Is “Have Fun” on Your To-Do List?

Last month was a tearful one, as three close friends suffered immense and abrupt losses—two grieved the death of parents, one of an aunt. It was a grim month, but also inspiring because I was reminded how precious life is.

Many people don’t get a reminder as powerful as this, or they ignore the wake-up call. They treat life like a burden, going from one chore to the next: Head to work, pick up laundry, return emails. They may even regard loved ones as chores: Call best friend, pick up the kids. Then, when they feel depleted and exhausted, they bully themselves into thinking they’re not good enough, smart enough or in control enough to do it all with ease. Like so many, they have bought into the lie that fun is a luxury.

Not anymore. Today, I want you to ask yourself some important questions. Do you treat life like a gift or a burden? Will you spend your limited moments experiencing life as a chore, under the weight of guilt, worry and shame? Or will you live in the freedom of forgiveness, curiosity, love and joy? It’s important to realize that prioritizing fun is not extravagant or selfish—it’s a celebration of the gift of life. If you’re ready to bring more fun and joy into your life, use these tips to get started:

1. Whenever you catch yourself saying, “I have to,” reframe it with “I choose to.” It’s amazing how this little shift can lift your mood. Choosing reminds you that your activities are meaningful, which leads to joy.

2. List 20 things that bring you joy. When life gets busy, we actually forget how many things we enjoy. This can serve as a simple, but important reminder.

3. Choose something from your joy list, schedule it like an appointment once a week, and enforce a cancellation policy (for instance, $10 goes in a “joy jar” reserved for fun activities for all cancellations).

4. Tell close friends/family that you are prioritizing fun. Loved ones can unintentionally sabotage us when we try to make changes in our behaviors because they don’t understand what we’re doing or why it’s important to us. For example, you start going to the gym because you love Zumba class and the way you feel afterwards, but your friend says, “Just skip it. You look great! Come to happy hour with me instead.”

5. Every night, write down your most enjoyable moment of the day. This exercise will teach you to look for joy and will help you get comfortable having fun everyday.

What fun did you have today?

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