Tag Archives: happiness

Bring Your Life into Balance

The ability to find and maintain balance in your life is a skill. Some people may be more or less skilled at keeping up with all the responsibilities in their lives than you are. If you already feel pretty good about this, you probably can share this article with someone who may need it more than you. If you feel overwhelmed, and not sure how to keep it all running smoothly, then you’re in luck. Finding and maintaining balance is a skill, and because it’s a skill, you can learn or improve it. It’s also a habit. and once you learn a new habit, it gets easier and easier to keep it up. Ready?

beamazingSimplifying life is the easiest way to find and maintain balance. This means finding ways to streamline all areas of your life, so you are not using all your time and energy in only one or two areas to the detriment of others. For instance, you may be working long hours at work, and continuing to work once you get home. As a result, your relationships with family, friends, and your physical health may start to suffer.

It’s like the Plate Spinner at the circus. Perhaps he is capable of successfully spinning 6 plates at once. He starts with one, gets it going smoothly and adds another, and another until all 6 are aloft. Each requires minimal periodic attention to keep it going.

If he skips a plate, or spends more time on another than necessary, the others start to wobble, and eventually fall. Life is like spinning plates. You have your work, your home, your relationships, your physical needs, your spiritual needs, your social responsibilites, and perhaps others.

Take a quick look at how you utilize your time each day, and week to get a glimpse of how many plates you successfully have spinning. This is not to make you feel inadequate if you have only one or two up in the air. It is just to help you determine if some of the plates-or life areas- which aren’t spinning are keeping you off-balance. You’ll notice if you find yourself getting frustrated or angry about situations which you wouldn’t have before, or are feeling tired, out of shape, lonely or unhappy with work or life in general.

Simplifying life then is to find a way to include the missing relationships or needs. To find a way to spin a couple more plates will require you to spend less energy on the one that demands too much time. This could mean finding ways to delegate responsibilities, or saying no to nonessential requests, or combining activities that can spin plates in more than one area. For instance, taking a walk with a spouse or friend  adds relationship and physical value to your life. Enlisting help at work can be social as well as working. Make a list of some activities commitments you can drop, and some ways to combine your life areas.

Simplifying life is like cleaning out your closet. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need and doesn’t suit or fit you. Keep only the things which you love. You and your closet will have more space to fill with the activities which make you feel fulfilled and happy.

 Get simplified, and enjoy more…life.


Give a Piece of Your Heart

Our senses are direct lines to our memories. Certain smells can put you right back in your grandma’s kitchen, or singing around the campfire. Then you are bombarded with the feelings you experienced there.

Songs can take you back to a time with someone special, or a place with great memories. You can travel there in your mind with the music, can’t you? All the memories may not be happy, but they are part of who you are today. Be grateful for them.

Today, as I walked outside in my beautiful autumn-fied neighborhood, I heard a song that took me back in time. I smiled, a lot. It felt good to relive the feelings. It also inspired me to look back at some old writing I’d done, and came across this poem, called ‘you have my heart’.

To me, it’s a reminder to how all our connections with people, no matter how long or short, can have an impact on us. They can leave an imprint on our life story. How truly fortunate! We may not always know how we affected someone else, but often times we can make all the difference to them at that time and place. If you have children, then surely you feel that they are pieces of your heart walking around in the world.

Just as we leave pieces of ourselves with others, think about the people who have helped, inspired or supported you in your life. Isn’t it miraculous that you connected with those people when you did? They left a special piece of themselves with you.

So here’s my poem, dedicated today to all of you who have connected with someone who left their name on your heart. Blessings to each of you for accepting a piece of my heart each time you find inspiration in what I share.

 You Have My Heart

 A humble beginning

chronicles the merging

of two hearts into one

 

Hope and promise

beckon what waits ahead

in the story that is theirs

 

In the blink of an eye

the years pass by

adding chapters

 

Joy and pain

share the pages

leaving their marks

 

Through it all

 is clearly written

you have myheart

 

The last page turns

in all great books

much too soon

Go share your amazing self with someone today.


