Published 03.31.2021

Written by Darcy Luoma

Darcy Luoma is one of America’s most highly credentialed coaches. She’s worked in 48 industries, with more than 500 organizations, and has impacted tens of thousands of leaders and employees.

3 Endurance Strategies to Get Unstuck

We’re three months into 2021, so I want to check in on how you’re doing with your intention for the year.

My intention this year is PLAYFULNESS. But I have to tell you, I‘m struggling with this.

By this time last year with my intention of minimalism, I’d already cleaned out three closets and hauled dozens of bags to the thrift store. I was on a roll and it felt so satisfying.

A few years ago my intention was more white space. By April of that year, I’d identified the downtime I wanted on my calendar and was creating small pockets. I wasn’t 100% successful—and it would end up taking a lot of discipline—but at least I knew what I was working towards.

But with playfulness? I. Am. Stuck.

I can list the excuses as to why. Playfulness doesn’t come naturally for me. I’m so busy right now, I don’t have time to be playful. We’re still in a pandemic, and I can’t leave my house. 

I think these are all valid excuses to give myself a pass. But the fact remains—I want to be more playful.

As I’m writing this, I can hear the “bubble chicks” laughing downstairs. (That’s the name my daughters and their friends from the two other families we’ve bubbled with for the last year playfully call themselves!) They’re currently creating TikTok videos and designing an obstacle course for our foster dog. They don’t have to work at being playful.

In fact, my one success with playfulness came with the bubble chicks. To commemorate the one-year pandemic anniversary, our three bubble families rented out a movie theater (we had the entire theater to ourselves!) to see Raya and the Last Dragon. While the credits were rolling, Jhene Aiko’s Lead the Way started playing, and I ran to the front of the theater to dance. As my daughters will tell you, this is completely out of character for me! But the rest of the bubble joined me and the next thing you know we had a full blown conga line. 

It was so much fun! Was it uncomfortable? Yes. Did part of me want to stay in my seat and take pictures of everyone else having fun? Yes. Am I happy I did it? Absolutely.

But I’m struggling. I don’t know how to be playful, and I can’t rent out a movie theater every weekend to get my fix! So I’ve decided to lean into the Thoughtfully Fit practice of Endurance, which is all about overcoming obstacles. Right now, figuring out how to be playful feels like an obstacle I don’t know how to overcome. So it’s time to remind myself (and you!) of some key Endurance strategies. 

Three Endurance Strategies

1. Define the Goal. In coaching, my clients have a much easier time figuring out how to move forward when they get clear on what they want to accomplish. For me, this means defining playfulness and what I’m working towards. 

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Playfulness should feel light, fun or silly. There doesn’t have to be a point or purpose.
  • Playfulness looks like letting loose and letting go of what others think. It means taking risks. It’s ok if it’s not perfect.
  • In fact, my goal to be playful triggers my biggest trash talker, Little Miss Perfect Pants. She tells me that everything needs to be just right or I’m going to look foolish. But that’s not true. I want to be more comfortable when things aren’t perfect. And, well, what’s wrong with looking foolish anyhow?
  • I’m not looking to change my personality. I’m proud of my high standards for quality and find comfort in being prepared. I don’t want to let that go. But maybe it’s ok to not be so prepared and have a plan ALL the time. I want to sometimes not have a plan and instead focus on having fun!

2. Find Your Tribe. When I started doing triathlons, I joined a team (shout out to Madison Multisport!). I love the support of my teammates, the expert advice from my coaches, and the accountability the workouts provide. So when I started thinking about who my tribe could be to support me with my intention this year, I joined the Wonder and Whimsy Society with Jason and Kim Kotecki—as they are the playful experts!

3. Start Where You Are. I want to be more playful. But kicking myself for not being playful—or wishing I was further along—isn’t helpful. Starting where you are means

recognizing the abilities and habits you already have that can support you in reaching your goal. One thing I know about myself is that I do well with structure. I realize that seems at odds with the idea of playfulness, but that’s ok! Until I’m more comfortable and successful with being playful, I’m going to lean on what I know works for me. 

That’s where you come in. 

My Plan for Playfulness. Help!

My birthday is April 3rd and it’s a big one (50!). Truth be told, I’m usually not even very playful on my birthday! But I want this year to be different. So, I’m going to create a list of 50 playful things to do over the next year.

My daughters are so naturally playful, I know I could get to 50 just from being with them. However, I also want to find ways to be playful in my work, with my friends, and even on my own. I’m guessing some items on this list might seem more uncomfortable than fun at first. Ultimately, if Little Miss Perfect Pants is getting worked up, I’ll know I’m on the right track. 

So this is where I’d love your help. I need your ideas! What can I do to be playful? Reply to this email or share on social media…as many of your ideas as you have. I’ll be sure to report back on my progress!

One-Minute Thoughtfully Fit Workout 

If you’re feeling stuck on your annual intention or any other goal, here’s a one-minute workout.

Pause. When you recognize you’re stuck, Pause. Don’t kick yourself for being stuck. Acknowledge that stuck feeling and start where you are.

Think. What do I need? Do I need to define what I’m working towards? Do I need to find a tribe? Think of one thing that could give you some forward momentum.

Act. Take the action you need to create that momentum.

Can it really take only one minute? Yes! Give it a try and let me know how it goes. We’re in this together…so let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you. And thanks in advance for your playful ideas. 

IS YOUR MIND FIT FOR SUCCESS?