My Top 5 Ways to Uncover Fulfillment In Your Life: #3 of 5

Top 5 Ways to Uncover Fulfillment, #3: Plan Something //

#3 – Plan something to look forward to.

{Now, if I wanted to be literary snooty, I would have said, “Plan something to which you can look forward.”  But that seemed over the top, even for me.}

This should be big and little things.  Plan a big vacation; whether it’s every year or every two years, depending on how big it is and what your schedule or budget allows.  This can be so fun to look forward to and plan all the pieces that go with it.  There’s something to be said for spontaneity, but by planning ahead, you get the high both during the trip and when you come back, of course, but ALSO beforehand when you’re planning it, through the anticipation and excitement.

Also plan little things. Every week if your energy level can manage, or every couple weeks, maybe once a month. You kind of have to gauge what works best for you and your family.  Straddling that line between activity and overload, but planning things as a family activity – going to the zoo, the children’s museum, or even just on a Wednesday pack up a picnic lunch and take it to the park.

{Authenticity Sidebar}

I did that one time.  Planned a picnic dinner in the park.  I packed it all up quickly before grabbing the kids from daycare.  I had everything ready to go.  When my husband came home, I said, “Okay, we’re all going to the park!” So we rode our bikes to the park. We took our dinner.  We pulled out everything.

And I had forgotten silverware.

Alright.  We’ll just eat with our fingers. No biggie.

{“How easy-going of you, Nicole!” you might be thinking.  Of course.  You know me.  I just happened to find this picture on Pinterest which ironically showcases our experience perfectly.  There were no hungry children clamoring or 30 mph wind gusts messing up my photo-ready ringlets.  Pinky-swear.}

Top 5 Ways to Uncover Fulfillment, #3: Plan Something //

Yep, except I’d packed salad.  The ONE TIME I bring salad, I forget silverware.  We were quite a sight eating our salad and lettuce with our fingers at the park!  But it was fun. That part I do swear on.  It’s something we remember.  And I guarantee I haven’t forgotten silverware since.

{End Sidebar}

Planning something to look forward to.  Date nights are the obvious.  And again, you have to find what works best for you and your spouse and your family.

My husband and I, we like to do more frequent things so we get out more, but we know some couples where it’s harder for them to get a baby sitter that often and to work it into their schedule; it creates more stress than it’s worth.  So what they do is quarterly weekend getaways where they get grandma and grandpa to watch the kids for a weekend while they stay at a bed and breakfast not too far from town.

It’s not about how far you go; just as long as you go.  They plan their goals for the year and the next quarter and the next month and see what they want to achieve together as a family. We really admire that.  It’s something to look forward to then, because when you’re getting stuck in the drudgery of “oh my gosh, nothing changes, it’s the same, we never get out,” you have that something to look forward to – “Okay, just one more week…just a couple more days…just a few more HOURS…any MINUTE NOW he’ll be home and we can leave!”

Anything to look forward to like that can really make a difference and uplift your spirits so much.  That’s the beauty of the Advent season – anticipation – and why we enjoy decorating and getting into the Christmas spirit so much.  How can you apply that anticipatory spirit to other activities in your life?

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It’s been an idyllic summertime experience. It has brought me joy and even made me love my children more, to see them running and laughing and enjoying the simplicity of childhood. When I see the viral posts saying how we need to “give our kids a 1970′s summer” again, I just shake my head. Regardless of the decade, everything we need for a perfect summer is within us.

In a book I was recently reading, the author referenced a Facebook post that was going around a few years ago. In it, Facebook users were prompted to share a list of (somewhat random) things about themselves. Things their closest online friends might not know about them, but maybe should.

The author used it as an opportunity to pull back the facade on her life and be vulnerable with experiences from her past, feelings in her present, and fears of her future that most people didn’t realize about her. It resonated with all who read it, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

It occurred to me that I could make a list for my children. 15 Things I Want My Kids to Know About Me.

When I am laughing with my daughter on the floor as she pretends I’m her baby, watching the joy unfold on my middle son’s face as I “fly” him on my feet, or feeling the comfort of my oldest son’s arms around me at bedtime, sometimes my mind will think, “I should take a picture of this.”