Do good AND feel good – how helping a charity can transform your life too.

We all know that helping other people and causes is a ‘good thing to do’. But did you know that helping a charity or non-profit is really good for you too?

In fact, the list of benefits is wide-ranging and pretty impressive. So whether you’ve been thinking about getting involved with a charity for a while, or this is the first time you’ve thought of it, this post might be the nudge you need to get out there and make a difference to both your’s and others’ lives!

 

Feel better

It’s no surprise that giving either your time or your money has a huge impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. And there’s plenty of science to back it up.

Even the relatively simple act of giving money to a good cause can give you the same pleasure as eating chocolate or having sex [1]. And giving money to other people instead of spending it on yourself can actually make you happier [2].

Volunteering your time seems to give even more emotional benefits than donating money. A study of nearly 3,400 volunteers found that 94% improved their mood and 78% had lower stress levels. Almost all of the volunteers (96%) said they felt their life had more purpose since volunteering. [3]

There are also huge social benefits to volunteering. Volunteers feel more socially connected, less lonely [4], and better connected to the communities they’re helping [5].

 

The surprising physical benefits

Not only do people who volunteer feel better emotionally, they’re also physically healthier. Benefits include lower blood pressure [6], generally feeling healthier [7] and even a 20% lower risk of death [8].

What’s more, a quarter of volunteers in one study reported that volunteering helped them manage a chronic illness by giving them something else to focus on [9].

 

Unbeatable experiences

And let’s not forget that helping a charity means you get to see and experience some pretty awesome things. You could be taking part in the challenge of a lifetime (think climbing Kilimanjaro or cycling from Paris to London). You could be a listening ear that helps someone feel a little less lonely. Or you could get to see the priceless expressions of pure joy and gratitude at helping someone do something they wouldn’t have been able to do alone. Volunteering provides so many rewards – it’s a feeling that’s hard to beat!

Motivation matters

Despite all these cool ‘side-effects’, your primary motivation for helping is really important. Neuroscientist, Alex Korb, found that if you go into it deliberately looking to get something out for yourself, or so you can show off to your mates, you’re much less likely to experience the same benefits [10].

 

How can you help a charity?

So you’re ready to dive in and start making a difference. Of course, here at go-do.it we’ve got plenty of inspiration to get you started…

 

Give your time

Volunteering your time is a great way to help without spending money. You could help out on a regular basis or volunteer as part of an overseas expedition. You could also campaign for a cause close to your heart or help organise a fundraising event .

Donate

You might choose to give money regularly or as a one off. If you want to make sure your money goes somewhere specific, you could also sponsor a child or fund a microloan for an aspiring entrepreneur.

 

Achieve a goal

And finally, is there something out of the ordinary or extremely challenging you’ve always wanted to do? Getting sponsored is a great way to add another layer of motivation and help out a good cause at the same time.

Take the first step today

Already one of our intrepid doers? Add your charity goals to your list now!

And if you’re yet to join go-do.it, why not sign up today, create your first list and include your charity goals. We’ve got inspiration and motivation galore, plus we’ll help you stay accountable so you actually achieve all the things you want to!

 

 

Do you already volunteer or work with a charity? Then we need you!

We want to help charities connect with potential volunteers, so we’re offering our pro provider accounts to charities for free. We’d love to have as many charities as possible on here so that it’s easy for more awesome people like you to find volunteering opportunities and really make a difference! Tell your charity how they can get a free account on go-do.it.

 

Does writing down your goals really help you achieve them?

If you’ve read anything about achieving your goals or sticking to resolutions, you’ve probably heard of the study where students from Harvard were asked to write down their goals.  

The story goes that researchers asked graduating seniors if they had written down their goals for the future. Just three percent had. Those same people were surveyed again twenty years later and the researchers found that the 3% with written goals had accumulated more wealth than the other 97% combined.

Even if you’re one of the few people who haven’t heard this before, it’s a compelling argument, wheeled out regularly by motivational coaches and internet advice gurus. But it turns out, like many of the alternative facts coming out these days, the study never actually happened.  

Here at Go-do.it, despite knowing the original study was a myth,  we thought there must still be something to it, and we were relieved to find we weren’t the only ones.

