When Katelyn Parsons made the spontaneous decision to adopt a rescue puppy, she didn’t realize how much she was about to learn about herself from raising a pet.
Parsons, a certified intuitive eating and body image coach, grew up with dogs. She was used to their basic upkeep and enjoyed being in the company of furry friends.
Winnie, a sweet Labrador mix, quickly became part of the family. However, Parsons says she struggled to raise Winnie in the early days of puppyhood.
“If puppy postpartum is a thing, I certainly had it,” Parsons says, admitting that she had hours of tearful conversations with her best friends and husband where she wasn’t sure if it would work out.
Even though the early days were tough, Parsons was determined to trust her intuition. She knew making this decision was more than tapping into spontaneity. It was meant to be. “I trusted that this decision was meant to teach me something great and unconditionally love this sweet girl. Winnie has not only taught me a deeper level of patience, selflessness, and companionship. She’s reinspired my ability to simply play.”
Over the course of a year, the average American will make 6,709 spontaneous decisions. The average American acts spontaneously nearly 18 times each day, according to results from a new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Cub Cadet.
Those surveyed in the study that considered themselves to be spontaneous are also 40% more likely to consider themselves happy. Of those polled, 38% described themselves as content and satisfied with their life.
If you’re not quite at the space where you feel ready to add a little spontaneity to your daily life — and this is more common than we think, with only one in six Americans considering themselves to be quite spontaneous — then how can you get there? Follow these simple, steady steps to get on the road to spontaneity.
1. Listen to your inner voice.
Take a moment to get quiet. Set aside everything you’re currently worrying or stressing out about. Find your inner voice. Let it speak. Listen. What does this voice say?
Dilan Gomih spent most of her time working in 2014. She was in finance as an FX analyst and buried in her workload. One of Gomih’s colleagues kept asking her to go to fitness classes with her and Gomih usually declined the offer.
However, one day she decided to say yes.
“That decision changed my life,” Gomih recalls. “I walked out of class full of endorphins and obsessed with how much stronger I felt physically and mentally.”
Gomih started to become a fitness instructor while continuing to work in finance. She then went to Harvard Business School to get her MBA. Now, she spends her life helping busy professionals achieve their wellness goals both in her corporate role and as an instructor.
Her entire life changed simply because she listened to that little voice speaking up!
“The day I said yes to that fitness class there was a tiny voice in saying ‘Just go — what’s the worst that could happen?’ My advice is to listen to that little voice,” Gomih says. “More often than not, I’ve found it’s actually telling you to make a big move!”
2. Get comfortable knowing you can’t plan for everything.
When Dr. Rennes Toussaint made the spontaneous decision to move to Peru, she was alone in a country where she did not speak the native language. Despite these setbacks, Toussaint discovered that every aspect of her life started to improve.
She learned a new language and felt herself start to become more fit mentally, emotionally, and physically. “It was by no means easy, but I had the experience of a lifetime,” Toussaint says. “I finally learned what it meant to put myself first, honor my feelings, and to love myself.”
Seeking out ways to live in the moment often means acknowledging that we do not know how that moment might play out. We might try to plan for what we think is the perfect moment, but those plans don’t always hit the mark. Usually it is the organic, impulsive, and — you guessed it! — spontaneous moments that fill our lives with pure happiness.
Start getting comfortable in knowing that you can’t plan for the greatness that is to come in your life. Open yourself up bit by bit to the possibility of good things discovered in the unknown.
“Things will align better when you release your need to be in control,” Toussaint says. “The best experiences of your life are usually the ones not completely thought out or planned.”
3. Spontaneous decisions are often in alignment with our truth.
Joyce Bao, a purpose strategist, life transformation coach, and host of the Permission to Become podcast, randomly came across an improv workshop during the COVID-19 pandemic. She describes the two-hour workshop as feeling like it lasted two minutes.
“I walked away, buzzing with joy, from the silliness of our imaginative games,” Bao says.
Shortly after this workshop, she decided to sign up for a 6-week improv class. It was a major turning point for Bao, who used to consider herself to be a perfectionist. The course gave her the opportunity to catapult over her fears, get out of self-centered reactions to life, and stay with the present. Improv gave her the opportunity to embrace her own humanness and to celebrate happy accidents.
As we slow down and listen to the voice in our head, make room for uncharted territory, and learn to trust our intuition, chances are that the spontaneous decision we are about to make is in alignment with our truth. Sometimes it even allows us to come full circle in our lives, leading and living our best possible life.
“Making a spontaneous decision is a practice of building a relationship with our intuition and inner wisdom. Often, we feel a rush of excitement or the buzzing in our body as an intuitive sign to take the leap into our becoming,” Bao says. “Making a spontaneous decision that is in alignment with our truth helps us walk on the path of our joy and fulfillment.”