My Happiness Project

New year, new beginning.

I am a person who gets completely inspired by planning ahead, but I tend to get overwhelmed by the reality of actually executing all my goals. I make resolutions and break them. I agree to things I regret when the time comes to follow through. Sometimes I give myself a goal in the middle of the week, only to forget by the time Sunday rolls around.

But I think I can do better. I want to grow in happiness and kindness and faithfulness.

So for 2019, I am planning a doozy. (Maybe if my plans are more concrete, I will follow them?) Armed with ideas and inspiration from Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project, as well as her podcast, which I’ve been listening to for a few months, I am going to dive into my biggest “new beginning” ever.

And because I’m indecisive and I hate to leave anything out, I am coming at 2019 with all kinds of plans, from the long-term to the one-and-done.

Part 1. Word of the Year

Have you heard of this idea? A word of the year is like a motto, a superlative goal that you keep in mind all year long. For example, your word could be “chill” and then all year long you would remind yourself to take it easy or cut yourself some slack.

I like the idea of having one big idea that informs my whole year. One overarching reminder of who and how I want to tackle life. So I’m going to give word of the year a try in 2019!

Ready for the word? It’s supernatural.

Supernatural is a word that means a lot to me, because it reminds me that I am NOT supernatural. I can never be more than human. Only God is supernatural. And anything good in me was given to me by God in His supernatural grace.

I hope that by repeating supernatural to myself, I will increase the time that I dwell with the Lord. I want to love with His supernatural love and respond with His supernatural patience and kindness. I want to do what I do with His supernatural energy.

I’m sure many of you have gotten the Internet’s message that women (and all people) should stop trying to be superheroes…but honestly, I’ve always hated that message. It doesn’t make me feel free of perfectionism; it actually makes me feel like maybe I shouldn’t even bother to pursue good things. Instead, I want to want what is good! I want to accept convictions that God impresses on my soul, convictions that whisper to me to be more like Christ in my attitudes. I want to accept the conviction that being a homemaker is a hard, high, and holy calling, worthy of my best efforts. I also want to accept the amount of time God has given me each day as enough.

This year, a supernatural year, I want to depend on Christ for my strength. I want to acknowledge my weaknesses and let Him work through them in His supernatural timing and wisdom. Of course it will be hard: it will require unselfishness and humility and a whole host of things that don’t come naturally to me.

But that is exactly the point. To stop being natural and start being supernatural under God’s provision for me.

Part 2. My Happiness Project

I know I don’t always do “the right things” for my own health and happiness. I often think to myself that if I could just make the time to exercise, for example, I would feel great about it. But it’s so easy for me to lose momentum on a good habit—or procrastinate getting started—that I almost never establish them.

I’ve thought long and hard about starting my own happiness project, or a crash course in self-improvement. Instead of piling all the “good” things together and trying to get them all done at once, I am going to devote one month of the year to each area I’d like to improve, with the hope that the short focus will really help me see some benefits, and ultimately build a happier, healthier set of habits.

The key to this, of course, is knowing myself well enough to choose things that will bring me joy and not stress.

After consideration, I put together an 8-month happiness project. These categories feel huge to me, and so many of them are things I want to start on right away! I am keeping it to 8 months because I think adding any more challenges would just cause me to throw my hands in the air and give up. I have a tendency to give up on things I can’t execute perfectly after a try or two!

But here’s the thing. Because I want to start so many of these ideas right away, I’m holding them loosely. I’m going to highly emphasize each challenge during the month I’ve assigned it, but I will probably not wait to attempt things like better self-care and speaking love to my family just because I assigned them to later months.

My goal will be to layer these challenges, so that by the end of the summer, I will be reading my Bible, keeping organized, taking care of myself, doing a creative activity, etc., all together. I hope to get really good at doing these things, so that they feel simple and natural instead of challenging!

  1. Pursue Christ (January)
    • Read at least one chapter in the Bible
    • Write in my prayer journal every day
    • Thank Him: “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” – James 1:17
  2. Self-care (February)
    • View personal hygiene as a treat for myself. Make sure to wash my face, brush my teeth, and floss at the beginning and end of every day
    • Don’t put off taking a shower
    • Get dressed in the morning. Hair and makeup are part of getting dressed and feeling good about myself
    • Sleep 8 hours every night
    • Practice smiling!
  3. Learn something (March)
    • Devote a month to trying to learn and practice a new skill, such as watercolor painting, more precise knife control for chopping/meal prep, or picking on the mandolin
  4. There is only love (April)
  5. Fit body (May)
    • Eat leafy greens at every meal
    • Eliminate all sugars
    • Drink more water than any other liquid combined. Start the day with lemon water
    • Find an exercise I enjoy
  6. Be on top of it (June)
    • Set up a weekly chore rotation (not daily assignments) and try to complete the list each week
    • No procrastinating: If a task takes 2 minutes or less, just do it! (e.g., making a doctor’s appointment, putting something away in the closet)
    • Keep kitchen counters and table clean
    • Plan ahead for family events and holidays
  7. Unselfish (July)
    • Say yes—to family, especially kids, and to friends+church—whenever physically possible
    • Find a place to volunteer and give my time
  8. Be creative (August)
    • Spend time every single day making something: new recipe, music, drawing or painting, craft or crochet, writing creatively

Part 3. Nineteen for 2019

As if all of that weren’t enough, I started to worry that I wasn’t leaving a way for me to keep track of projects and one-time goals, since my first two plans were more based on habits and state of mind. So! The solution is obviously a giant bucket list. Of course…I couldn’t quite pare my list down to 19 because I kept thinking of good ideas (and yes, a few of these are also from the Happiness Project list in Part 2). And I’m nothing if not ambitious about my time!

Here’s my list for 2019 (in no special order):

  1. Finish updating the stair gallery wall
  2. Draw and hang art in our home office
  3. Find an exercise I enjoy
  4. Get current on sorting photos
  5. Reformat (and monetize?) my blog
  6. Take a watercolor course
  7. Help my mom sort through her house
  8. Read 52 books (including those from the Reading Challenge 2019)
  9. Potty train Caitlin
  10. Plan a 10-year anniversary mini getaway
  11. Finish crocheting my Christmas blanket
  12. Finish the 1000-piece puzzle we’ve been ignoring for a year
  13. Write a children’s book for my kids
  14. Record a song with my brother
  15. Celebrate the Holy Week before Easter
  16. Refinish the cedar chest and wooden folding chairs
  17. Make new throw pillow covers for the office couch
  18. Write to Compassion kids 6 times
  19. Fix up the dollhouse for Caitlin
  20. Clean the garage out to park in it
  21. Plant a vegetable garden
  22. Go hiking with the kids
  23. Start a semi-regular ladies card game


So that’s all, folks! A year of ambitions.

Here’s the final one: I will write regular updates about how these resolutions are going! #myhappinessproject #19for2019

Happy New Year!


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