Now is a Great Time to Try Something New

New Year or not, everyone has a list of "someday, I would like to try…" activities. What is on your list? It can be something small or of epic proportion. Let's face it; life isn't going to get less busy so why not start working on that list now. What is stopping you?

"Trying something new often requires courage, opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new, keeps you from becoming bored and also forces you to grow," according to Dr. Alex Lickerman, the assistant vice president for Student Health & Counseling Services at the University of Chicago. There possible outcomes don't sound so terrible and winter is a great time of year to explore new areas of interest.

Often individuals are concerned about failing or making an investment (of time & money) only to be faced with the uncertainty of whether or not their new venture will succeed. When you try new things in the presence of other beginners and/or those who are experienced in a particular skill you are more likely to get out of your comfort zone. Everyone likes to succeed in what they do and University of Illinois Extension wants to create an environment for that to happen.

University of Illinois Extension's "Bringing Back the Basics: A DIY Approach to Living" series is an effort to take some of the question out of trying to do something for the first time. Perhaps you are curious about what it would take to get started in beekeeping, vegetable gardening, beer brewing, home orchards, vermiculture or baking. Most of the classes offered as part of this series are focused on the beginner. Many of the topics offered in the series aren't new but skills that are seeing resurgence in our daily lives.

For some consumers, they are content to go to the store and buy their vegetables, eggs, honey, bread, etc. However, for those who are looking to be "more connected" to their food, they welcome the opportunity to learn how to raise & prepare their own food from raw ingredients – with the option of being free from pesticides and/or preservatives.

According to the National Marketing Institute "80% of Americans are eager to safeguard the future of their health and that of the environment and society around them. In addition, more people want to shrink their environmental footprint." Many of the topics discussed in this series will address ways you can reduce your environmental footprint by producing some of your own food products or reducing the amount of food waste that goes to the landfill. You don't have to wonder about food miles or freshness when you harvest fruits, vegetables & honey from the backyard. Worms & chickens are great converters of vegetable food scraps to usable organic matter which helps to build richer, more productive soil rather than letting those same food scraps contribute to ethylene production.

So who knows, try something new and maybe you'll have a new hobby by the time spring rolls around. At the very least you'll have a new topic of discussion around the dinner table as you tell tales of chickens, worms, bees, & homebrew.

Registration information for the Bringing Back the Basics series.