How to Get Where You Want to Be in Life

Getting where you want to be in life seems hard and confusing sometimes, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to. It’s quite similar to using your computer or GPS system to guide you from one location to the next.

There are a couple of basic requirements for GPS to work. You need to know where you’re starting from, and where you plan to go. The more specific, the better. You can say you want to travel from Chicago to San Francisco and get most of the necessary directions. If you add specific addresses to both locations, you have a plan that takes you from door to door. How simple is that?

You have your own ability to go from one place in your life to another. It’s called your Inner Global Positioning System (GPS). It has the same basic requirements as the auto GPS; you still need to know where you are and where you want to go.

This question, however is a bit more involved. Not all of us know where we are, or where we want to go. Your Inner GPS can’t give you any help without this information. You are at a standstill, or you are lost.

What does it mean to know where you are now? This involves asking some tough questions and giving honest answers. Start by taking stock of your life in these areas:

  • Career/work
  • Family life
  • Education
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Spirituality

 

Think back 3, 5 or 10 years and ask yourself, “Where did I hope to be right now in these areas?”. If you regularly set goals for yourself, this should be fairly easy to determine. If you don’t set goals, or write New Year’s Resolutions, you may not have a yardstick to use as a measure.

This is a critical first step to calibrating your Inner GPS. Even if you have goals or life plans, updating them every 6 months or so is an excellent habit to keep you on track, as you never know when construction detours by way of unforeseen circumstances (lost work, sickness, divorce, etc.) can impact what you want for your life.

Take some time and write down where you are in your life right now. If you don’t know where you are, you won’t know how to get to your desired goals! Make this a priority so you don’t wander aimlessly through life.

The next step is to know where you want to be with your life. Do you want to start a new career? Are you itching to live someplace warmer? Have you thought about your family size? What about feeling healthier and happier? What specifically do you want to accomplish in these areas?

These are the next questions you need to clarify. Using goals and visualizations in all areas can help you stay focused on getting you going in the right direction. The clearer you are about your plan, the easier for your Inner GPS to lead the way, and show you the steps to take to get there.

It’s time now for you to turn on the GPS and start taking steps to your ideal life. Start today, don’t look back 3 years from now and say, “I wish I had started sooner”. For more help, see some of my other articles on Goal Setting on my website.

Enjoy, and may all your traffic lights be green!


Need a 15 Minute Vacation?

Ahh, it’s finally time to relax, let go of all your work, home, and other obligations because you’re on vacation. You’ve been dreaming, planning and counting the days until now. How often do you get the opportunity to let go of all the messy, stress-y stuff you experience in life every day? Once a year, or less?

And, if you do take a vacation with the family, how often does it not turn out the way you planned and imagined it would be? We once drove from Texas to the Grand Canyon with three children under age 12. An amazing experience was planned. The first sign that things were not going according to plan was when the fun car games were exhausted after only three hours, and promptly

Wish I Was HERE!!!
Wish I Was HERE!!!

replaced with a chorus of, “are we there yet?” The crowning achievement was when we arrived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and within 10 minutes they were all ready to leave. No interest in exploring or hiking or even taking it all in. So much for the ultimate vacation. Sigh.

Sound familiar? What if you could take a vacation any time you wanted, and not have to worry about the enjoyment of others at the same time? You can, if you don’t mind using a bit of imagination.

There are limitless ways for you to get away, if only in your mind, for a mini-vacation, but here we’ll talk about four quick and easy ones. One or more should be available to you almost anywhere, anytime.