Dr Gail Matthews at Dominican University in California thought so too, and set out to see if she could prove or disprove the theory. Thankfully, her study found that writing down your goals did indeed help you achieve more. In fact people who wrote down their goals achieved 42% more than people who  just thought about them.

 

Obviously we were stoked that we haven’t all been running around blindly following the advice of a fabricated study. But it got us thinking, what is it about writing down your goals that dramatically increases your chances of success?

 

Get clear on what you want

Recording your goals (on paper or online) gives you clarity. Before you can write something down or add it to a list, you have to think about what you want to do and make a decision about whether it’s important enough for you to commit it to writing. This process gives you much more clarity than simply daydreaming about all the different things you’d like to do.

 

Plus, when you actually write something down, you’re consciously admitting that this is something you want to do. And that’s a lot harder to ignore than a passing thought.

 

So I just write down my goals and that’s it?

Oh wouldn’t it be lovely if all you had to do was make a list and your goals then just magically happened?

 

Think of it like going on holiday. Unfortunately, even though you now know where you want to go, you won’t get there by sitting still. And whilst writing down your goals is an important first step, it’s not the only one.

 

What else can you do to increase your chances?

 

1 – make the goals specific

A lot of  goals don’t happen because they’re really general and it’s hard to know if you’ve actually achieved them. For example, it’s really hard to ‘get fit’ because how do you actually know when you’re ‘fit’?

 

2 – Make a plan

Big goals can seem unachievable, especially if there are a lot of steps you need to take to get there. Making a plan and breaking down what you need to do, will make the path much clearer for you, helping you reduce procrastination and indecision, and making you much more likely to take action.

 

3 – Tell your friends!

There’s nothing like a bit of social pressure to keep you on track.  The Dominican University goals study found that telling your friends about your goals helped people achieve 25% more goals than if they kept them to themselves. The study also showed that you also get added ‘likelihood of achieving your goals’ points if you send them weekly updates on your progress.

 

Want more on how to set effective goals? Check out our step-by-step guide here.

 

How can go-do.it help?

As helping you actually achieve your goals is basically what we live for, writing down your goals is the first step in the go-do.it journey. We’ve got tons of inspiration to get the creative juices flowing and help you pick out your goals. Click here to set your first goals.

But remember, it doesn’t stop there – after you’ve committed your goals to writing, we’ll help you join the dots, by putting you in touch with people who can help you so you actually take action. And soon, we’ll also be running challenges and helping you break down your goals into manageable steps to make it really easy for you.
What are you waiting for? Take that first step today, and set your first goals with go-do.it. We can’t wait to see what you achieve!

 

Inspirational golden oldies to prove age really is just a number

If you’ve ever worried that you’re getting ‘old’ waaayy too fast, or worse, other people keep telling you to act your age, then we’ve got some serious ammunition to quiet those annoying voices and prove that you really are never too old to do something.

There’s a ton of actual scientific research that shows it genuinely is never too late to start learning something new. And that the old adage of ‘age is just a number’ really is true. (If you missed our post on how you really can teach an old dog new tricks, definitely check it out here.)

But here, we’re going to introduce you to some truly inspirational people who didn’t get the memo that once you reach a certain age, you have to stop doing anything physical and sit around all day drinking tea.

And these just aren’t your average ‘my uncle ran a marathon’ or ‘my nan goes to Pilates’ stories. We’ve got daredevils and record breakers galore, as well as people that would probably put your average 17-year-old gamer to shame!

Meet Tao Porchon-Lynch

Tao, who is 98 years young, was recently awarded the title of “world’s oldest yoga teacher”. And we think old people can’t be flexible! Tao has been crazy about yoga since her childhood, and has been teaching yoga in different countries for almost 50 years. She certainly embodies her motto of ‘there is nothing you cannot do’.

http://www.taoporchon-lynch.com/home.html

Meet Hidekichi Miyazaki

Japanese sprinter, Hidekichi, has been setting world records in the 100m sprint since he took up the sport aged 90. Yes, you read that right, he didn’t start running until he was 90 years old. He recently took the 100m world record for 105 year olds and still holds the 29.83 second record for centenarians. He says he thinks he’s still got a few more years of running in him, and wouldn’t consider giving up yet to show gratitude to all his fans. Such a legend!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/25/japans-105-year-old-golden-bolt-beats-his-own-world-sprint-record

 

