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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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…)
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. Go to church. The end.
  8. Get involved in something in the community. I like helping. I like meeting and getting to know people. I like being involved.
  9. 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!
  10. 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!

5 Comments on Celebrating 25

  1. elizabeth-flourishinprogress
    July 5, 2011 at 9:13 PM (6 years ago)

    A very happy, happy birthday to you, lovely!!!

    I am so thrilled that The Happiness Project has inspired you as much as it’s inspired me.

    Your list is fabulous and wonderful and inspiring and praise-worthy. Good luck!

    Reply
  2. Kat
    July 5, 2011 at 9:31 PM (6 years ago)

    Lady, I love this “25” list. It looks interesting, manageable and attainable. MORE importantly, it’s full of the things that make you the person you want to be.

    Happy birthday, lady!

    Reply
  3. jacqui
    July 6, 2011 at 9:18 AM (6 years ago)

    Happy Birthday!! I really like your list. I think I will read The Happiness Project and create my own. Even though, like you, I am already a pretty happy person…you can’t be too happy.

    Reply
  4. Kristin Murdock
    July 7, 2011 at 9:06 AM (6 years ago)

    I have heard a lot about The Happiness Project lately, so I think I’ll have to head on over and check that out, too! HAPPY BIRTHDAY a little late, and I’m totally rooting for you and your goals this year!

    As a word of encouragement: it’s really hard to figure out how much to buy for your family each week, especially when you are just feeding 2 people. I remember it took me a full 2 years to figure out what we realistically would eat each week.

    Reply
  5. Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles
    July 13, 2011 at 6:49 PM (6 years ago)

    Your list is very thoughtful and, although I don’t really know you, I imagine it is reflective of the lovely woman you are. Happy birthday. Please mail me a piece of that cake 🙂

    Reply

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