Welcome to Day 47!
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Before I became a Mom, I had this fantasy of myself as a future, energetic and fun Mom. I’d make pillow forts, and crafts, and stuff with my kids. I just knew I was going to be the Fun Mom.
In fact, I’d be all work and no play if it wasn’t for my husband’s Family Fun Calendar.
That’s right. My husband has a calendar to plan out fun things. Whenever he hears about fun concerts or movies coming out, he puts them on the calendar. And, since my husband is an upholder, we do what’s on the calendar!
When he started the fun calendar, several years back, I thought it was a silly idea.
But, he told me that after the hard times we had gone through with my daughter’s heart surgeries and my mother-in-law dying from pancreatic cancer, he wanted to recapture some of the fun times we used to have and make the most of our time together.
How could I argue with that?
So, we tried it. And, you know what?
It turned out that planning and making time for playing, having fun, and connecting meant that we always had great things to look forward to. We were making great memories and being happy together.
Plan Play and Connection
And you know what else? Research backs my husband up. If you want to be happy, connect with loved ones, and have fun, you should plan it into your schedule.
An article from Scientific American magazine explains that trying to be happier doesn’t work, but planning activities you enjoy does.
Here’s a passage from the article,
”Studies have shown that trying to feel happier in any given moment backfires and can actually make people feel worse. ...So how can you gain the many rewards of happiness—which include better health and stronger relationships—without forcing it?
Recent findings suggest rather than striving to boost happiness in the moment, a more effective route is to maximize your odds by...plan(ning) your time around activities you think you will enjoy.”
In other words, schedule fun and play into your calendar, and you’ll be happier. Researchers even came up with a cool sounding name for this--Prioritizing positivity.
They found that people who had scheduled “positivity” into their weekly and daily calendars were more resilient, happier, and have better relationships.
To figure out how to do that, let’s go back to the Scientific American article,
“Reflect on the activities that bring you contentment or joy and make time for these events in your daily life... For some people, this could mean regularly setting aside time for gardening and cooking; for others, it could mean making time to connect with good friends.”
Write a Sparkly, Happy Script
We’re all so busy that if we don’t plan fun, connection, and happiness, when’s it going to happen?
Remember that Hollywood blockbuster I asked you about. You want to make sure that your script is not dull. You want fun, laughs, love, and sparkle.
And, those won’t happen unless you write them into your script.
Play and Connection Habits
I recommend adding some family time, spouse time, and “me” time into your weekly schedule. And of course the easiest way to do this is to make some habits around each one of them.
Personally, I aim for one spouse date and one family activity every weekend for fun and play.
For a daily family connection habit, we eat together as a family. For daily spouse connection time, I go on a 30-minute walk with my husband and dog in the morning. And for daily “Me” time, I read before bed.
You may already be doing some of these activities or habits, but identifying them as happy connection and play time will help you to enjoy it even more.
One added (but unexpected) benefit to adding fun and connection to your schedule is that it also helps you toget healthy and lose weight.
If you have more sparkle and fun in your life, you don’t have to rely on food for all the joy in your life.
If you’re doing things regularly that make you happy and deepen relationships, your stress levels will decrease and your health will improve.
What a great way to conclude our week on planning! Planning for more happiness. I love it and so will you!
If you have any questions about planning or how to break up this process into smaller pieces, be sure to ask me about it.
Ok, so here’s your assignment. I know this sounds crazy, but I want you to go back over your weekly calendar.
Plan and add some habits and activities to your schedule for play and connection.
Don’t skip over this assignment.
This is likely the lesson that will have the biggest impact on your future happiness.