Meet Doris Long

Abseiling isn’t a sport you’d usually associate with the older generation, but that hasn’t stopped Doris abseiling down the 94 metre Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth every year for the past 16 years to raise money for a local hospice. Doris did her first abseil when she was 85, and has been awarded an MBE, as well as the nickname Daring Doris. She said it gets harder every year, but it’s well worth it. And she has no plans on stopping any time soon, saying she lives in hope she’ll still be able to do it next year.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/12/doris-long-101-world-abseiling-record-spinnaker-tower

 

Meet George Neal and Ernest Smith

Canadian Pilot soared into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2015 as the world’s oldest, active pilot at the grand old age of 96. He spent more than 15,000 hours flying over 100 different types of aircraft. But George isn’t the only golden oldie cruising through the skies, the new record holder, Ernest Eli Smith is 98 and still regularly flies light aircraft in Iowa today.

 

Meet Larry Macon

Although Larry is quite a bit younger than the rest of our legends, we can’t talk about inspirational older people without mentioning Larry’s incredible achievements. He’s broken the Guinness World Record for most marathons run in a year, not once, or even twice, but FOUR TIMES! His most recent record was 239 marathons in a year. And he did it at the age of 69. That’s 6,261.8 miles in one year and more than one every other day! He didn’t even start running marathons until 1996 when he was 52.

http://www.runnersworld.com/newswire/69-year-old-breaks-record-for-most-marathons-in-a-year

 

So, next time you catch yourself murmuring that you’d love to do something, but that you couldn’t possibly because you’re too old now, or because it’s for young people, bookmark this post, re-read it, and then start making a plan to get it done! Need some help? We’ve got your back. Join us and start doing today!

 

 

OW vs WOW – How the way you think affects your success

Why is it that some people seem to have all the luck? You know the type of person, where opportunities fall at their feet and things always go their way. And then there’s the people who just seem to get the worst luck, even if they’re really trying. Well, if you’ve also been pondering this phenomenon, you’ll be pleased to hear that we recently stumbled upon a theory that explains why some people have all the success and why some others don’t, even if they’ve had the same resources and opportunities.

(And when we’re talking about success here, we don’t mean in the “traditional” sense of being rich and powerful, we mean  success as in happiness that comes from achieving your dreams and goals, whatever shape they may take.)

 

Are you an OW brainer, or a WOW brainer?

According to Todd Herman, of the Peak Athlete, there are two types of mindset when it comes to success – OW and WOW –  and whichever one is dominant, will determine whether you are likely to be successful or not.

Now Todd know’s what he’s talking about. He’s been training professional athletes and entrepreneurs to create winning mindsets and improve their mental toughness for over 16 years.

OW brainers see things as hard. In the future, they see obstacles, struggle and pain. When they want to make a change, they think of all the ways something will hurt them instead of the positives that will come out of it. People with an OW mentality tend to be bored, stuck and very firmly rooted in their comfort zone. They’re a glass half empty kinda person.

So, if you were learning to ride a bike, and you tend towards an OW mindset, you’d probably be worried about falling off, getting hurt and making a fool of yourself. Maybe even to the extent that you wouldn’t even try.

Contrast that with WOW brainers, who are literally in awe of what’s going on around them. They see challenges as adventures and every hurdle or failure as a learning opportunity. They’re usually pretty confident people and definitely see the glass as half full.
If someone with a WOW mindset was learning to ride a bike, they would be really excited to get going. They’d see each fall or crash as something to learn from. And even when the stabilisers come off and they’re really wobbly, they remember that when they started, they couldn’t ride a bike at all.

 

Can you guess which one is more likely to succeed?

 

Now don’t panic if you feel like you’re leaning towards being a OW brainer – you aren’t exclusively one or the other, and you might be more inclined to be a certain way depending on the situation. Plus, your mindset isn’t fixed, you can totally shift it to make the likelihood of you achieving what you want go through the roof!

 

And the even better news? Go-do.it is perfectly set up to help you do that.

You see, my intrepid doer, some of the ways you can move towards a WOW brain have literally been baked in to the go-do.it way.
How? I hear you ask. Well…

 

1 – It gives you goals and a path to achieve them.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you expect to get there? You need a plan, with actionable steps, or you’re going to get overwhelmed and stay firmly in the OW camp.

