Inspired by one of the bloggers I regularly read, Liz from Flourish in Progress, I’ve been reading The Happiness Project, about a woman who decides to take control of her happiness and take concrete actions towards truly appreciating her life.
Before I started reading it, I thought I could start some small project to boost my happiness. I’m not unhappy as it is. Quite the opposite, in fact. When we were coming home from Belize, I was selected for the intense searching at the airport. Annoyed, I remember thinking that clearly I was the last person who would be doing something illegal. I am a newly wed on my honeymoon, married to a man I’m head-over-heels in love with, moving into a beautiful new home, lucky to have a great job, and blessed with wonderful family and friends. Why would I do something to mess up my life?
That said, I firmly believe that no matter what our circumstances are, we can always be happier. Life is about the journey and making progress; it’s not about a final destination. At least not in this world.
As I started reading the book, I realized that I’m already in the midst of my own happiness project. Last year, I created my 3o things to do before I’m 30 list for the sole purpose of ensuring that I focus on that journey and make progress toward being happier.
Looking at my 30 before 30 list a year later, it’s clear to me now that each goal is really part of bigger, broader life goals. To me, happiness today and in the future means being a life-long learner; always putting in the energy and time necessary to maintain relationships with family, friends, and myself; being more financially responsible; being adventurous; and staying healthy and active.
In the month leading up to today, my 25th birthday, I’ve been wanting to make goals for 25. It turned out to be a tougher task than I expected. But once I got started, it was hard to narrow down the list!
So here are my goals for 25:
- Build walking into my daily routine. Walking has a ton of benefits, from increased energy to lowered stress to helping you think more clearly. Not to mention, it means I can eat more cake without feeling guilty.
- Waste less food. As it is, Russell and I are TERRIBLE about wasting food. Each week, we throw away tons of leftovers or spoiled items that we didn’t get around to eating. So, this year, I want to plan grocery shopping better and be more creative with leftovers.
- Explore day and weekend trips. I love travel and adventure – but am often stuck in the mindset that adventure is an international plane ride away. An expensive mindset to have! Plus, I missed out on interesting and beautiful day or weekend trips around DC. In our new home, I hope to explore the neat places around here – Sante Fe, Utah, the Grand Canyon, mountains. (Russell thinks that I need to explain that “around here” means within a days drive, as there aren’t too many options actually around here…)
- Don’t buy so much stuff. I’m not going as far as Liz over at Flourish in Progress and cutting out all spending, but I do want to be more content with what I do have. I have plenty of clothes and our new house is perfectly uncluttered – no need for mindless spending just for the fun of it.
- Complete my family cookbook. I’ve been cooking a lot… but I haven’t been booking so much. And I want to get this done by Christmas!
- Visit home more. Living in Texas again means I’m much closer to my family in Austin; just a short plane ride or a long and boring day’s drive away. No excuses for not seeing my parents, my grandma, my brother and sister in law, and my so cute and so sweet nephew.
- Go to church. The end.
- Get involved in something in the community. I like helping. I like meeting and getting to know people. I like being involved.
- Finish my masters – and take some fun classes at the local community college. I mean, I’m only one class and a thesis away, for Pete’s sake!
- Incorporate superfoods into our diet, by focusing on one food each month:
- Beans in February
- Blueberries in June
- Broccoli – My diet probably has too MUCH broccoli!
- Oats in September
- Oranges in May
- Pumpkin in October, obviously
- Salmon in January
- Soy – No soy for me; breast cancer is too common in my family
- Spinach in march
- Tea (green or black) in December
- Tomatoes in August
- Turkey in November, obviously
- Walnuts in April
- And Yogurt in July
But before tackling all of that… it’s time to enjoy some birthday cake!