1. Go Outside. Sounds easy, and you may wonder how this could be a vacation; you did, after all come in from outside at some point today. Well, this journey out-of-doors will have a different purpose. Your mindset on this short trip will be to look around you at whatever flora, fauna, and interesting views may be found. If you have time to walk to a park or more natural area, great! Regardless, find a place to sit, or lean and just look around. Take in the sights, smells, and the feel of the temperature, sun or breeze on your skin. Just pay attention, and let go of everything you just walked away from. Notice what may be blooming or fading. Are there any critters around? Watch the birds or squirrels, and you may find yourself laughing at their antics. In other words, take a few minutes-or more- and smell the roses. When you feel ready to go back to your life before your mini-break, go ahead, but bring the feeling of being connected to nature with you. And, if you can’t actually go outside, find a window where you can do the same things. Imagine the scents and the feel of the wind. Be creative.

2. Visualize Your Favorite Destination. If you have favorite places you’ve been, sit back, close your eyes and take yourself back there and relive it, if even for a few minutes. Try to make your pictures in your mind as vivid as possible. Put yourself in the place and see yourself feeling great, having fun. If you can’t visualize very easily, find a few photos from your trip and look at them, and then get into the feelings you experienced while there. If you do this regularly, it will be easier to get away in your mind. Stay as long as you need to feel like you did on vacation.

3. Read a Travel Book. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to Australia, but don’t have a plan to make it happen. Buy a book on your dream destination and take a few minutes to look at the beautiful photos and highlights of must see places once you get there. Imagine what it will be like. The bonus here, is that the more real your vacation seems to you, the likelier you are to make it happen!

4. Write a Travel Journal.  On paper or your computer, take a few minutes as often as possible to write down where you have been and loved, or places you are longing to visit.Call it your Travel Bucket List. Have fun picking all your most interested spots, and write about what you want to do/experience at each. Pretend you are there, and write an account of what you are experiencing. Use your imagination. Again, the more you want it and the more you feel motivated to make it happen, chances skyrocket that you’ll find yourself in that very spot someday.

Just a few quick ways to take you out of your present here, and travel to a place where you can be calmer, less-stressed and perhaps happier. Try to carve a few minutes out of every day, and you’ll find yourself better able to handle the rest of the day. Until your next mini-vacation. It’s waiting for you. Go.

 


Get Out of Your Way, and Be Awesome

 

You are your own worst critic.

Do you believe this to be true for you? If you aren’t sure, take a day or two and pay attention to the voice inside your head and what it says about you. See if any of these sound familiar for you. “Why did you do that?” “Don’t look in the mirror, it’s disgusting”. “Idiot, why didn’t you speak up?” On and on, right?

Chances are you’ve been saying these things to yourself for so long you may not even pay attention to the voice any more. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, happily piling on the bad feelings and guilt for you to swallow and to confirm, yet again, that you indeed are not special, or beautiful, or talented, or smart, or whatever you feel you may be lacking. Ugh, does it have to be like this?

…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!
…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!

No it doesn’t. Do you know what’s great about this? You can also be your biggest fan. You don’t have to believe everything you hear about yourself, even if it comes from your own mind. Chances are it started out somewhere else. Perhaps you had a dream of becoming a world-class athlete, but those around you told you it wasn’t possible; you were too clumsy, or undisciplined, or tall, or short, or whatever they thought you were lacking to be successful. And over time you started to believe it; these people know better than you do, after all.

But do they? Who could possible know what you, in your heart of hearts, want to do with your life better than you? Nobody. Yet somewhere along the way, you may have let their opinions hijack your own dreams. Good news is it’s not too late to take back control of your own preferred life. Does that sound exciting? Or are you skeptical?

All it takes is a concerted effort to listen for the voice in your head, and when you hear the criticisms and put-downs, take a moment to stop, and do something different. It’s really only the breaking of a bad habit (talking negatively to yourself) and replacing it with a new, better habit (talking more positively to yourself).

As an example, let’s say you wanted to stop chewing your fingernails. In order to be successful, you could find something else to do instead of biting them, whenever the urge arises. For instance, you may chew on a piece of gum, or a hard candy, so your mouth is already busy, until the urge passes. Or, you could find a way to make the habit less desirable. Others have tried painting their nails, or even having fake nails attached to discourage the satisfaction of biting. Or, you could apply a pepper or vinegar or other un-tasty flavor either on or under your nails. Eventually, if you aren’t feeling rewarded for your behavior, you will stop desiring it, and ultimately no longer indulge.

