A Listmaker’s Guide to Spontaneity

The hard truth: Spontaneity doesn’t just happen.

In the literal sense, it does. However, in real life, unbridled spontaneity can be a complete and total mess—unless of course, you’re prepared!

As someone who has been battling control issues for years, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching. I’ve pondered why I am at times so tightly wound, and other times as carefree as can be. (Yet another paradoxical element of my high/low personality—paging Dr. Freud!)

I’ve come to believe that if you are generally prepared in life, riding the wave of spontaneity can happen with ease—even for control freaks fans.

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The concept of balancing control and chaos is not something I’ve invented—just repurposed. It’s a bit like the 80/20 philosophy of healthy eating. If you can practice self-care with food, and fitness, 80% of the time—you can indulge the other 20% of the time. (I was in that 20% at 5 Guys just yesterday—moving on!)

Fast food, fatty food, cocktails on ice—it’s all good when you know you’ll snap back to order on Monday. If you’re generally prepared for life’s more basic tasks (food, laundry, chores, work), then you can be ready when spontaneity comes knocking (without calling first).  All of the whimsy, minus the guilt and anxiety!

So where does this leave us? A list! Yes, you’ll need a list to get you through.

4 SIMPLE WAYS TO PREPARE FOR SPONTANEITY:

INTENTION: Acknowledgement is the first step, right? If you were drawn to the title of this post, you’re likely a bit of a control freak fan, who would prefer to let go. It’s okay! Control freaks fans are often organized and successful people—just not as fun. (Sorry!) Appreciate the many benefits of your order-disorder. Now, set an intention to work on letting go (in a controlled manner, of course).

SCHEDULE & ORGANIZE: No, I’m not messing with you! (I knew you would be psyched!) Preparedness is your key to success. If you can maintain order throughout the week, letting go (when you want to) will be easier, I promise!

  • A last minute invite (or emergency) leaves you scrambling? A written schedule and a list of backup childcare can expedite your reaction time. Make things clear and easy in case others have to pick up where you left off.
  • A spontaneous weekend away? Packing will go smoothly when you’ve been pecking away at laundry all week, instead of allowing the dreaded pileup.
  • Sudden dinner guests? I could suggest stocking a few special meals in the freezer every so often- but that may be asking too much. At the very least, you know where the take-out menus are. Stock the bar shelves instead–no guest will complain when a drink is in hand!

Preparedness improves any situation— why do you think they suggest packing a bag long before childbirth? Expect the unexpected!

LET GO: The truth is, if we are listing ways to be spontaneous, we may not fully succeed– and that’s okay! When surprises arise (whether good or challenging), your preparation will make it much more likely that you greet them with ease or delight!

You can try to control it, or you can just roll with it.

Your willingness to read this entire post tells me you’re working in the right direction. So go—control the shit out of all you can. When the time comes to let go, you’ll be fine!

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