On its most basic level, adventure is just plain fun and a cool experience to write and ‘gram about. And stepping outside of your comfort zone won’t just make your life feel more interesting, it will also change you for the better — making you bolder and more self-assured while improving your social skills. Behavioral scientist and globe-trotter extraordinaire Jon Levy details his scientific approach to defining and fostering novelty in his book, The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure. We took cues from Levy and other larger-than-life personas to identify nine ways that everyone can sneak more excitement into their daily lives.

1. Make new friends. Use small talk to chat with new people with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. Opening yourself up to new friends will challenge you to think differently about all areas of life.

2. Test the waters. Go ahead; try everything you’ve ever dreamed of! Think you want to start rock climbing? Ask around and find someone who can show you the ropes (pun intended!). Even if you find out something isn’t for you, after all, you’ll still gain a new buddy and a funny story about how awkward you were. Best case: You find yourself a year later on a cross-country journey to climb every major mountain in the country.

3. Say “yes” instead of “no.” We don’t mean you should max yourself out by taking on another project or that you should have that distant cousin couch-surf for another month. But if someone invites you to do something different and you’re feeling insecure or lazy, fight the urge to resist, and go for it instead.

4. Turn ordinary occasions into extraordinary occasions. Levy recommends that you think through the narrative of what you’re doing and how interesting it sounds. Going to a bar with your friends isn’t anything new. Going to the bar with your friends and agreeing to only talk to strangers? Who knows what can happen.

5. Commit to exploring. You don’t have to decamp to some far-flung locale or quit your day job to travel the world, but even just scheduling a slight deviation from your home-base on a regular basis will unleash a consistent flow of new possibilities. Once a month, take the train to a chic hotel in a neighboring town, go on a hike you’ve never been on, or drive halfway to meet a friend somewhere in the middle. Meanwhile, create a travel fund that will help you cross off one dream destination per year.

6. Set yourself up to fail. Sure, failing sucks. But it can also be what helps us grow the most. Think about something you’ve been intimidated to try — coding, surfing, learning Mandarin — and take the first step toward acquiring the skill. You may surprise yourself with what you can do, and you’ll even learn from what you can’t.

7. Get physical. Just like our minds, our bodies need to be challenged too. You get a surge of adrenaline every time you try something new and challenging. The adventure can be mild or wild depending on how you define fear. Whether you go skydiving, sleep outside under the stars, or get dirty in a mud race, the idea is to push your physical boundaries and get a little uncomfortable.

8. Don’t plan for it. A lot of us make the mistake of setting out on any adventure — whether it be a night out on the town, first date, or vacation to be — wait for it… legendary. Expectations are a total buzz kill. The next time you go out with friends or embark on a trip, leave behind the pressure of having it be “so much fun,” and instead just enjoy where you are and who you’re with.

9. Know your limits. There are a million ways to chase adventure, and none of them should get you to a place where you feel unsafe or compromised. Push yourself to take chances, but always trust your intuition.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Tweet us @BritandCo! 

(Photos via Getty)