Let’s apply this strategy to combat the negative voices in your head. Here are a variety of options. Pick one, or more, that works for you.

  • Start by listening to what you say to yourself, pay attention, and start catching the negative comments by saying “NO” whenever you hear them. The first step is finding the problem and acknowledging it. Write them down in a notebook throughout the day.
  • When you do hear one, take a moment to counter them with positive, encouraging statements. For instance, when you hear the voice tell you, “you might as well finish the ice cream, it’ll just be calling you the rest of the night”, you can say, “NO, I only need a taste to feel good. I can save the rest for another day.”
  • Write down the opposite statements. Every time you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, stop and write it down. Then think of an opposite, better thought and say it out loud (or in your head if you’re in public). When you write the thoughts down, they are exposed, and you can see clearly how they are hindering your happiness and growth. You may keep a notebook filled with them and watch how they will change over time as you eliminate them.
  • You don’t have to be perfect. When you knock yourself down for being inferior, counter with, “I am doing the best I can, and learn to do this better every time.” Even Thomas Edison touted his successful inventions only came after thousands of failed attempts.
  • Find examples of past successes. When you hear yourself say you are ‘always this’ or ‘never do that’, stop and think about, or write down times in the past where you were successful at this, or something similar. You already know how to be better, reawaken this belief and find the criticism shrink away.
  • Start with your strengths. If you are unsure about your strengths, ask a few people whom you trust and have your best interests at heart. Armed with what they tell you are your amazing qualities, you can move ahead knowing that your thoughts are wrong. After all, if your best friend, who cares about you, believes that you are a fantastic problem-solver, and get along with anyone, who are you to disagree? Own it, and quiet the dissenting voices with a reminder when you hear them.

These are just a few ways to replace the critics in your head with tried and true fans. Try them all, or pick one and focus on success, until you feel good about you. I highly recommend writing down your experience, whichever strategies you use, because when you can see the change happening, you will be encouraged to keep going. You will be just as awesome as you thought you were as a kid.  Next, perhaps work on that habit of turning on the TV or you-tube, when you want to avoid doing something…Old habits are hard to break, but luckily not impossible.

 

 


How Happy Are YOU?

How Happy Are You?

Quick answer, how happy are you, in general on a scale of 1 to 10? A 1 being, “what is happiness?” and a 10 being, “a 12!”

I sincerely hope that you didn’t hesitate to say 10, but I know that not all days can be tens. Let’s see if we can bring up your score, because happiness is your natural state. You just need to find it.

The first step to feeling happier any time is to loosen the expectations of yourself, others and the situation. If you want to be quoteslove

happier today at work, decide to enjoy whatever you are doing. Try not to put pressure on your result, be open to the process.

If you want to be happier today with others, try to look at the world through their eyes, if only for a moment. If that seems difficult, just give them your acceptance for wherever they are in life.

If you want to be happier with your life today, begin with acknowledging all that you have, and give thanks. It could always be worse.

Lastly, the best way to be happier, in a moment, is to smile at someone (if only at the person in the mirror!). Even if there isn’t a reason, share your smile. Before you know it, you feel better, and chances are other people around you will too.

Good job, I knew you were a 10!


Top 10 Things I Want Most (that don’t exist)

***This was written in 2008 in response to a prompt. I have brought it out, dusted it off and am working on a book that pulls this wish list into my world of how to live my own dream life- and how you can too.  Enjoy, and look for the book soon!

This is an exciting question. I generally like to think of myself as an idea person, so I choose to address this in terms of things I want most that do not currently exist. Think outside the box, so to speak. Others have called me a dreamer, or a round peg in a square hole, or just shake their heads. That’s OK, being different is my mantra.

