8 Simple Ways To Ignite A Year Of Exploration

There are many instances when a routine is necessary — think morning workouts, and nightly skincare regimens. But if you’ve ever found yourself questioning whether you need a little more inspiration, you aren’t alone. That feeling is perfectly natural. The fact of the matter is sometimes we slip into patterns that fail to challenge or excite us on a daily basis. This can cause restlessness, or even complacency with our day-to-day lives.

Still, it can be hard to break free from that comfortable, sometimes monotonous schedule. That’s why we’re challenging you to explore your options. And the best time to start this self-exploration is now. As you grow, your ambitions and aspirations may change — you may be waiting to settle down or have already started your family. That’s why it’s important to remain curious because it just may be the perfect time to take on new challenges and discover your true passions. Take charge of your decisions and spend some time reflecting on your strengths and priorities this year — this will all help you prepare for the future.

We’ve teamed up with Merck on Her Life. Her Adventures., an educational campaign aimed to encourage women to know their options and set priorities, including talking with their doctor about family planning and birth control, to help them feel better prepared for whatever lies ahead. With this campaign as inspiration, we dreamed up eight options that may ignite a year of exploration.

1. Move To A New City

Offset: Cavan Images

Up and leaving may not be an option for everyone, but it’s possible to grow professionally and personally by taking advantage of opportunities within your company that may lie in another state. If you have dreams of spending time in another state or a foreign country, ask your manager about relocation options. Requesting a location transfer allows you to experience a new city or town while continuing to build your career with an organization you (hopefully) enjoy and respect. It also gives you the chance to broaden your professional network in a new market and collaborate with different colleagues. If your employer doesn’t have other offices, ask about remote working opportunities within the company. Perhaps there’s a chance you can explore new places and activities without missing a beat!

2. Learn A New Skill


Believing you can improve yourself and do things that are beyond your current capabilities can be both exciting and rewarding. Whether it’s learning computer programming skills, dabbling in a second language, taking violin lessons, or training to run a marathon, developing a new skill can be invaluable to your career and your personal life. Understand that your time is valuable and dedicate yourself to honing skills that will result in the greatest benefit.

3. Travel For A Worthy Cause

Offset: Tim Hall / Image Source

If you can take off an extended period of time away from work, try living on an organic farm for several weeks. To promote cultural and educational experience, there are worldwide programs that link volunteers who are passionate about healthy food and living with farmers and growers. You could offer your help in exchange for food, housing, and — maybe best of all — the opportunity to learn about a different way of life.

4. Start A New Hobby

Diving into a new hobby may allow you to explore multiple interests, and even has the potential to lead to a full-time career down the road. Your hobby could be anything: designing greeting cards, developing an app, or teaching yoga on the weekends. Find something that inspires you, and remember to be patient with yourself. Who knows? You might just surprise yourself and make a little extra money along the way!

5. Meet New People

Make it a point to regularly seek out new individuals who inspire and motivate you. Seek out people who work for companies you’re interested in, or who are involved in fields that you want to pursue. On a more personal level, find individuals of different backgrounds or interests — don’t just stick to the friends you met in college. Be brave and show up alone to a meetup or club sports league. By expanding your social circle, you’ll not only open yourself up to opportunities, but you’re sure to ignite many meaningful conversations, as well.

6. Pursue An Unfamiliar Industry

Offset / Hill Street Studios / Blend

Academic institutions don’t call it “continuing education” for nothing. Whether you are looking to upgrade skills in your current field or for training in an entirely new area, enrolling in a professional certificate program can help you take that next step on your career track and help you earn a credential that makes you stand out in a competitive workplace. Most schools offer evening and weekend classes for working adults. At the very least, taking classes can simply satisfy your love of knowledge, or open doors you never knew existed.

7. Read Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

In your year of exploration, start a reading project and devote time to curling up with books that will teach you things you actually want to learn, as well as novels that will challenge you and give you the perspectives of different types of characters. Meanwhile, you’ll improve your knowledge, expand your vocabulary, and enlarge your view and understanding of the world. You might even view your project as a journey of self-discovery or a way to focus.

8. Explore Your Options

Heather Lazark

So, let's be real: there are many things you can do to ignite a year of exploration as long as you plan ahead for your upcoming adventure(s). Whatever you choose to do, in whatever industry, country, or social setting you choose to explore, having a reliable plan in place can help you explore each and every option. For some, this may include talking to your doctor about your family planning and birth control options, including reversible, daily, non-daily and longer-term ones. Whether you're embarking on a solo journey, or have a partner and/or a family to consider in this madness we call life, map out a game plan as you work toward your ambitious goals.

This post is sponsored by Merck.

Visit to learn more about the campaign, get information, and get involved by sharing your own adventures. And, check out Her Life. Her Adventures. Facebook and Instagram channels!

Images: Main image: Pexels; Offset (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)