 

It’s a well-touted fact that writing down or having a record of your goals makes you much more likely to achieve them. Even though the original 1953 Yale study was proven to be a myth, a 2012 study in California proved that by writing down your goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
So, simply by creating your goals on go-do.it, you’ll get yourself much further along the road than if you simply keep them in your head.

 

2 – It gives you accountability

The same study, found that if you then share your goals with a friend, you’re almost twice as likely to achieve them. And if you report back to your friends on your progress, that gives you another extra boost!
Fortunately sharing is an integral part of go-do.it. It’s really easy to hit share on your goals and tell your friends what you’re planning to do.

 

3 – You can see just how far you’ve come and celebrate success.

One of the most important parts of a WOW brain is that you recognise all of the hard work and achievement that’s got you to where you are now. And go-do.it means you’ll always be able to see just how many cool things you’ve achieved (and brag about it to your friends too!)

 

When work is busy, or you feel like you haven’t learnt anything new in forever, or you’re feeling a bit stuck or bored, it’s really easy to forget or underplay just how far you’ve come. Achievements fade in our memories over time which means your motivation can go south. Having a record of everything you’ve achieved so far can be the push you need to keep going.
And as an added bonus, it also reminds you to be thankful for all of your journey so far. And gratitude doesn’t just help you achieve your goals, it can dramatically improve both your mental and physical health.

 

Learn more about OW and WOW mindsets.

If you want to dig deeper into the theory, watch this fantastic interview with Todd and Marie Forleo. They look at the science behind what happens in your brain and your body when you’re forming new habits and give you five ways to help move from an OW to a WOW mindset.
You can also read more about how your mindset shapes your life on Brainpickings.

 

What’s next?

Whichever way you lean, go-do.it will help you on your journey. We’ll be your own personal cheerleader to help you make goals, create a plan, connect with other people doing cool stuff and show you just how far you’ve come.

 

So, if you’re an OW brainer, join us and we’ll help you literally go from OW to WOW!

 

And if you’re already leaning towards a WOW mentality, sign up, share your adventures with the world and help keep your momentum going!
What are you waiting for – join us today!

 

 

Lessons vs YouTube – which is better?

Isn’t YouTube amazing? You can learn pretty much anything you want just by watching a video. Literally anything, from yoga, knitting or mandarin, to tattooing, unicycling or beatboxing.

In fact, YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine. There’s so much you can learn on there, it’s a wonder that anyone actually takes lessons any more.

But that got us thinking – is YouTube the best way to learn something new? Is it any better to take lessons instead of learning for free on the internet, at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home?

Let’s consider the evidence…

YouTube is a one-way street

The biggest downside to learning on YouTube is that it’s only one-way communication – which means you won’t get any feedback. And effective feedback is the best possible hack to learning there is. It builds confidence, self-awareness and your enthusiasm for learning. [1]

It makes sense when you think about it – you can think you’re doing something right but how do you actually know? – When someone else, who knows what they’re doing,  gives you feedback. There’s just no way of knowing if you’re watching a video.
Plus you can ask questions, so if something doesn’t make sense, you don’t have to just muddle through through.

Practice makes permanent

We’ve all heard that practice makes perfect, but that’s not strictly true. Practice actually makes permanent – repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again helps things stick in your memory and become automatic. Which is great if you’re doing it right – but if you’re doing it wrong, it will be a lot harder to correct after many hours of practice. Taking a lesson means the likelihood of you doing something wrong, and then cementing it in your memory with practice, is a lot less.

You’ll probably learn faster in a lesson

if you’ve got a limited amount of time, like a holiday or a trip booked that you want to get ready for.

You’re much more likely to actually go to a lesson

We can all be a bit lazy, and when life gets in the way, it’s much easier to cancel on a YouTube video than an actual human being. It won’t be disappointed and it won’t cost you anything!
Having a set time and someone expecting you means you’re much more likely to actually learn what you want instead of putting it off for when you have more time/work is less hectic/ you’ve watched the new series of Stranger Things.

It’s much more fun doing it with someone else

(Get that thought out of your mind, we meant learning!) But seriously, who’s going to laugh at with you when you royally screw something up, like bashing into something (a wall/the floor/your face) or saying the wrong thing. Learning can be hard, but it feels much less so when someone is there sharing the experience with you. Plus who’s going to tell you you’re doing a great job, or cheer when you totally nail something?

