My Steps toward a HAPPIER 2018 (my 18 for 2018)

I used to feel beholden to have new year’s resolutions figured out so I could start on January 1. But man, that does NOT work for me. January is my favorite month, and I love New Year’s Resolutions, but I need TIME to think about what I really want, and to make a plan. And December does NOT give me enough time to figure that business out.

I’ve been so much better at keeping resolutions since I started giving myself more time to make them. As an all-or-nothing person, it also helps when I start new habits at more random times. I’m not sure why, but there’s a difference between “It’s only January 3 and I blew it!” and “It’s January 13, two days into my commitment to move every day, and I  forgot to do it.” For whatever reason, the second scenario makes it easier for me to start fresh the next day rather than just giving up.

For my resolutions this year, I was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast (one of my favorites) to make an 18 for 2018.

Lest you think I’m not following my own advice to keep resolutions simple, only a few of these 18 things are actual resolutions. 18 for 2018 is a list of things that will make my life happier in 2018. My resolutions are on there (3, 5, 14, 18), as well as a few habits I want to make more habitual this year (1, 4, 6, 16).

But there are also some tasks on the list (2, 13, 15). These are things that can be completed and crossed off, like 15: Go through the boys’ rooms and basement, sell and donate their old toys. Once that’s done, it can be crossed off the list. And voila, I am happier!

One thing I’d really like to be better about (and that I think will help me enjoy life more) is to use what I have. I want to enjoy things rather than just collecting them. So I have things like 8 (burn candles, wear lotion) and 10 (read the books you have before you buy or check out any more) on the list as a reminder.

I finished the list with areas of life I want to be investing in regularly like reading (9, same goal as last year, we’ll see if I make it in 2018), writing (7) and spending one on one time with each of the boys (12, the one I think I’m the least likely to keep up with.)

18 for 2018

I loved this framework for resolutions, and it fits with some great advice I recently heard about goals: Ask yourself “How will this make my life better?” The context of that discussion was goals around losing weight and combatting the negative things we think about our appearance especially in comparison to magazines and other unattainable standards of beauty. So if I’m feeling like I should look or be more like Gwyneth Paltrow (unattainable for me in many ways beginning with height and wealth), I can ask, “How would my life be better if I looked more like Goop?” The answer is nearly always, “Not really better at all.”

I really enjoyed this process, and I’m excited to see if I chose wisely and found things that will actually make my life happier.

Did you do an 18 for 2018? What do you think you could do (once or as a habit) that would make your life happier in 2018?