Sometimes, you simply can’t take it anymore. The level of boredom has reached a point where you start appreciating that guy’s awful jokes at the office, and perhaps even the bills coming in your mailbox – anything to break the monotony.

It’s the daily routine, and while it may be comfortable at times, it quickly gets detrimental to creativity and your well-being. Granted, we all have schedules to follow, but there is no need to get stuck in the same old habits. Everyone needs a bit of surprise, variety and even a little chaos in their day to keep their minds sharp.

Join us on a quest for happiness. Follow our guide below to break your routine in 30 days to give yourself a fresh start. Then, let us know how it went. We bet you’ll have a few stories to tell!

Day 1. Say No To Negativity.

It doesn’t matter whether it comes from people around you or from within yourself: use your willpower to shut off negativity altogether. For a full 24 hours, just focus on the positive aspects of your life. Being mindful and grateful for the small things is a sure-fire way to get started. More importantly, don’t let anything come in between you and your happy thoughts.

Day 2. Take A Break From Social Media.

Celebrities do it, so don’t tell us you can’t live without tweeting or ‘gramming for one day. Resist the urge to share for a whole 24 hours. We bet you’ll have a lot more interesting things to write tomorrow. If you need help, check out our Digital Detox guide.

Day 3. Smile At A Stranger.

We all need a little encouragement. If you commute by public transport, try doing it on your way to work, especially on a Monday. You could be changing somebody’s day (or week) for the better.

Day 4. Ditch The Sweet Tooth.

Keep off added sugar, sweets and fizzy drinks for one whole day. No sweetener in your coffee or chewing gum. You will appreciate your meals more, and be able to assess your average sugar intake, which will lead you to further insights. You can do it. It’s just one day.

Day 5. Walk On The Edge.

Literally. We all loved it as kids, but it can be surprisingly hard to do as adults. Pick a quiet side street and walk on the edge of the sidewalk, one foot in front of the other, for at least 50 metres. Stop caring what other people think, just do it. Feel liberated. Rejoice. Repeat.

Day 6. Disconnect.

We mean it: no internet (except at work) for 24 hours, phone, smartwatch and Alexa included. Instead, try sitting mindfully at a café or on a bench at a park, paying attention to your surroundings, the sounds, your breathing… Or you could have a walk, read a book or get ready for Day 7. Your inbox can wait another 24 hours. Check out our Digital Detox Survival Kit for more inspiration.

Day 7. Make An Exotic Homemade Dinner.

Always eating the same dishes? Open a cookbook and pick the most exotic recipe you can find. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but try challenging your taste buds with something you’d otherwise never pick. Better still, find a cuisine you’ve never tried. Feel like Tibetan tonight?

Day 8. Watch a Silent Movie.

We are constantly surrounded by words (written and spoken), but there is so much more than that to communication. Experiment by watching a silent movie: it can be very refreshing after a long day. What about a classic Buster Keaton?

Day 9. Listen to New Music.

Pick something you’d normally never listen to. Pump up the reggae, electro swing or gypsy jazz. Go for Bach. Tune into banjos. In the Mood for Glenn Miller? Anything outside your comfort zone will do. Here are a few playlists.

Day 10. Lunch in a New Setting.

There is no need to wait for the end of the day to disrupt your habits – your lunch break is a great time, too. Find a new restaurant, bring your sandwich on a walk, have an ice cream instead. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive: how about taking your salad to the park instead of the break room?

Day 11. Try A New Hobby.

Ever picked up a brush? Done improv? We say go for it. Especially if it’s not your thing: the extra effort will get you out of your head. Here are some suggestions.

Day 12. Breakfast For Dinner.

Easy, fun and never goes out of style. Eating breakfast for dinner is playing disruptive by the book. Whether baked beans or croissants, the concept goes without saying. The only question left is: what should you eat in the morning?

Day 13. Visit A Museum.

How long has it been since the last time you went to a museum? Exactly. Art’s therapeutic effect on the mind is a fact. But try broadening your horizons, too: chances are, the next potato museum is not too far away.

Day 14. Do A Random Act Of Kindness.

Feeling sad or tired? What about leaving a positive message on a post-it? It could be in your office’s kitchen, on a vending machine, or even in a public restroom, and it’s ensured to make you feel better. More ideas here.

Day 15. Get Lost.

Ever heard of psychogeographic dérive? It’s a strategy in exploring urban settings rooted in avant-gardism. Walk around trusting your intuition: which next street or corner are you the most drawn to? You will discover interesting things and see your surroundings in a different light. What’s more, after awhile you will start looking at the very mental processes and factors determining your choices, a revealing exercise.

