Having fun does not take effort. If it takes effort, you will not have fun
Humans are not machines. We are curious beings seeking diversity and stimulation in everything we do. Doing something repeatedly makes it boring as we seek challenges and novelty. Dopamine, the feel-good chemical, is released by the neurons when we are rewarded for our actions. These signals evolved to make us pay attention to important things, like eating food. The same chemical is also released when you achieve something or attempt something new.
Rewards are essential to keep the flame alive. They act in the short term to sustain the repetitions that help you to build the activity into a habit. The reward could be intrinsic (pleasurable feelings) or extrinsic (monetary rewards). The intrinsic rewards are linked to behavior change. For example, the ecstasy of winning, the feeling of warmth after a generous act, the satisfaction of saving money, and the happiness or sense of purpose derived from healthy lifestyle choices.
If it is not fun, it is not easy to repeat. Therefore, choose an activity intrinsically pleasurable to you as you embark on your journey of lifestyle change. For example, if you are attempting to increase your daily physical activity, it will benefit if you:
- Choose an activity that you intrinsically like, be it dancing, running, walking, or cycling.
- Seek a companion who can make the activity more fun.
- Choose your favorite music to increase your pleasure response.
- Change your routine after a few repeats. Opt for a new set of exercises or find a new trail to walk. This will keep the novelty and curiosity alive.
Thomas Edison once famously said, “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun”. So, work towards making the transition to a healthier lifestyle more fun to minimize the effort.
Find your fun!