For the First Time: mini-misson

Do you remember the first time you ever tasted a new food, or walked through a new city? Do you remember starting something new, and for the first time, experienced something you had never felt before?

How did you feel when you crossed the finish line, started a new job or fell in love for the first time? That joy, excitement and anticipation can only be replicated by trying new things.

When faced with a new opportunity  do you say yes or no more often? Have you ever said no because of:

  • fear?
  • lack of confidence?
  • what people might think?

Those are common concerns, but not reason enough not to try. If you could push through the fear, imagine what you could accomplish. If you could admit that you don’t know it all, but do it anyway, the possibilities are endless. And what other people think has no bearing on what is best for you.

For the sake of feeling comfortable you will turn to those excuses and others, but instead of feeding them, lean into possibility and opportunity and say yes.

Today’s mini-mission is to try something for the first time. You can pick your own first, but here are a few suggestions…

  • Try a recipe with a fruit or vegetable that you have never tasted
  • Build a kite
  • Make a rich dessert and taste it blindfolded
  • Retreat
  • Host a wine tasting
  • Get lost
  • Go bowling
  • Skydive
  • Visit a new church
  • Learn to play a djembe
  • Try a new haircut
  • Go to a poetry reading
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter
  • Learn to knit
  • Go to a yoga class
  • Finger paint
  • Go speed dating (if you’re single)
  • Watch Capoeira or take a class
  • Visit a different country

Firsts are an amazing opportunity to be a beginner, and be inspired to try other new things. Firsts keep us curious and childlike. Firsts remind us that we don’t know what we don’t know.

I was so moved by this first, that I had to share it with you…

What’s your next first going to be?


For more experiments to simplify your life, read Mini-missions for Simplicity. It’s available on the Amazon Kindle store, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can also be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.


  1. says

    This sounds like my kind of mission Courtney. I’m a huge fan of trying new things, but over the next few weeks I have some fairly big changes coming up that are causing me to feel some fear and apprehension.

    I’ve been so wrapped up in the turmoil of the decisions I need to make, that I haven’t been taking time to see all of the opportunities taking a new path will likely open up.

    Thank you for this powerful reminder.

    Oh — and I bought a fennel bulb for the first time this week. In the past, I’ve only used fennel seeds in my cooking. :)

  2. Courtney Carver says

    Jenny, You have already experienced so many great changes over the past year that I know you will face these new decisions with grace. Add in a little logic and a leap of faith, and you will do the things that are best for your life.

    Maybe doing something completely new and unrelated to the decisions you need to make will lend some perspective.

    Good luck and keep me posted!

  3. bridget says

    Fear. Check! Lack of confidence. Check! What will people think? Check! I experienced all these emotions when I recently joined a running group for the first time. The first class met at a local running store and walking in that door was the hardest thing I have ever done. Harder than interviews, starting a new job, etc! I am not a thin or athletic-looking person. I thought “you don’t belong here–these runners are going to judge you.” Sitting outside in my car, everything inside was telling me to LEAVE! Go home and sit on the couch and watch tv. It’s what I’ve always done–quit. I went in, ran every week for seven weeks, and on Saturday finished a 5k. Yep, this fat lady–and only one other person from the class!–finished the training and made it to the race. As my sister said, on Saturday I had both a physical and mental breakthrough! The first step is the hardest. But….JUST DO IT.

  4. says

    I read through the list and wanted to do almost everything listed. But I have two small children, so my adventures are limited. Any thoughts on how to do something adventurous when you also have to deal with two small children? I often take them new places, but it’s still not something for me, something I’m interested in.

    • Courtney Carver says

      I think there are great “firsts” you can experience with your children, but if you have close friends or family that could spend an hour or two with the kids, you could get out to experience something new on your own. Is that an option?

  5. Karin says

    What a moving video — I was crying myself! Love your list; I think I will try watercolours. I treasure my solitude too much to try anything that involves other people…

    • Courtney Carver says

      Karin, It made me cry too! So beautiful. Let me know if you try watercolors. Will you take a class? Because you would rather do something alone, maybe there is an online tutorial worth checking out.

  6. says

    Love learning and trying new things. Learning, growing, wondering, curious- all keep us vibrant and an active participant in life. As opposed to a passive participant that grows bored and stale. I need at least 5 lives to learn and do all that’s interesting out there.
    My newest endeavors have been ballroom dancing; have been taking classes for a year now. Love it. It can be frustrating trying to remember all the steps but I’m learning patience with myself.
    I’m always up for trying new activities. This summer went hot air ballooning for the first time, in Taos, New Mexico. Gorgeous!!!
    Allowing and encouraging ourselves to try on new things pushes us forward into new arenas of possible real interest.
    A few summers ago, I tried out the clowning experience. Went on a Patch Adams clowning service trip to Sicily. I really stepped out of my comfort zone there. But what a fabulous experience. I’ve since dressed up and gone into my dad’s assisted living facility and been silly with the residents, turning on music and getting them up to shake a bit.
    We can try on new roles, personas, etc. What fun!!
    Dare to be adventuresome!!!

  7. says

    My first right now is going my 3rd day without soda. I’m headachy, grumpy, irritated, and nauseated, but for some insane reason, I’m determined to kick this habit. I hate it by the way.

    I’m doing the ecochallenge on your team and I’m trying lots of new firsts with doing meatless days, visiting a farmer’s market, making new recipes (including making pumpkin pie for the first time…got all the ingredients, but haven’t had the time yet), eating butternut squash and spaghetti squash (never heard of it before) for the first time this week, using 90% organic or locally grown ingredients, and I’m doing my first half marathon on December 4, 2011.

    Also, I’m doing another first for Thanksgiving. I’m heading back to England to be with a great guy that I met on my last trip to England. I’m going to a different part of England and he’s taking me to Dublin for a day trip…never done that before. So, I have a lot going on this year.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Kristi, You will feel better by the end of the week. Let me know how it goes dropping Soda.

      I am so glad you joined the Be More with Less ecochallenge team. Congrats on all of your new firsts.

  8. says


    This is such a lovely post and that video was absolutely amazing. I had to dash to the bathroom to grab a box of tissues!

    Your list of firsts is wonderful! Like Kristi (the post above mine), I’ve decided to kick my soda habit and I’ll also be making a pumpkin pie from scratch for the very first time. I’m inspired by your ‘volunteering’ suggestion and I’m going to keep my eyes open for a new volunteering opportunity at the local dog shelter.

    As always, your posts are so thought-provoking! Thank you so very, very much.

    Fond regards,

  9. jenny in NC says

    I think trying new things is great. As long as you don’t make it another check-off list. A check off list can turn it all into one great big stress. If I look back over the past few weeks and realize that all I have done is the same-old-same-old, I’m a-ok with that. As long as I have taken the time to enjoy each moment.

  10. says

    This is a good affirmation for me: I summoned up the courage to start a minimalist blog, recently, true! Some of the minimalists have slated me, reactions are ok good or bad, not everyone will agree with us, will they?! :O lol


  11. says

    The past four months has felt like an avalanche of “firsts” since my wife was diagnosed with MS in July. Today we learn how to do Copaxone injections for the first time. We have definitely been more mindful lately of our experiences and what firsts we want to create for ourselves. Thanks for the wonderful posts. Keep up the great work.