Trying something new can be exhilarating—and a lot of fun. Last weekend, I tried two new activities: downhill and cross-country skiing! There were definitely some mishaps (let’s just say I fell a lot, and there was a close call with some trees!), but you could now call me a skiing enthusiast. I may even have a new favorite exercise since cross-country skiing is such a good workout. It differs from downhill in the ski length, the boots (much comfier!), the style (more of a kick-and-glide than the sliding motion of downhill) and, of course, the degree of incline. Cross-country typically follows flatter paths with hills that are much smaller than downhill; in our case, we went through woodsy trails on a farm.
Navigating the learning process of trying something new—both literally and figuratively in this case!—can be frustrating, exhausting and a little scary, but ultimately so worth it in the end. Here are three key aspects to keep in mind when trying something new, whether it’s a new sport, a new subject matter in school or a new experience:
Take a chill pill: And I don’t mean temperature. (It sure was cold on the slopes and in the woods, but I ended up sweating through my clothes both times. Not only was I prepared with warm clothes while skiing, but I also was always on the move!) Relaxing is so important. If you’re on edge, you’re more likely to fall, mess up or get distracted while trying to learn something new. As I relaxed, I felt in the zone and ready to tackle that next hill. Take a deep breath, and just go for it!
Teacher, teacher: The group I was with decided not to take lessons for downhill skiing, but we did for cross-country. Having someone skilled in the activity who also knew how to properly guide us made a big difference for me. I was more conscious of my movements and knew why I was sliding to the left each time I went down a certain hill. Teachers are awesome (and patient!).
You do you: Let’s be real—I’m not the most coordinated person on the planet, which prevented me from catching on as easily with both kinds of skiing. But that’s okay. I tried not to let myself feel bad for being the last one down the hill because I was learning at my own pace. (And hey, we were there to have fun, not race!)
Is it time to go skiing again?
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