Year-Long Happiness Goal: The Results
My overall goal for this year was to make a whole lot of happy. I came to the realization, however late in life, that I am in charge of my emotions and if I want to feel happy 100 percent of the time, I have the power to do that. 2009 didn’t treat me terribly well and my reaction to the bumps in the road was not always productive. So I decided 2010 was going to be different, I was going to to everything possible to stay in a happy, positive state of mind. And now, 12 months later I think I did a pretty damn good job of achieving my goal. Here’s what I learned…
Fall in love with something: (not someone! SOMETHING) For me it was aerial…as you have probably already figured out. I had 1.5 hours every week for a year of sheer happiness. Being surrounded with supportive people, challenging myself, overcoming fears, accomplishing goals, getting some exercise and boosting my endorphins. Aerial also lead me to yin yoga, which is a massive stress reliever after a long work week. I always walk out of yoga feeling accomplished as well…staying in poses for 5 to 10 minutes is hard!
Make plans: I am always happiest when I have a full calendar. Not booked every night and day, but plans a few nights a week, so I don’t feel guilty staying in some nights. I told myself at the beginning of the year I would accept all invitations to go out – even if I was planning to stay in. I knew I’d be more likely to remember watching the Wings game at Bdubs, dancing my butt off, or old school Batman at the bar with Jenn than whatever random show was on TV that night.
Set goals: I read a ton of books, I painted and set up my office, I started freelancing again, I performed in an aerial showcase, I grew my blog followers to over 100. Accomplishing things is the number one way I can send bolts of inspiration electricity through my brain. Even if it’s just getting off my ass on Sunday morning to clean the house, once I’ve ticked a few things off my list you better believe my entire house is going to be sparkling. Something about completing something on my to-do list lights a fire under my ass and I just want to do more, more, more.
Don’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff for that matter: I know I know, how cliche right? I have “On with the show” tattooed on my arm for a reason – I need a reminder sometimes too. I can’t say that bad things didn’t happen this year and I can’t say that I didn’t get upset, they did and I did. But I didn’t hold on to them. I allowed myself the time to be sad or stressed and then I let it go. That’s all you can do right? Nothing good comes from wallowing in the muck of whatever shit comes your way – in fact it might actually breed more bad stuff. You’re better off to throw a fit, have a meltdown, do whatever you need to do and get on with it.
Evaluate and change: As previously discussed, I keep a running list of goals on a white board near my bed. When I lose interest in achieving one of the goals I erase it. That’s it – people change, the things I wanted yesterday might not be the things I want today and the things I wanted in January definitely will change after 12 months. No guilt, no hard feelings, just erase it and move on to something else. Feed my passion instead of forcing myself to go after things I don’t really care about anymore.
I suppose that is the moral of the story… what makes me happy is doing exactly what I want to do at the exact moment I want to do it. When I wanted a milkshake I went and got myself a milkshake. When I wanted a night out at the bar I texted friends until someone would go with me. (I even managed the insane feat of going out alone one night.) I pass on projects I’m not 100 percent about and don’t ever ever ever feel guilty about saying no. Happiness is not something you find, it’s something you make.
Image from WeHeartIt12.28.10 in achieving goals, life