. We put the same clothes into our weekly circulation. Our fitness plan of choice is now in year 3 (or 10). The weekend schedule mirrors the previous weekend. The shows we watch, authors we read, podcasts we tap into are all the same as they were last month, last year, last decade.

And we wonder why we’re not growing, learning, discovering? Hmmm…

Sky and I had planned on 8 to 10 miles this morning, but we found such a great new spot that we extended it to 11 miles just so we could see what was around the next corner. The additional leash time (we’re in an area where she can usually run off-leash with me) went well, increasing my confidence that she could participate in some local run club outings or maybe even a community 5K . The path we stumbled across turned out to be a good route to bike to our daughter’s new home across town. Plus, we now have another favorite option that will be the best option on muddy days, something that didn’t previously exist in our running toolbox.

Research from Dr. Wendy Wood, the former keynote speaker at the Rocky Mountain Coaching Retreat & Symposium, demonstrated that 43% of our activities on a daily basis are strictly out of habit, involving no conscious thought. A large percentage of the remaining 57% are carried out on semi-autopilot because they worked just fine yesterday – so why make a change now?

Why change now? To broaden our perspectives. Engage our minds. Discover new opportunities. Cross paths with new friends. And live life to the fullest. So tomorrow when you rise for the day, perhaps consider taking a new route – a route that just might lead to #BetterThanYesterday.

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