I heard about an excellent activity on the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. Gretchen Rubin is a writer who studies happiness, and one of her happiness strategies is for people to create Happiness Projects. In Episode 147, Gretchen shared a voice memo from a listener, Mary, explaining that Mary had created a special list for her own happiness project. Shortly before her 35th birthday, Mary decided to create a “35 for 35” list.
The activities on Mary’s list didn’t rise to the level of goals and resolutions. Instead, they were items Mary wanted to make sure she accomplished during that special year. Some were fun, some were pure work, and some were whimsical.
Something to do when you don’t know what to do!
Mary posted her list where she could see it every day, and when she was bored or had a down minute and wanted something productive to do, she went to her “35 for 35” list and chose something to do. Gretchen was captivated by the idea and came up with the idea of doing “18 for 2018.”
I think of this as an elevated to-do list. I particularly love it because I’ve seen the effectiveness of getting things out of my head and into some kind of system (Evernote or paper).
It also captured my imagination because it’s a great way to do a lot of things that have been on my mind without making it overwhelming by calling them goals or resolutions. I know I can get 18 things done this year! The list also keeps me from settling on my current status quo. As I complete items on my list, I know I’ll feel a sense of contentment and of accomplishment.
One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now. – Paulo Coelho
For a couple of minutes, I entertained the idea of doing 61 for 2018, but it was too overwhelming. Stay tuned, I may still do it! In the meantime, here’s my 18 for 2018, in no particular order. The first two items came to me as I was listening to Gretchen describe the whole concept.
My Own “18 for 2018”
- Purchase a set of 3 cardinal (bird) ornaments representing the 3 immediate family members we’ve lost over the last 5 years for my mom and my siblings.
- Buy new ribbons to use to hang our Christmas garland and glass ball decorations on the stair railings. I’ve wanted to replace the old ribbons for a while, I just never think to go out and look for them!
- Entertain on my back porch regularly. You can see why!
- Collect current photos from my kids and my siblings to use on my photo wall. I have hundreds of photos from when they were little and less than 10 current ones!!
- Create a picture wall going up the stairs – this has been on various lists for 20 years!! Check out the photos of the frames I’ve been collecting for this task!
- Clean out the closet in the guest room/office.
- Wrestle my office around (aka the guest room) until it works better for me.
- Use my electric pressure cooker.
- Paint all of the closets in the house.
- Re-organize my closet.
- Learn to use of Instagram (starting with this post!).
- Read Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. His book, The Innovators, changed my life.
- Ride my bike.
- Get out my early Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. You know, I’ve always wondered when they put out Christmas decorations in Canada and Europe because they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving like we do in the States (in Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated in October). I found out they decorate after Remembrance Day (November 11). Good to get that settled!
- Write notes to my friends when I think of it. I have dozens of cards and there’s time, so there’s no excuse!
- Go to the Botanical Gardens 3 times and remember to invite Rebecca at least once.
- Go the museum 3 times.
- Work with clay. A long time ago (like 20 years), I took this amazing clay class at a local Center for the Arts. I loved it but it was scary because the instructor wouldn’t tell us what to make!! We had to create straight up from our own imaginations, which is not a strength for me. My creativity is centered around people, not creating objects. So, I took a risk, stretched, and did some cool work. They’re in the photo at the top of this post. It’s time to do it again. This time, my sister provided the clay and I will provide the imagination.
So, there you have it, my 18 for 2018! What fun or even pesky items and tasks would you like to cross off your list for 2018? I’d love to see your list, too. You can take a photo of your list and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #happier2018 and @beckyberrycoach so I can see them!
What’s up your sleeve for 2018?