Day 16. Do One Thing You Love.

Getting a massage, going on a long bike ride, spending an afternoon at the library, going for a swim… How long have you been postponing? We all have things we want to do but rarely make the time for them. Stop waiting.

Day 17. Leave A Bigger Tip.

Do something for the people that make you happy. Leave a bigger tip during your next meal out.

Day 18. Spend A Day On Your Own.

Peel off the phone, stop the activity flurry and dedicate your day off to yourself: go for a walk, explore your city, go to a lake or the forest. It’s nice to be alone with your thoughts once in awhile (and by now, you should have a lot of fresh input to work on). Your family and friends will understand, and we promise you’ll feel incredibly refreshed.

Day 19. Go No Caffeine.

How sleepy can you really be? Time to find out. Experiment by going without coffee, tea (yes, green tea too), caffeinated and energy drinks for a whole day. Chances are, you will feel calmer, work better and sleep tighter at night (we tried).

Day 20. Go On A Microadventure.

What’s that, you ask? It’s an “overnight outdoor adventure” lasting less than a day, from “5 to 9”, as British adventurer Alastair Humphreys puts it. A typical micro-adventure could be leaving work, camping outside with friends, and going directly to work the next day. You don’t even need a day off.

Day 21. Read A Book In One Day.

Pick a novella (a form of short novel) and read it cover to cover in one day. Forget all about your routine by immersing yourself in a fictional world. Book #2 from our list below will help with choosing a title.

Day 22. Set Goals For The Year.

It’s good to dedicate one day once in awhile to assessing at where you are in your life and what your objectives are for the rest of the year. Whether focusing on financial, artistic or simple lifestyle goals, create a realistic plan on how to achieve them and start putting it in motion – today.

Day 23. Find A New Café.

Have a look at the Instagram feeds for recommended cafés in your city. We bet you’ll fall in love with a place you didn’t even know existed (and it might be closer than you think). Go get your favourite drink. Relax. Enjoy.

Day 24. Get On A Wikipedia Chain.

Start with an article about a topic you’re interested in, and delve in by reading the pages it links to, and so on. You will find out more about a favourite subject of yours and get some fresh inspiration. Don’t know where to start? Click on Random Article.

Day 25. Join A Meetup.

The best thing about meeting like-minded people sharing a passion is, they won’t be annoyed by your talking about it for hours on end. Meetups are more informal than you think, mostly free, and an excellent way to make friends if you’re new in town.

Day 26. Be Bold.

The worst aspect of routine is its capacity of getting us stuck. By doing the same things in the same ways, we get on autopilot and lose the ability to take even the slightest risk. Challenge yourself, be bold. Whether that means standing up for somebody else, for yourself, or simply proposing a new idea at work, anything that will get you moving again will be a fresh breath of air.

Day 27. Experience Virtual Reality.

It’s much more than games. Do you have a friend with an HTC Vive, Sony Playstation VR or Oculus Rift? Ask them to introduce you to virtual reality and leap into another world. Trust us, sitting on the bottom of the ocean or suspended in space looking at the Earth below is something you’ll never forget.

Day 28. Brush Your Teeth With Your Non-Dominant Hand.

Think that’s easy? That’s exactly why you should do it. We get so used to our ways of doing things that we cannot even assess if we’re able to do them differently. We dare you to be a rebel for a full two minutes.

Day 29. Work Different Hours.

Do you have flexible working times? Try starting earlier, and enjoy the sun on an afternoon stroll. Or have a relaxed long breakfast with your morning paper, and start later than usual to finish exactly by dinner time.

Day 30. Go To A Conference.

If you’ve lost touch with a favourite subject, or your field of study, this one is for you. Try going to a conference and catching up with the latest research in the field to rekindle your passion.

Reading list

Surely you’re joking, Mr Feynman by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton – A classic of disruptive thinking, or how a highly successful physicist became (among other things) an artist, safecracker and practical joker.

The Novel Cure. An A to Z of Literary Remedies by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson – An eye-opening guide to science and the world.

How to be Everything by Emilie Wapnick – Do you already know what you want to be when you grow up? No, not yet? Good. You may in fact be a multipotentialite.


Article by Livia Formisani

  • Kristen Roth
    Posted at 23:01h, 10 September

    What happened to days 6-10?

    • Amex Essentials
      Posted at 08:12h, 13 September

      Thank you for catching that, Kristen! We’ve now added the missing days. Perhaps we had been following the Day 15 tip and got a bit *too* lost…

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