Happy Summer! The season of relaxation, vacations, warm weather, and FUN! But after teaching hundreds of programs and working with thousands of people, I know that the reality is most people have a hard time having fun! We have a hard time putting their to-do lists down, kicking back, and prioritizing our need to just have fun. And when it comes to comparing our level of satisfaction as well as the time and effort we put into having fun, especially when compared to other areas of their life, having fun generally ranks last on the list.

Can you relate?

So, even though we are all so quick to say “Have Fun!” and it feels like it should be a relatively easy task to do, then why is it so damn difficult for so many of us to just…have fun? What is it that gets in our way? And, what can we do to increase our capacity to enjoy?

Below are three tips to support you in having more… “Hot Fun in The Summertime!”

Tip #1: Uncover Your “Fun Blocks”

Chances are, something happened in your youth which impacted your ability to have fun. Whether as a child,
● you were admonished or even punished for being irresponsible or lazy,
● you were told “Hard work pays off!” or raised in an environment where you felt the need to prove your worth, or
● you or someone around you was put down or even shamed for being “bad,” “the class clown,” “party girl,” or “mess up,” something happened that made you feel that it was wrong or unsafe to relax and enjoy.

As you may know, our shadows are the parts of ourselves, the qualities that we disown, don’t like, don’t want to be or feel shame around displaying because we judge them as wrong or embarrassing. Shadows are born as a result of the beliefs of our family, community, or the environment we were raised in or because of some event that happened when we are young. So, when it comes to fun, not wanting to be lazy or frivolous, feeling shame around being called irresponsible or unproductive, being raised in an environment that rewarded hard work over enjoyment, or just being raised in an environment that was toxic, sterile, or serious, can all impact and limit our ability to go for the gusto and just enjoy life.

To break through your fun blocks, you need to start by looking back and asking yourself questions like:

“What happened that had me disown the fun part of myself?”
“What happened that made me feel that having fun was bad or not safe?”

Just by bringing awareness to what happened and realizing that it was the sweet, innocent child inside of you who wanted to be loved and accepted that was afraid to have fun, might transform your ability to have fun. By finding compassion for that child who felt unsafe to have fun, you can finally give them and yourself permission to play!

Tip #2: Change Your Relationship With Fun

Most of us have a conditional relationship with fun. We see it as a reward. Dating back to our childhood and being told that we needed to “finish our homework” or “do our chores” before we could play, these messages altered our relationship with fun.

Fun wasn’t a right or a necessity, but a privilege that needed to be earned and was often doled out sparingly. For some, fun became an unattainable dream, because it could only be attained by making a certain amount of money, when everything was “perfect,” or when we could finally prove that we were good or deserving enough to stop doing and start enjoying. In order to step into having more fun, we need to shift our relationship with it and begin seeing it through new eyes.

What if you viewed fun as your birthright instead of a reward?

The truth is that not only do we have a right to have fun, but it is a necessity!

Fun and relaxation are part of our self-care. They impact our mood, health, creativity, vitality, as well as our connection to others. They help us recharge and rejuvenate and get our juices flowing so that we will actually be more productive, effective, energetic, and enthusiastic. To change our relationship with fun, we need to start thinking about it differently. To play without guilt, we need to acknowledge the importance of fun and to own that we are worthy and deserving of self-care!

Tip #3: Schedule in Fun

I know that fun is supposed to feel spontaneous and free. To some, “scheduling” in anything feels laborious and the exact opposite of fun. But the fact is, how many summers have we said we were going to do something, and before we knew it September was here and we never got around to taking that Friday off, swimming after dinner, making ice-cream, or having that family outing or girlfriend gathering?

Setting aside time for fun and relaxation can be difficult. Sticking to the leisure plans we’ve made can be even harder since other more “pressing matters” tend to come up, guilt sets in, and we all have dozens of excuses as to why we can’t do something or need to cancel.

So, just like we did when we were kids or most of us do or did for our children, we need to schedule play dates! We need to designate time in our schedules that are just for play and relaxation. You don’t necessarily need to know what you are going to do when you make room for fun in your schedule, that can be spontaneous, but if you don’t schedule it in and commit to it, it is likely to never happen!

So if you are ready to have more fun this summer, create a structure for planning ahead and scheduling in play days! Chances are you will be happier and healthier for it!

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Uncover Your Fun Blocks: Become curious as to what happened that impacted your ability to have fun and dwell in the questions:
“What happened that had me disown the fun part of myself?”
“What happened that made me feel that having fun was bad or not safe?”

(2) Change Your Relationship With Fun:
- Think about the conditions you put on your relationship with fun. When do you allow yourself to have fun? Is it a reward or a right?
- Next expand your thinking and ask yourself what would be possible if you allowed yourself to have more fun? How would your life be different? What would you have more of?

(3) Schedule in Fun:
- Grab your calendar and schedule in times designated for having fun.
- Make a list of the things that bring you joy or that are on your bucket list. Think about the things you used to enjoy as a kid, the things you’ve been saying you want to do. Invite your friends and family to join in your fun. Come up with family bucket list ideas, girlfriend adventures, and write them down and schedule in now.

Hope you...have fun!

Author's Bio: 

Kelley Kosow is the author of The Integrity Advantage, a motivational speaker, and the Chief Executive Officer of the highly acclaimed Ford Institute. She continues the legacy of the New York Times bestselling author and thought leader, the late Debbie Ford, and leads the development and teachings of The Ford Institute’s transformational programs to thousands of people across the globe. Known as a “kick-ass coach” to high-level executives, change makers, and celebrities committed to personal transformation, Kelley blends her quick wit, laser sharp insight, and relentless compassion to help people upgrade their lives on a cellular level. Throughout her impressive career as a successful lawyer turned personal growth super star, she has been featured in Oprah Magazine as someone who could “Dream it, Do it,” as well as In Style, People, Working Mother, Latina, NY Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and LA Times. Kelley has also appeared on “The Balancing Act” and Better.tv. Connect with Kelley at http://www.kelleykosow.com