20 things to make me happier in 2020

Yes, it’s March, two months into the year and perhaps a bit late to be setting goals or resolutions for 2020. On the other hand, it’s better to be late to the party than never turn up at all. Isn’t it?

I had reasonable success with my list of 19 things to make me happier in 2019. A 63% strike rate – a ‘pass’ by any objective measure. For a perfectionist like me though, it’s tantamount to a fail. 🤦‍♀️

However, this year, I’m choosing to take my cues from Voltaire, trying not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. In other words, I’m not going to be dissuaded from moving forward with my happiness project just because I didn’t achieve all that I wanted to last year.

As Nina Simone (and lately Michael Bublé) sang:

… It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me,
And I’m feeling good … [1]

So, I’m going to build on those good feels and channel my energies into 20 things that I hope will make me happier in 2020:

  1. Change my hairstyle – new ‘do; new me

A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. ~ Coco Chanel

  1. Attend a make-up class

Although I’m not one to wear a lot of make-up and generally try to keep it simple, I would like to lift my game for special occasions. I know there’s a plethora of ‘how to …’ videos on YouTube, but I’d rather have a one-on-one with a professional who can look at my face and teach me how to make the best of it.

Personalized beauty is about each woman being able to create her own make-up routine that complements her colouring and style. ~ Bobbi Brown

  1. Find 20 minutes of peace and solitude each day for self-care or ‘me-time’

Actually, more than 20 minutes would be great, but I’ll settle for 20. It’s do-able, right? I can ‘disappear’ for 20 minutes without someone calling out for ‘Dan?’ or ‘Mum?’ … without leaving the house? … can’t I? 😩

Taking care of myself doesn’t mean ‘me first’. It means ‘me too’. ~ LR Knost

  1. Print & hang some family and/or travel photos

If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try, again. ~ Thomas H. Palmer

  1. Use up something at the back of my fridge or pantry in a new recipe each week

This is a variation on last year’s goal, one that permits me to indulge my love of cooking while challenging me to reduce food waste. I’m a big fan of the ‘first-in, first-out’ (FIFO) principle, but don’t always apply that to pantry staples or those condiments at the back of the fridge. Out of sight is sometimes out of mind. In fact, the kids often joke about the foodstuffs they find which are relics of the ‘80s. 🙄 (Of course, I’ve told them a million times not to exaggerate! 😏) So, I’m going to keep my ingredients visible, do a periodic audit and try to consume them before they expire.

  1. Plan and facilitate landscaping of our backyard

By plan, I mean do some research – look at gardening books, magazines, websites and other resources for landscaping ideas. By facilitate, I mean to engage a professional to bring those ideas to life. After all, there’s a reason I’m known as Mrs Brown Thumb – horticulture is definitely not my strong suit. 🤦‍♀️

  1. Plant an herb garden

Seriously, how hard can it be to grow a bit of parsley or basil? 🤔 I use a lot of fresh herbs in my cooking. They’re expensive. They’re sold in quantities which are always surplus to my needs and often the leftovers spoil before I have a chance to use them. I’m hoping this initiative relieves pressure on the household budget, cuts down on food waste and helps me to shrug off a denigrating moniker (see #6 above). Win! Win! Win! 👏

  1. Sell or donate our reproduction bookcase

It’s definitely time to go.

  1. Declutter my study

This will be the first step in beautifying my ‘woman cave’.

  1. Declutter my Inbox

Do you ever look at the number of emails in your Inbox and wonder how you became so popular? And then look at the contents of those emails and realise most of them are spam or advertising mailouts from organisations to whom you’ve stupidly (or unknowingly) given your email address at one time or another in the very distant past? 🤦‍♀️ Well, desperate times call for desperate measures and I feel some ruthless unsubscribing in the wind.

  1. Explore my ancestry

I’ve recently started building my paternal and maternal family trees while helping Ty* to flesh out his. Researching your family history is like going down a rabbit hole; like trying to complete a jigsaw without the edge pieces. It’s a painstaking, time-consuming activity, yet utterly engrossing, and it totally appeals to my inner private investigator. 🔍 I’m hoping to uncover enough information to trace the familial lines back through the UK during our mid-year trip.

When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves. ~ Russell M Nelson

  1. Enjoy a one-on-one date with both Lizzie* and Will* once a month

This proved to be such a happiness booster in 2019 that I’m compelled to continue with it. And it’s even more important now that Lizzie* has moved out of home and into a share house.

  1. Donate blood regularly ❤️

  2. Do some regular volunteer work

I didn’t manage to progress this in 2019, but I’m determined to do so in 2020.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands – one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. ~ Audrey Hepburn

  1. Write more and write regularly

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. ~ Louis L’Amour

  1. Learn how to promote this blog to attract more readers

I’m not looking to become a megastar of social media or the blogosphere, but I would like to expand my online community and build more connections with like-minded souls.

  1. Cull my blog subscriptions and commit to reading the relevant ones regularly

I’ll do the culling bit as part of #10 above. As for the reading bit, I hope it inspires me to engage with my favourite bloggers and their online communities, thereby expanding my own (#16).

  1. Prepare my CV and update my LinkedIn profile

The groundwork for #19.

  1. Secure an interesting and rewarding part-time position in my field of interest

More on this in a future post.

  1. Take a walking tour through my hometown

Whenever I travel, I’m reminded of just how little I know and what little I’ve seen of marvellous Melbourne. My mission is to look at the city through the lens of a tourist, start uncovering a few of her secrets and delight in all she has to offer.

And there it is … my 20 for 2020. Ambitious? Yes. Achievable? Absolutely!

If it is to be, it is up to me. ~ William H Johnsen

Always think of what you have to do as easy and it will become so. ~ Émile Coué

Perhaps the best measure of success will lie not in the fleeting happiness boost I get from doing a thing or completing a thing and ticking it off the list, rather the sum total of these manifested in an elevated, enduring sense of wellbeing at the end of the year.

The biggest happiness is when at the end of the year you feel better than at the beginning.  ~ Henry David Thoreau

What will you do to boost your happiness in 2020?

* names have been changed

[1] Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley (1964). Feeling Good. Musical Comedy Productions

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