 

YouTube probably isn’t a good idea for dangerous pursuits

Skydiving, base jumping, tattooing, slacklining more than a few feet up – anything likely to cause permanent damage/serious injury/death, you should probably see an expert first rather than just buy some kit and watch a few videos online!

 

And what about those times when YouTube really is your best bet?

 

YouTube is free

Depending on what you want to learn, paying for lessons can be really expensive, especially over time. This means YouTube is also great for if you want to try something without committing to a full course (but do see the point above about dangerous activities!)

Choose when and where to learn

The other bonus is that you can learn at your own pace, and do it wherever you want, wifi or 4G permitting of course. Sometimes there aren’t any classes nearby, or you just can’t make the times the class is on.  And if you want to practice Spanish at 4am when you can’t sleep, or learn a trick for your brand new skateboard on Christmas Day – YouTube is perfect!

Learn from some of the world’s leading experts

Getting a real-life lesson from a world number one is probably pretty unrealistic, but on YouTube you can get a lesson from some of the best teachers in the world, including tennis tips from Novak Djokovic and guitar lessons from Slash from Guns n Roses!
So, which way is best for you? If you want to save your pennies or can’t find or get to a lesson, YouTube isn’t a bad place to start, but if you’re in a hurry to learn, or don’t want to learn by trial and error, lessons are definitely the most efficient way to go.

What do you want to learn? Check out our goals page if you need some inspiration, and then get your goals list started today!

 

Join us, and help change people’s lives!

We started go-do.it with one simple mission – to help people get out of their comfort zone and do more stuff.

We knew there were heaps of amazing things out there for people to do, but that finding quality providers to help you do them can be tricky. And we all know that what you see on the internet doesn’t always translate into exactly what you’ll get in real life!

So we wanted to create a platform where people could find extraordinary providers; companies who love what they do and are dedicated to helping their customers have amazing experiences. That might be anything from skydiving, horse riding or snowboarding, to something with a more relaxed pace like learning a new language or how to knit, and everything in between. … 

 

Why New Year’s Resolutions don’t stick (and how to make sure yours do)

Nine days. That’s how long most New Year’s resolutions last. Seriously, three quarters of people who make resolutions for the new year, feel like they’re unlikely to stick to them just nine days later. [1]

At go-do.it, we know it’s hard to stick to resolutions, but we’ve also seen lots of people achieve some pretty incredible things, so it got us thinking, why is it that some people always seem to fail, whereas others totally smash it out the park? And more importantly, how can you make sure that you actually achieve your resolutions this year?

… 

 

Time and how to find more – Four simple steps to doing more cool stuff

Time where does it go. We’ve all got things we want to do but just never seem to get around to. And we genuinely do intend to do them, it’s just that we can’t seem to find the time… work is so busy at the moment… and then there’s dinner to make… the latest episodes of Game of Thrones to catch up on… Dave and Amber are having drinks at the pub tonight… and there’s still that laundry that won’t do itself (no matter how much you try to make it fly into the machine with your Jedi mind tricks).

Do you have one of those friends who seem to be able to do it all? The one who has an important job, a beautiful family and so many hobbies you can’t even keep up, was it trail running last week? Or Calligraphy? Oh no wait, they’ve got really into their cooking now, remember they cooked that amazing four-course South American banquet for you last Tuesday after they’d been to that outdoor fitness class that you couldn’t make.

So how do some people seem to fit in heaps of activities, and some people are always so busy that they never have time to do things. Especially when we all have the exact same amount of hours in a day.

Busyness is killing our dreams

Not having time is the number one excuse for why people can’t do the things they want to do. But how can you become a doer instead of a dreamer?

But it doesn’t have to…

Lots of people will offer unhelpful advice such as ‘just stop doing some stuff’ or ‘oh just get up earlier’ (which unless you make sure you go to bed earlier too, can do you some serious damage.)

The good news is that there’s actually a fairly simple solution. It is completely possible to stop feeling overwhelmed and like you’re constantly rushing around by simply changing your mindset. Even just altering the way you talk about yourself (to yourself and to others) you can bring about a profound change in your life.

Let’s look at how you can find a few more hours to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.