Here are the Top 10 things I want most (off the top of my head):

  1. One of those microwave-type magic meal makers, like in the Jetson’s

It would make life so much easier to walk over to it and say, “Lobster Newburg for 3” and have it pop out in a flash. Not to mention, our menu would then have more than the present 7 choices.

  1. A retractable roof above my bathroom and bedroom

Like my very own superdome. A homedome Now, on starry summer evenings I can watch for shooting stars to wish upon from the comfort of my own bed. Or from my bathtub, complete with candles, music, a glass of fine wine, and maybe my own special McDreamy…

  1. A device that allows me to flawlessly speak and understand any language known to man at the press of a button

It would be such fun to wander aimlessly around the world and fit in like a native. It would also be interesting to eavesdrop on conversations others feel sure you don’t follow-just because.

  1. Chocolate that won’t melt, until I want it to

Beyond the M&M, it would be the richest milk chocolate mixed with my favorite flavors which I could take with me anywhere, even in my pocket, to enjoy at me leisure.

  1. A debit card that works like my kids think it does

They seem convinced that just because I have the card with me, it should be able to purchase anything, any time. I remember thinking the same thing as a kid, “Just write a check, Mom”. If only it were true.

  1. To be able to pause real life

Ever have those moments, when you look back and wish, If only I had said/done this? Well, this would prevent those. Provide the extra time to formulate the perfect action or response to the situation. Or to take a cat nap without missing anything exciting happening in your life. Or to brush your teeth before that kiss. The possibilities are endless.

  1. To dance on stage with Mikhail Baryshnikov, or front row seats to a tennis match in person between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, or Roger Federer and, well anyone.

I know, both of these things may have been possible- at some time. That is, of course assuming I can dance well enough to share the stage with Baryshnikov (oh, well, that’s different- has always been a dream of mine though).

  1. Kids who do their own laundry, and cooking (unless we had a Jetson-wave)

I have actually heard of such kids existing, but never personally met any.

  1. Cats who learn how to use the toilet

The one chore that everyone seems to want to hand off to someone else is cleaning the cats’ litter box. I have always lived in households with cats, and love them to death because they are self-sufficient in so many areas. If they would just learn to use the toilet, I’m pretty sure they would be the perfect pet.

  1. A camera that automatically takes off 10 years and 20 pounds

You’ve heard how the camera adds 10, 20, even 30 pounds (depending on who you ask, and how much less they wish they weighed). Well, this miraculous camera would do just the opposite. Imagine fantastic photos all the time, looking your best, and 10. 20 or 30 pounds lighter (depending on how much less you wished you weighed). I might actually update my family portrait from the 10 year old one on the wall. Oh, to look younger and skinnier. Almost as good as feeling younger and skinnier (that would be number 11).

Well, that’s my wish list for today. Tomorrow I may dream up a new one. These will be so yesterday by then.

 


When You Hit Rock Bottom, Take a Climbing Course

 

Imagine this, if you will. It’s been a rough year; your hours cut or worse, laid off from work, unexpected medical problems, kids have school needs, broken hot water heater…and on, and on. Trouble keeps showing up at your door.

Soon you find yourself behind on a couple of bills, then a few more, then the phone or the electricity is disconnected. And the fees for all the late payments and the disconnects start multiplying when you were unable to pay the original amount. It seems like a losing battle, doesn’t it? An endless catch-22.

What do you do now?

Well, it’s decision time. You have two choices: Do something, or do nothing.  You may feel helpless and stuck where you are, but just like when you fall off a horse, you have to get back on as fast as possible to prevent wallowing in the muck. It might seem like taking a break to survey how you got down here can be useful, but only for as long as it takes you to determine your next step.

If you don’t know what your next step is, you can’t take it. And then you’ll stay stuck at the bottom. I know. I’ve been there, more than once. It’s a scary place to visit, let alone stay for very long. But do you know what’s even more scary? Worrying that you’ll never get out.

Now your rock bottom state may be nothing like the one described above, but if at any time, or for any reason, you feel like you can’t get any further down, it’s time to take action.

