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Why can't we resolve to have more fun?

I resolve to…stop making resolutions that make me unhappy. Why can’t we resolve to have more fun? To spend more time doing those things that we enjoy with the people we love? Why can’t we resolve to work less and play more, to cultivate joy, to connect with our children, to value our spouses, to appreciate every blessed moment of our short and precious lives? 

Fun is serious business.  It reduces stress (and stress has been labeled the number one health problem in the U.S.) which reduces anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, memory and concentration impairment and even weight gain.  

Having fun can free up your mind and make you more productive when you do have to work. It engages your right brain and allows for fresh perceptions, spanking new insights, and original ideas. You return to work energetic, restored and rejuvenated.

And as wonderful as that news is, what is even better is that having fun draws friends and families together.  It strengthens relationships, opens lines of communication, and allows you to know and be known in special ways. Having fun creates precious memories and evolves into traditions that survive year after year, even while we grow and change and even move away.

So when you are considering your options for change in 2014, whether it’s to lose 10 pounds, join a gym, stop smoking (you should do that anyway – it’s terrible for you!), save money, or reduce your carbon footprint, think about resolving to have more fun in 2014. A few hours set aside each week to color with your 6 year old, to shoot hoops with your teenager, to play Scrabble with Granny or relax in the hot tub with your spouse can change your perspective and so change your life.

Has it been so long that you don’t even know where to begin to have fun? Here are some suggestions to get you started:

With the little ones – build a blanket fort, finger paint, bake cookies, go to the zoo, sing songs, get out the play dough, play hide and seek, camp in the backyard and roast marshmallows, look for insects, take a walk, blow bubbles, build a Lego village, play whiffle ball, make paper airplanes, share popcorn and a classic movie, go to the library, draw on the sidewalk with chalk, have a very merry un-birthday celebration, crank up the music and dance, do a puzzle together, try to hula hoop

With the teens – granted, this one is tougher and you may need to include one or two of their friends, but that’s okay! Play a video game together, go to a matinee, play basketball, ride bikes, take a walk, identify constellations, go bowling, make a pizza, go to the local coffeehouse, play miniature golf, play pool, go camping, go on a Instagram scavenger hunt, scrapbook family photos, play board games, start a family book club, volunteer

With the grown-ups – host poker night, dress up and go out to dinner, get pedicures together, visit a farmer’s or flea market, organize family photos, write or record a family history, create a game room with a pool table, foosball, air hockey, and vintage video games, play truth or dare, take a walk and hold hands, take a class together, go canoeing, stay in bed and watch old movies, join a gym together, make bucket lists

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