THE BLOG

Have a Little Fun With it, Will You?

02/21/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

This blog is part of M.J Ryan's Intent Learning Series

Are you having fun yet? I think of fun in two ways. First there's the possibility of actually enjoying the new behavior itself. That's especially easy when we've chosen something potentially fulfilling -- learning the two-step, getting to know your new neighborhood, getting the pile of papers off your desk, following your dream of getting a pilot's license. The more you can find ways to make your new habit fun, the more likely you'll stick to it. Do it with friends, create a contest with your kids to see who's better at it, make it into a silly game.

But there's another kind of fun you can have, no matter what you've chosen. And that's lightening up around the goal itself. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Intention and determination are wonderful, but they work better when mixed with a dash of self-deprecating humor. When I'm about to lose my cool, for instance, I like to tease myself into better behavior by imagining the headline in the National Enquirer: Author of Book on Patience Blows out Husband's Brains For Failure to Remember What She Said 30 Minutes Ago. That puts me back on track in a lighthearted way.

Remember: Our bunny brains want fun. I was reminded of this recently when a bride-to-be client was complaining to me how hard it was to keep from bickering with relatives over the wedding plans. "Have a little fun with it," I recommended. "Enlist your fiancé to help relieve the pressure. Turn it into a reality show: "Wedding Survivor." Or play "Guess Who'll Pitch a Fit Next Over Not Being Allowed to Invite Cousin Louie." Laughing about it will allow you to more easily keep your intention to stay calm."

We take ourselves so very seriously. When changing, we use our willpower and our won't power. Don't forget to use a little wit power as well.

To Try: Take a moment right now to reflect on how this change could be more fun for you.