21 Days of Play

by Nikki Mark

Who’s In?

Dear friends and family,

I’ve decided that I want to live a more playful life.


Because healing and transforming can feel awfully serious sometimes, and I have learned over the last five years that it’s a lot more enjoyable, not to mention effective, when we approach both with the spirit of play.

When we PLAY, we learn more about ourselves and each other. We also reconnect with a sense of wonder and magic that exists within and around us. Through play, we open ourselves up to laughter and new possibilities.

Take it from me…we have no idea what tomorrow may bring. The time to fully live the life we actually want is NOW. And that means remembering to play; continuously reevaluating how we want to play; and quite frankly, prioritizing play.

So…while I’d like to think I have done my very best to be a present, loving, and responsible mom, I am about to become a more playful one too.

While I consider myself a caring and dedicated wife, it’s also time for girlfriend to PLAY!

And while I pride myself on being a trusted and loyal friend, I am about to experience what it feels like to be a playful one too.

As my eldest son Tommy once told me when he was 10 or 11 years old, “Soccer is supposed to fun, Mom! I’m too young for it to feel like a job.”

Well, just like the game of soccer, the game of life is supposed to be fun. If it’s not, we aren’t playing it right. And it’s no one’s fault but our own.

Granted, sometimes life brings us to our knees and playing seems impossible. But I’m telling you, if we stay in the game and keep playing, we will find a way forward and play will always lead us in the right direction.

So, my personal experiment starts today.

Every day for the next 21 days straight, I am going to engage in some form of play and see if I can create a new rhythm of play in my life. I want to form a new habit that not only attracts more play, but creates a ripple effect and inspires others to do the same.

Why 21 days?

Because I once heard a myth that it takes 21 consecutive days to change a habit. By the time I sat down to write this, however, I learned that new studies show it takes, on average, 66 days.

I am starting with 21 consecutive days and my husband, Doug, willingly offered to participate (I mean, what husband doesn’t want a wife who like to PLAY?!).

We are committed to playing something together for at least thirty minutes a day that we both consider fun. Kids do this…why can’t we?

The rules are simple. According to Dr. Stuart Brown in his book entitled <em>PLAY</em>, play must be:

  • Purposeless.
  • It must be fun and make us feel good.
  • It must make us forget about time and stay fully in the moment.
  • And it must be enjoyable and make us want to do it again.

Depending on the results of this experiment, women get ready. I intend to launch a second private 21 day challenge this summer for women and moms. First, because I already want to test and experience the added benefits of playing for 21 days straight versus playing twice as long. And second, because it recently dawned on me that many of our male counterparts excel at prioritizing play throughout adulthood and that its many of us women and moms who tend to prioritize everything else… and then we wonder why we aren’t receiving more out of life. I think PLAY can help us.

But first things first…if you are a couple and want to join me and my husband in this play challenge, respond to this article and let me know.

We can trade ideas. Hold each other accountable. And at the very least, look forward to 21 days of summer fun.

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