Last year I set a word for the year using Susannah Conway’s 5 day programme. My word was explore. 2018 seemed like a year brimming with newness and opportunity. I used my word daily; it helped me to keep on trying new things and to ease me out of my comfort zone. It was a great first word.

2018 was quite a year for me!

Word of 2019

This year, I decided to have another go at finding a word and the word that emerged is cheerful.

Gorgeous narcissus flowers: cheering up our home even on the most dreary winters’ day.

I love the dictionary definition of cheerful

Cheerful: to be outwardly positive and optimistic

In general, I’m a pretty happy person but over the years… whether it’s age, world awareness, adulting, parenting, greater responsibility, less personal freedom, less sleep… I’ve become, well, less cheerful. I’m prone to anxiety; it’s easy to be taken over by the monkey brain and to find worries everywhere. As I approach my late 30s, I’m not ready to be a grumpy old women yet, so it’s time to dial up the cheerful. And if I’m not being cheerful I want to figure and sort out the reasons why. 

The Happiness Project

Enter The Happiness Project

Gretchen Reubin’s Happiness Project was recommended to me by a dear friend, years ago. I’ve finally bought the book and have started on my own happiness project as part of my very own cheerfulness project this year.

There’s a chapter and theme for each month with suggested tasks to complete. 

January: Boost Energy

The tasks for this month are: 

  • Go to sleep earlier
  • Exercise better
  • Toss, restore, organise
  • Tackle a nagging task
  • Act more energetic 

Go to sleep earlier

We’ll not talk about going to sleep earlier. I set a “Go to Bed” alarm on my phone, which mocks me each night as I face the piles of washing to put away, packed lunches to make and tasks to complete. I feel like I’ve got a mountain on my plate at the moment as I retrain in a new career. Every waking minute is absorbed by childcare, general responsibilities, renovation planning, housework, decluttering, coursework and other projects on the boil. Maybe tonight I’ll turn in before midnight 😴.

Exercise better

I started a new exercise regime last year: two Zumba classes and two yoga classes a week. These classes literally save my sanity. Committing to each class, week in, week out, has been amazing for my fitness levels and my mental health. Combined with giving up booze last year, I feel better than I have since my late-teens. I’m pretty confident that my current exercise regime is working wonders. Exercise better was a great reminder to keep up the commitment. The classes at my gym get booked up fast and I’ve often found myself on a waiting list or missing out completely, which is super frustrating. I’ve set up reminders in my iCal to make sure I book these classes at the earliest opportunity so I don’t have to miss out. Simple but very effective.

Toss, restore, organise // Tackle a nagging task

We started working on decluttering over the Christmas holidays and I’ve been jotting down nagging tasks at the end of each day to deal with. So far, it’s very cathartic. Lots of things that have stubbornly stuck around at the bottom of the to-do list have gone. Oh the weight of setting these free! And toss, restore, organise? We’ve both achieved a lot. Our house is in a constant state of flux at the moment and actually quite messy, with piles of items to sort out, rehome or recycle and general clutter (mostly the girls) to tidy. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. A de-cluttered, tidy home is within reach. And it feels good.

Act more energetic 

A work in progress. But you know, I’ve made more time to play with the girls in the past couple of weeks than I have for a while. We had some really great days out together before they went back to school – walks, scooter rides, ice-skating and marathon Lego sessions. Less fobbing off, more playing, more tickles, more laughs.

So far, so good

No-one can be 100% happy all the time; all emotions have a time and place. But I feel so much happier for encouraging myself to at least try to be more outwardly positive and to tackle head on anything that gets in the way.

Cheerfully Ethical

I’m hoping that being more cheerful will lead to more positive lifestyle choices and hopefully more productive positive actions. This may take time. Love for the planet and the people on it stems from loving ourselves. This year, outwardly positive and optimistic will need me to do more soul searching. I wonder if it will be a quieter, more authentic year than explore. Who knows? Let’s see!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 🎉 (ok I know it’s late but hey I’ve had a lot to do!). Hope 2019 is a cracker for you.

If you fancy reading the first chapter of The Happiness Project, there’s a free download on Gretchen’s website.

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