When it comes to having fun, I really have to push myself.
Doesn’t that sound silly?
It’s not that I don’t have fun; I consider my job quite fun and adventurous! And I take great pleasure in eating and playing with my kids, too. But can’t you hear a bit of “arrested development” in this area for me?
I know there are true psychological and physical benefits of having fun, and that it’s an important part of a well-balanced life. But the truth is…
… if I didn’t really pay attention and consciously “take on” fun, I wouldn’t have any.
Some people have no problem prioritizing this area in their lives, while others (myself included) reject that it is even an area we should have to care about.
This truth stayed with me as I was planning a family vacation later that summer. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to challenge myself to a little adventure. Normally, my vacations would consist of catching up on work, spending extra time with family, reading a novel and chilling out. Not very adventurous! As the vacation drew nearer, I saw this same pattern coming from a mile away. I dove straight into my challenge by making one simple rule: to have five new adventures on that trip. I knew it would get me out of my comfort zone and into something new and interesting. My kids were on board with the plan!
Stay Consistent With Your Dream
Vacation day came, and I put up a vacation alert on my email and triple-checked our bags. I deliberately avoided packing paperwork, open ended work items, or even light reading material. I already felt more daring, and a little nervous too! But I tossed trepidations aside and we headed out on our fourteen hour drive to Lake Michigan. Right there in the car, I told myself there were plenty of opportunities for new experiences. I started small, counting “listening to Alice In Wonderland on tape with the kids” (normally I’d check email) and “NOT complaining about our motel smell” as new adventures. They were for me!
I had grander options when we arrived at our destination.
On day one, I went inner-tubing with the kids. It was not at ALL like me to get on a boat, when I could have been lying on the beach with my book. My kids were shocked at this, and then even more so when, at the end of our ride, I chose to jump in the lake and swim back to the boat (rather than get towed back). My kids had barely ever seen me fully submerged, let alone in a cold lake! I triumphantly added this to my list of new adventures.
This last one will make you laugh. My husband likes to drive, but I don’t and normally wouldn’t get behind the wheel unless I had to. He and the kids went on a little excursion and left me back at the hotel, where I could have have taken a nap or snuck in a little work. Instead, I decided to go exploring in town. I took the car, I drove, I parked, I got out and walked around with no particular intention. I found my way into a bookstore and treated myself to a new novel I had been eyeing, my reward for challenging myself.
Be Unlike Yourself
Now, none of these may seem that fun or adventurous to you. They were to me, and that’s what’s important. For me, each of those activities was so totally new and unlike me, that it WAS an adventure, and an important learning experience. I found out that doing things “unlike you” is the best way to expand, have fun and to prove the theory that more IS possible in life, in whatever area you’re dreaming about.
You certainly do not need to restrict this mentality to vacation times. Committing yourself to new experiences, adventures, and intentional FUN does wonders for your body, mind, and spirit – especially if you’re someone like me who tends to keep this at the bottom of the to-do list.
How about you? Is it time to put your own adventure plan to action?
Being “unlike you” can be a wildly exhilarating and fulfilling experience! @HGLifeCoaching
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As co-president at Handel Group® Life Coaching and a senior coach, Laurie Gerber spreads her message of empowerment through live international events, one-on-one coaching, virtual coaching courses, blogs, and in TV and radio appearances.
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