Surprise Yourself!

by Nancy Casey

In today’s exercise, you must first do something. You can take as much time as you like—a few minutes, an hour, the whole day. Afterwards, write about what you did and what it was like.  The thing you must do? Surprise yourself.

How do you do that?

You simply do something that you didn’t know you were going to do until you did it.

Maybe you will spontaneously alter your daily routine. You could do your normal steps in a different order. You could add a new step. You could skip a step.

On your way to somewhere, you could suddenly turn left when you usually go straight and end  up taking a different route.

You could dig out an article of clothing that you forgot you had until just now and put it on. Maybe you’ll take it right off, or maybe you’ll wear it all day.

You could give yourself a present.

You could suddenly do a task that you have been procrastinating for so long that the procrastination is itself a habit.

You could get in touch with someone who you didn’t think you would be in touch with today.

You could drop everything and meditate for five minutes. Or one minute. Or two breaths. Or ten hours.

The funny thing about this is that you can’t plan it or figure it out ahead of time. If you do, you will lose the element of surprise. You must simply and spontaneously do something that wasn’t the thing that you thought you were going to do next.

For some people, this is very hard. For others, this is how most days unfold. A whole lot of people are in-between.

Once you’ve surprised yourself, write about it.

You can describe what you did and what it was like to do it. You can discuss with yourself how easy or how hard it was to surprise yourself in this way. Fill up the page with your thoughts about what you did. Illustrate it, too, if you like.

When the page is full, look over all your work and make changes if you like. Put a title at the top of the page. Put a signature or your initials on the page somewhere and write the date, too.

Here is an example of what someone could write. After they did something to surprise themself.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like some help with your writing, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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