1 – Work out where your time goes

First of all, take a look at what you’re actually spending your time on. Spend a week making a note of what you’ve been doing throughout the day and for how long. You don’t have to use a fancy system, good old pen and paper or a basic note app in your phone will do the trick.

When your week is up, look at how much time you spend doing;

  1. Things you have to do (like sleep, eat, shower, work etc),
  2. Things you want to do,
  3. Other things that you don’t like doing or you’re not particularly fussed on.

Tally up how much time you’re spending doing these three things. You might think you know the answer already, but in reality our perception of how long things take is usually pretty inaccurate – “I only spend a few minutes checking Facebook”, is often 45 minutes of mindless scrolling at a time. And “just one episode of Orange is The New Black” turns into four and before you know it your whole Sunday afternoon has disappeared into thin air.

Then work out what this time adds up to for a month or for a year. You might be surprised horrified. When you can see in black and white exactly where your time is going, finding the time might be surprisingly easy!

 

2 – Decide what your priorities are

If it’s not quite that simple, ask yourself honestly, is that how you want to spend your time? In 10 years, will you really care whether you caught the latest episode of Hollyoaks or because you didn’t watch that cat video on YouTube.

For the majority of people, when we say we’re too busy, what we’re really saying is that thing isn’t a priority. But you have to look at both the long term and the short term. You might be tired after a long day at work, but do you really want to look back when you’re older and say, it’s a shame I never learnt to ride/draw/climb but it’s ok because I got to watch 28 hours of TV every week instead. (Yes, the average adult watches 28 hours of TV EVERY WEEK – that’s over 60 DAYS per year!)

 

3 – Stop talking about how busy you are

Sometimes we just think we don’t have enough time. We’re so used to having lots to do, our default response it always busy. Think about it, when people ask you how you are, is your reply more often than not “oh good thanks, just busy.”

This is a classic case of a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you tell yourself you’re too busy, you will feel like you never have time. If you tell other people you’re busy, it’s even more likely to become true.

If this sounds familiar, you need to reframe in your mind how much time you have. Simply stop telling yourself and other people you’re too busy. In fact, ban the word busy from your vocabulary. Don’t complain about how much you have to do. It’s a subtle shift but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you start to suddenly feel less busy.

4 – Do things together

Sometimes it genuinely isn’t as simple as ‘stop going on Facebook’. You want to spend time with your family and friends and you want to do cool stuff, but you’re not doing enough of either. And the last thing we want is for you to feel like a bad mum/dad/husband/wife/friend/girlfriend/boyfriend!

If you’ve tried all of the above and you really can’t balance social and family time with the things you want to do, why not do them at the same time? Take the whole family to learn to surf. Schedule a class with a friend instead of going for coffee. Make date night an adventure instead of a fancy meal out. Two birds with one stone and you’re feeling like a winner.

Now you know how to find more space in your life to do the things you want to do, the questions is, what are you going to do with all this extra time? (Let us know in the comments below)

 

Your comfort zone is lying to you.

Your comfort zone wants to keep you safe, warm and, well, comfy. And our brains are very firmly programmed to want to stay there. Not surprising really when your comfort zone’s original purpose was to keep you from going off and getting eaten by a sabre toothed tiger, or freezing to death in the wilderness.

So your comfort zone, doing its level best to keep you safe from prehistoric cats that no longer exist, tells you little stories to keep you there…

“Oh that sounds like a great idea, but that’s not really your sort of thing is it”

“Hmmm, that sounds hard, what if you’re no good?”

“At your age? What if you break something?”

But what your comfort zone neglects to tell you is that if you never leave it, things will pretty much stay as they are. Those little voices convince you that you’re much better off wrapped up in your snuggly comfort zone blanket, rather than doing something different or out of the ordinary.

The only problem with that is most people I know, myself included, aren’t 100% content. It’s not that life is bad, things are going ok, or even pretty good, but there’s still that niggling feeling in the back of your mind that things could be just a little more exciting.

And the danger in believing those little lies is that you’ll just keep coasting along and nothing will ever change. Life won’t get miraculously more exciting all by itself.

 

How to get out of your comfort zone in a non-terrifying way

It’s so important to remember that you don’t have to dive head first out of your comfort zone into doing something terrifying, despite what Instagram may imply with all of those people happily jumping off cliffs and out of planes.

