19 things to make me happier in 2019

In my last post, I wrote about adopting a theme for 2019 instead of making one or more New Year’s resolutions.

Now, I’m taking that one step further with my 19 for 2019 – a list of 19 things I want to do this year.

All credit for this idea must go to Gretchen Rubin, author of several books including New York Times bestsellers The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, Better Than Before and The Four Tendencies. I’m a fan and regular listener of her weekly podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubinduring which she discusses happiness, good habits and human nature with her sister, Elizabeth Craft.

In Episode 147, Gretchen introduced the ’18 for 2018′ list, adapted from a suggestion by a podcast listener, and she reprised it for 2019 in Episode 203.

Resolutions often involve changing or ceasing an undesirable habit. The goals are lofty, expectations high, yet the connotations negative – discomfort, denial, avoidance, fatigue. It can be a struggle to sustain the level of motivation, effort, control or sacrifice required to meet them.

Contrast this with my 19 for 2019 list which is inherently positive. It includes a variety of goals to accomplish throughout the year, each designed to make my life happier in some way. I’m calling it a ‘jug list’ – a more modest and shorter-term ‘bucket list’ without the dying bit at the end.

So, in no particular order, here’s my 19 for 2019:

  1. Reframe and hang the original artwork/prints I already have
  2. Buy some more original artwork/prints and hang them
  3. Print, frame and hang some special family photos
  4. Complete a travel writing course
  5. Publish a weekly blog post
  6. Write daily
  7. Try a new recipe each week
  8. Plant an herb garden
  9. Sell or otherwise deal with our reproduction bookcase and old leather lounge suite
  10. Exercise daily
  11. Try a water aerobics class
  12. Join a gym and attend a strength/resistance training class twice a week
  13. Share a meal with my parents and/or siblings once a month
  14. Read 12 books for pleasure
  15. Watch one movie each week
  16. Share a meal (lunch or dinner) with my school friends once a quarter
  17. Enjoy an overnight getaway with Ty* once a month
  18. Volunteer some time to a charitable/community-based organization
  19. Enjoy a one-on-one date with both Lizzie* and Will* once a month

As you can see, it’s quite an assortment, with differing objectives, time commitments and levels of difficulty.

Some demand a regular commitment, like #5 and #6; others are one-off tasks (#8 and #11).

If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life that you want, you’re going to spend a lot of time dealing with a life you don’t want. ~ Kevin Ngo

Some are solitary pursuits, like #14; others require co-ordination or collaboration with friends or family (#13 and #19).

Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape. ~ Bell Hooks

Some are fun, like #16 and #17; others (#12) are simply good for my physical and mental health.

The groundwork of all happiness is health. ~ Leigh Hunt

Some involve learning a new skill (#4) or being creative (#7); others are just about getting things done (#3 and #9).

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing. ~ William Butler Yeats

But each will improve one or more important aspects of my life – my relationships, home environment, health and wellbeing, skill set and competencies – and my general happiness.

In making this list, I’m not entering a race against time. Rather I’ve accepted that without personal goals or plans, chances are I’ll spend my time in a flurry of (pointless?) day-to-day activities, instead of directing it toward what matters to me most.

If a goal is worth having, it’s worth blocking out the time in your day-to-day life necessary to achieve it. ~ Jill Koenig

And somehow the list makes these goals seem more possible. Better still, it’s given me a whole new level of enthusiasm for the year ahead. So bring it on!

What would your ’19 for 2019′ list look like?

*names have been changed

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