2017 comes to a close and what a year it’s been! At the start of the year, this blog didn’t even exist and I embarked on a journey of attempting to complete a hundred things that would contribute towards my goal and word of the year: Happiness. So how did I fare?
I am happy to say I achieved 52 of my 100 things, averaging meeting one goal per week. It’s pretty crazy to think that these points all started as notes on a page, followed by booking in items and then finally committing the time to achieve the goal. The year started with a trip to the British Library and ended with a footy match in Wembley Stadium.
There are a few things that I learnt about Happiness across my journey this year.
1. Trying new things is fun!
I did so many new things this year, including blog writing, going to exhibitions, concerts, playing darts, and snorkelling. It was a great way to explore what the world has to offer, have a range of experiences and was a nice way to spend time with friends.
2. Creativity is a great source of happiness
Expressing yourself creatively is not only fun but also helps to balance emotional souls by allowing an outlet for anything and everything you’re feeling. It provides a great sense of freedom. Some creative things I did this year included: making a lap harp, drawing and colouring mandalas, origami, woodcarving and playing the harmonica.
3. Self care is essential
If you want to be happy, self care is central to ensuring you’re able to appreciate all the things in your life. Remember, happiness is a mindset and starts at home. I found that mindfulness and meditation became my best friends. I also tried laughter yoga, went on a silent retreat and treated myself to some massages to reduce aches and pains.
4. Keep experimenting
Perhaps you’ve found things that bring you some joy but don’t quite hit the nail on the head. My advice is to keep experimenting. I rediscovered a great passion for music through playing blues music instead of classical. I also switched out trying to create time consuming works of art that I lost interest in with drawing cartoons and even creating some gifs.
5. Let go of things that don’t serve you / let things be
This can be a difficult thing to master, but if you want to be happy, let go of holding too rigid ideologies of how things should be (including your expectations of yourself and others). Enjoy things as they are. And if something is too problematic, remember you have the power to make a decision to change a situation or to get support.
This year I’ve been on more plane journeys than any year before, some for work and others for holidays. Travelling really is food for the soul. Immerse yourself in the history and culture of your fellow humans’environments. Try their cuisine, listen to their music, go to local jaunts or take up a tour and speak to people. Soak up the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the world around you. You’ll find yourself revitalised, humbled and that little bit wiser about the world.
7. Care for your home
If you want to be happy, create a happy environment internally and externally. Aside from the internal aforementioned meditation and mindfulness, look at your external immediate environment. How can you improve it? Throw away the rubbish, donate your unwanted items, and give the place a dust and polish. Keep only the things that are either absolutely essential or that bring utter happiness.
8. Express gratitude
Be thankful for the things that you have in your life. Sometimes if you’re having a bad day, it can be difficult to see the good in our lives. Sometimes this can be as simple as having a cup of tea or someone smiling at us. It may only be one thing that we notice, but it is essential to take note of each thing that contributes to our happiness.
The above items are by no means an exhaustive list of lessons I have learnt this year. It has been an incredibly rewarding year, full of many happy events. Even the more difficult situations have had a silver lining in the way that I have coached myself into looking at life with a more realistic rather than negative bias. I find myself more self aware and accepting, which in turn makes me a happier and more balanced person overall.
Next year’s posts will see more on personal wellbeing and happiness, with my word of the year being Wisdom.