I’m on a mission to make Playfulness the new Mindfulness. I discovered the importance of Play during my years teaching dance and fitness. I recognized that the difference between my 3- to 4-year-old students and my adult women students, was their ability to get lost in Play. The preschoolers were not judging their mistakes or striving for perfection. They were fully present in the moment. This allowed for them to learn without inhibition. In contrast, the adult participants were incredibly judgmental of their bodies, their accuracy and did not have patience with themselves to make mistakes and learn. I realized if I could help the adults approach the class with a playful mindset and have fun, they would learn faster, enjoy the experience more fully, and stick with it for longer. 

Play became a philosophy for me and encouraged me to embark on a journey of self-discovery. In order to live life on my own terms, I first had to figure out what I wanted. 

So many people set high expectations for themselves and what they want to accomplish. Perfectionism can be paralyzing and self-sabotaging. With my clients, I see that they believe if they can’t follow a nutrition plan, exercise plan or mindset practice perfectly, they are a total failure. “Why even try,” becomes the hidden belief when they hang on to the idea of perfection. Playfulness allows you to let go of perfection. Instead, focus on consistently practicing the habits that lead to success.  

If you are looking to improve your weight, nutrition or fitness, start with a small, playful goal. You can practice it and gain some confidence around that habit. Make it a friendly competition with a partner or roommate. Challenge each other to eat 5 servings of vegetables in a week. Use a white board or paper on your fridge to track the progress. Set the rules – like, “the winner doesn’t have to do dishes or gets to pick the next show to binge watch”. 

With exercise, find something you like to do that is active. Maybe you join a local softball team or a dance class. Even if it’s once a week to start, you are getting the habit initiated and proving to your mind that you are someone who takes action for their health. 

If you are setting career goals or looking to create a side hustle, once again, start small. For example, if you like party-planning and think maybe that is something you’d like to shift into eventually, you can offer to plan a baby shower or anniversary party for a family member or friend and charge a small fee to get started. You are working towards that goal without quitting your job and putting in all the risk. 

Remember, the goal is to be consistent, not perfect. Playfulness, just like mindfulness, takes practice. Now that you are aware that you have a choice to be Playful, I hope you choose that for yourself today.

Krystal Quagliara is a playfulness expert in the health and wellness coaching industry. As the author of ALIVE Journal 2023, The Playful Journal, and the host of the podcast, The Playful Life, with 17 years of coaching, play is ingrained into Krystal’s methodology. By incorporating this concept into her work, she’s able to help her clients feel ALIVE (Actively Living in Vitality Everyday) and live a life of freedom. She meets them where they are because she understands that none of this comes easy, as her personal health is a choice she has to make daily. Krystal’s coaching is more than just nutritional plans and exercise. It’s life coaching that incorporates stoic virtues of wisdom, courage, moderation, and social justice with all components working symbiotically.