Remember when you were young and the days of having things to look forward to were endless. If you were in school, there was Christmas and Spring breaks, countless parent/teacher days, and summer vacations. There was getting home for snacks and running out to play and going to grandma’s house. People planned a lot of your life for you, but there was usually a lot of play involved.

As adults, few of us have the luxury of having someone plan outings, and if we’re not careful, it’s easy to get into a rut of not having much to look forward to. We go to work where we spend most of our energy and come home exhausted. We do our chores, feed the family, and crash on the couch. Sure, we have a vacation planned a year from now, but generally, the cycle continues week after week.

As part of the quest of happiness this year, it’s time to make a few plans and give yourself something to really look forward to as soon as tomorrow. Nothing gets your heart or mind racing like making plans to play. Whether it’s a camping trip, or a day trip to the beach. Maybe it’s a day at the spa, or a jaunt to a neighboring city where you’ve wanted to try out a restaurant for the longest time. The point is—do something fun.

Here’s some of the ideas that I’ve implemented to keep things rolling for myself and that you might consider:

  1. I bought season tickets to the theater. Regardless of how busy I am, I know that for six months of the year I have a Broadway play to attend. With season tickets, I don’t have to worry about fitting the event in.
  2. On Monday morning, my husband and I talk about something we want to do over the weekend. Whether it’s dinner with the kids, a trip to the mall to find some new shoes, or a restaurant that we want to try out, we’ve set the date for that event in our minds and talking about it throughout the week builds anticipation.
  3. I’ll admit I like to eat out and I have a sweet tooth. My something to look forward to is often as simple as heading to NW 23rd in Portland and browsing the shops, ending the day with a delectable dessert and a cup of coffee at Papa Haydn. I also like to Google the best breakfast, lunch or dinner in town and put it on my need to check this place out list. Seeking out new places instead of simply returning to the usual spots makes eating something to look forward to.
  4. The next idea came from a friend who saw how gloomy I seemed after coming back from a tropical vacation. The quickest way over it, she’d said, was to start planning the next vacation. She was right! Whether it’s a weekend to the beach or my next trip to the islands, I immediately set my mind in motion for the next escape, and the gloom dissipates immediately.

My 90-year-old mother is the master at making plans. She belongs to a singing group that practices on Mondays and performs on Thursdays. She plays bunko twice a month and gets together with the ladies for breakfast. She dances every Sunday after church, and regularly gambles. The point is—I am certain that her excursions are a major contributor to her rolling out of bed every day. She has places to be and plenty to look forward to.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you choose. Just get things on your calendar that are self-nurturing and fun! Go for a massage the first Saturday of every month. Schedule regular pedicures. Plan a walk and coffee get together with friends. Sign up for a paint night or a cooking class. Life is supposed to be fun, and we all need to have something we’re moving towards. In our quest for happiness, it’s a necessary part of the mix.

My question for you: What kind of fun are you looking forward to this weekend, next week, next month, later this year? And if you haven’t figured that out, how about planning that right now?


P.S. The quote for the week is shown above, and below, a couple of events I’d planned last year and one I’m looking forward to, and of course Bella!