The great news is that it just has to be something unexpected or new. Something where you don’t know what the exact outcome will be, like booking into a new class, learning a new skill or meeting some new people. More like dipping your toes in rather than a huge leap out.

And the amazing thing is that each time you do something new, your comfort zone expands. What was a little uncomfortable at the start, becomes actually pretty comfy. So the next time you can do something that pushes you a little bit further. Those tiny steps can add up to big changes fairly rapidly. And this process helps you get better at taking risks, makes you more creative and can even make your brain sharper! So that cookery lesson or poetry class actually makes you a better human.

Let us help you find your comfort zone sweet spot

Here at Go-do.it, we’re experts at helping you become a doer. Putting you in touch with the people that can help you make things happen. Join us, and we’ll help you show your comfort zone where to stick it. Plus we’ll be with you every step of the way, no matter how seemingly small those steps may be.

 

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks! How learning can literally rewire your brain.

How many people do you know who’ve said (or how many times have you said yourself)…

“I wish I’d learnt a language/sport when I was younger instead of trying to start later in life”?

I’m guessing quite a few. Conventional wisdom tells us that it’s so much easier to learn things when you’re a kid, after all, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

But the fantastic news is that this isn’t strictly true. There isn’t a critical period where you have to learn things by a certain age and the brain certainly doesn’t become fixed at any point. The brain’s ability to adapt and change is known as Brain Plasticity and research from as early as the 1960s have shown that change continues throughout our lives.

So why is it harder to learn things as you get older?

It isn’t a direct result of ageing, learning is simply harder when we’re out of the practice of learning. Children are constantly learning, and so it’s a quick and easy process for them, but as we get older, we already know quite a lot, so we learn less frequently, and the learning muscles in our brain get stiff. Just like any muscle in your body, if you don’t use the learning part of your brain, it gets weaker and then learning new things feels more difficult.

The fantastic news is that there’s still hope for us oldies adults. It is possible to literally rewire your brain, changing its physical structure and function, even as you get older. You can actually train your brain to learn more effectively. The even better news is that this has some amazing side effects as well.

What actually happens in the brain when you learn something?

When your brains wants you to do something, it fires off electrical signals that then whizz along pathways of neurons, going from one to another in a chain reaction – a bit like dominoes, but really really fast.

Just like electrical wires need insulation, so do these chains of neurons in your brain, only instead of plastic, our insulation is a fatty, white substance called Myelin. This white matter makes up nearly 50% of your brain and the stronger these myelin pathways are, the faster the electrical signals can travel.

As you’re learning, a process called myelination happens, where you strengthen the myelin insulation around the pathways of neurons in your brain. As these pathways develop, the signal becomes faster and clearer and new, clunky and uncomfortable skills become smooth and more natural.

But that’s not even the best bit…

Learning doesn’t only help you with the skill that you’ve been learning, it also has a remarkable effect on lots of our other brain functions:

Bigger Brains – Learning and using large amounts of information can actually make your brain bigger! Black cab drivers in London, who have to learn an inordinate amount of information in order to navigate the (horribly confusing web of) London streets without the aid of a satnav, have much larger hippocampuses than ‘normal’ people.[1]

Better Memory – In order to learn new activities, you have to overcome a series of challenges, which helps you improve your memory. [2]

Bounce-back-ability (also known as more resilience) – These challenges also mean, you’re quite likely to make mistakes, and this can actually make you more resilient [3], which means you’ll be better able to cope with, and bounce back from, stressful situations [4].

Faster reactions – Learning a new sport that improves your fitness can also help you become more aware of your surroundings, process information faster and react more quickly [5]

Just generally making you a more competent person  – Learning a new language in particular has a whole range of benefits, including making you better at planning, prioritizing, decision making and understanding other people’s point of view, as well as making you less likely to fall for marketing hype (who knew?!) [6]

Slower ageing – It’s even been found to help delay ageing [7], and slow the onset of dementia[8].

Learning a new skill can feel daunting, but…

It will absolutely get easier the more you learn. Even if you’re out of practice now, as you build those myelin pathways, what feels awkward, will soon start to feel more natural. And remember, you don’t have to learn everything straight away, you just have to start.

(And if you don’t know where to start, why not check out our goals page for some inspiration.)