How did I do with my intention to be playful in 2021?

by | Jan 12, 2022

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.


Long-time friends of DLCC will know that I set a specific intention for every new year. It’s a practice I first began in 2013, when I started my business. Setting an annual intention gives me the Strength to choose how I direct my energy throughout the year, and helps me bring focus to the areas of my life to align with my goals.

In past years, intentions have included things like vulnerability, minimalism and sustainability. I like summing up my intention for the year in one word, as that helps me simplify and zoom in on what’s important (plus, it’s easier to remember!).

My intention for 2021 was playfulness, which would’ve made me smile wryly a few years back. I’ve always been someone who’s taken myself pretty seriously. Historically, I often wanted to project an image of professionalism and competence, complete with the perfect suit, hair and nails. But in 2021, with two teenage daughters home 24/7 doing virtual school, I figured it was a great time to shake that up a bit and consciously experiment with bringing more playfulness to my life.

So how did I do?

This post is my way of keeping myself accountable, both to you all and to myself. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly!


Sometimes I succeeded at being playful!

The area where I was most consistently able to be playful was with my daughters (thanks Josie and Jadyn!). They encouraged me to wear clothes, shoes and nail colors that were more light-hearted, such as garish blue glittery nail polish. They helped me get in the habit of playing more on a frequent basis, like making silly TikTok videos, doing a 5k dog jog, and renting scooters in Denver. So much fun!

In my work, I had the most success when it came to being playful in videos and pictures. Filming Thoughtfully Fit Thursday videos from the top of a mountain in Colorado, after an open-water swim class, while a sweaty mess mountain biking, or driving four-wheelers is something I would’ve never shared publicly in the past.

Something else that I’m proud of is intentionally going running or biking on a route I didn’t know, or even with the specific intention of getting lost and just following my nose. For someone who likes structure, that felt like a big win this year! I plan to continue this practice into 2022.


Some areas were so-so…

Overall, I’m getting better at taking myself less seriously, but I still have a way to go. I had really wanted to embody more of a lighthearted emotional presence this year, but this is still a work in progress. Sometimes I managed to put out more whimsical energy, more often I defaulted to my usual focused, disciplined self.

I love being playful in coaching sessions with my clients and that comes naturally to me, due to my confidence after decades of training. However, taking a playful approach to keynote speeches isn’t quite as easy. As I’ve gained more experience, I have become more relaxed and spirited, but I still want to get better at this.

As part of my playfulness challenge, I had resolved not to work on the weekends, but found this habit very difficult to break for most of 2021. I’ve been in “productive mode” since the age of 9 or 10, and ever since then it’s been normal for me to work, well… basically all the time. This fall, my team gave me some much-needed pushback and encouraged me to take weekends off, and since then I’ve fallen in love with this extra time for myself and the girls. Here’s to more of that in 2022!


Things that were an epic fail

I loved all of your suggestions for how I could be more playful and was looking forward to trying out many of the ideas. I had particularly wanted to take an improv class or dance lessons. But ultimately, I only accomplished a measly 4 of the 50 playfulness challenges. If Little Miss Perfect Pants had to give me a grade for this, it would be F for fail!

Dating was also a miserable failure this year. I know you suggested I relax my expectations and just say yes to the next person who asked me on a date, but that didn’t happen. I went on only one date in the whole year (a hike at the dog park!).

I think that Covid played a part in making some of these activities harder last year than they would’ve been. That’s especially true for dating and some of the more social activities I had on my list. My mom’s death from cancer in the fall also made it extremely hard to get into a playful mood.

It’ll be interesting to see how I get on with my new intention this year (I’m still in the process of identifying it). I’ll be sure to update you all!One-minute-workout

In the meantime, if you want to develop the Strength to make intentional choices for your 2022, try the following core workout:

  • Pause: Take a moment out of your day to sit quietly and reflect.
  • Think: What do you want to focus on right now? What could you consciously choose to do more of in 2022?
  • Act: Take 10 minutes today to do something out of your comfort zone.

Thanks for being on this journey with me and everyone at Darcy Luoma Coaching & Consulting! It’s so rewarding to learn and grow together. Here’s to a great year ahead.

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