Ask yourself these questions: Do I want to stay here and do nothing, hope I get rescued, or wait till it goes away? Or, do I want to climb back up to a happier, less-stressed life?

 Ok, you may want to say yes to that first question, but that will only put off your eventual yes to the second question (unless you really do have someone who can rescue you…but don’t count on it). So, just say “YES! I want to climb out of the muck and back into the productive level of life”! That, my friend, is the first, and the hardest step you can take. And once you do, there can be no looking back, only forward and upward.

What about the second step? The first forward action step is hard if you don’t know what to do next. Here is where that climbing course comes in. Climbing Out of Rock Bottom 101. It’s part of the Life Experience Major, School of Hard Knocks. You may not have realized you had enrolled in the program, but you may as well get your moneys’ worth.

The syllabus looks like this:
1.    You Are Here * (The Mental Prep)
2.    Choose Your Route
3.    Gather Your Gear
4.    Practice the Climb (The Physical Prep)
5.    Learn to trust Yourself
6.    View From the Top

It’s a practical, proven process to get you from stuck in the muck to making your way up the hill or the mountain where the sun is shining. Certainly you may be afraid to take a wrong step and end up at the bottom again, but with the right tools and confident steps and support, you can only go up.

Are you ready to climb out of the muck? It won’t be easy, but if you keep taking steps every day, you have to succeed.

That first step is to really take a look at where you are right now. How did you get here? What is not working well in your life at present? Spend some time on these questions. Write down all the thoughts that pop into your head over the coming week or so, until you feel like you have exhausted where you are and why.

You may want to enlist the help of someone who cares about you and will hold you accountable. In 12 step programs this would be your sponsor. In other areas of your life it could be a friend, or a life coach, or a therapist. You will have more success, much faster if you have an accountability partner.

That is your assignment for this week. Answer the above questions, and find someone who can help you make the climb to success.


Do You Have a Bucket List?

13650340_s.jpg
Visiting the Great Wall in China is on my bucket list!

 

Everyone daydreams about the things they long to experience in life. Some people make plans for a handful of them. A rare few even accomplish most or all of what they set out to do.

What sets these accomplished dreamers apart?  Well, for one, they took the time to put it down in writing, all their hopes and dreams, wishes and life goals. It sounds too easy, but in fact the simple act of writing something down makes it more real. The continued process of looking at and thinking about these wanted experiences pushes us each to take small steps to making them so.

There is power in the pen. It is, after all, mightier than the sword.  If you would like to wring the greatest amount of memorable events from your life, as I do, start with some urgent daydreaming. What would you do if money or time were not an issue? Let go, and just write down all the wild and spectacular yearnings that spring to mind.

Would you win a Nobel Prize? Find a cure for AIDS or Cancer? Become President of your country? Write a blockbuster novel? Sail around the world? Nothing is too big, or too ‘out there’. I’ve been making such lists for upwards of twenty years, and from time to time my list changes; some I have completed (Yea!), others I decide to take off the list, still more I add or tweak.

Here are some items high on my list right now:

1.      Speak five (or more) languages fluently. (I’m currently at 1 + .5 + .5)

2.      Travel to each of the continents. (4 and counting)

3.      Write an inspiring play (or screenplay) which is produced and receives abundant accolades. (ideas are percolating)

4.      Donate at least one million dollars to causes close to my heart. (5% in so far)

5.      Go skydiving with my daughter or a friend. (in the talking stage)

6.      Take my entire family on a cruise to Hawaii. (35 people or so presently- must happen without someone wanting to kill another family member)

7.      Live in NYC for a year. (near Central Park, of course)

8.      Invent something that makes life easier for millions. (I’m an idea person)

9.      Learn to play the piano. (it’s been on my list since I was 7, but I don’t have a piano- yet)

10.  Spend a week (or a month) studying with the Dalai Lama. (that would be so cool, and enlightening)

11.  Walk on the Great Wall of China. (I have pictures- so awesome)

12.  Have pen pals in 10 or more countries (3 sponsored kids in 3 countries currently)

These are some of my most wanted right now. But without the list, I feel sure that I would not be as far along as I am. And this doesn’t even take into account the things I have already completed!

Lists are great tools, sometimes tedious, but always helpful in leading us on the path to completion of the items listed. Why wait? Isn’t today the perfect day to make that list of life experiences you’d like to accomplish? If not now, when?

I’m reminded daily of the great adventures I plan to take. Whenever possible, I take another step in direction of one of them. Before I know it- I can cross it off the list. I feel a great sense of accomplishment, and have a host of memories to ponder or share with others.

It’s another great day in the life of me, a world-renowned dreamer. Better get to it then. See you on the road.


Where’s the FUN?

 

Ever have those days when it seems like everything you did, and everyone you had contact with, and all you felt was Serious? Complete lack of joy, humor…FUN? Hopefully you don’t have too many of those days each week. But some days are like that.

Consider this scenario:

You awaken to a blaring alarm, not quite feeling rested. No chance to finish that sweet dream, too much to do today.  You quickly corral the troops and send them off to their respective destination, and then it’s off to conquer your day. You encounter questions, problems, needy customers or colleagues, and piles of work that won’t be finished today. There’s no time to think, let alone have any fun, right?

Before you know it, it’s time to move on to the next  obstacle- traffic on your way home, or to the grocery store, or favorite take-out place. Next there may be homework, or work brought home and the usual round of house chores. Still no fun? If you’re lucky, maybe you have time to watch your favorite sitcom, or funny movie. How many days do you experience like this? If you answered “too many” then this wakeup call is just in time.

We all seem to live for the weekends when we get to relax and enjoy the fruits of our week’s labors. But how often do we find the weekend to be spent in catching up on errands and chores and family engagements?  And like a blink of an eye, the alarm is blaring once again…

Sound familiar? We humans are creatures of habit, and as anyone will tell you, all habits are not created equal. What we have here is a habit of moving through the days and weeks with the hope that one day we will get to have fun. Those fun days are probably few and far between.

But luckily habits can be changed. It’s actually easier than you might think. But there are different ways of going about it. The hardest approach is the cold turkey-just not gonna do it anymore -plan. As anyone who has tried to give up smoking or eating red meat, or biting their nails, to be successful you have to replace the bad habit with a new, better one.

Like chewing gum for the smoker. Or eating more fish and chicken, or having a lollipop when you want to bite your nails. You need to find something you enjoy and that is better for you as a replacement. And changing a habit means you need to form a new one. Forming new habits requires that you do something repeatedly over a period of time until it becomes second nature. Learning to ride a bike, or play an instrument, for instance. Practice it until it feels natural.

Can we do that with our daily routine to add more fun to it? You probably at times in your life had some built in fun in your day- singing or dancing while you get ready in the morning, or while cleaning up. Playing games as a family while driving or eating. You know, stuff that makes you smile, or dare I say, laugh?

Start first with a little bit of searching your archives for things you have done in the past- they are easy to put back into play. Then add some easy things you don’t have to think very hard about:

  • Sign up for a funny quote or comic strip to be delivered to your inbox every day.
  • Carry a couple snapshots in your wallet or on your phone of fun times you’ve had.
  • During your break or lunch, watch a silly pet video on YouTube.
  • Play practical jokes on family or co-workers (harmless ones…).
  • Belt out your favorite song in the shower- everyone sounds awesome there.
  • Write silly notes to your kids or spouse…see what happens.
  • Record some of your favorite funny shows and movies, and watch regularly.
  • Laugh for no reason, even if it’s in the car alone.
  • You add some ideas to the list.

Pick one or more things from your list and add to each day. Repeat daily. Be creative, and you’ll be adding fun into the everyday stuff before you know it. Laughter is good for your health, both mental and physical.

And so much easier than crunches, don’t you think?