I’m no expert in happiness. I don’t have all the answers and I’m sure what I have to share is not any kind of big revelation or amazing secret. But the following list of 10 changes I made in my life over the last year are things I can say without a doubt have made me happier, healthier and more content in general than any New Years goals or resolutions I’ve made in the past.
So what are they?
10 foolproof ways to have a happy new year:
- Get up early. Resist me on this one all you want… this is a proven key to success, wellness and happiness. I wake up at 4:15 every week day and head to the gym for a half hour bootcamp class. By 6am I have already exercised, drank a whole thermos of water, sipped hot coffee in peace and quiet, worked a little and listened to my audiobook. As my girls wander down from their beds I am in a clear and happy headspace to tackle the day. I’m not saying you HAVE to go to the gym at 5am. But get your butt up, do something for YOU- read a magazine, meal plan, watch your Netflix show, paint, knit, organize your planner, color, read a book, listen to an audiobook, walk your dog. Wake up early and DO something.
- Drink a ton of water. My favorites for making this easy are my hydroflask thermos, reusable Starbucks straw cups, and recent purchase- (af link) this giant water jug. You need at least half your body weight in ounces worth of water daily and unless you are tracking it or TRYING for it, you likely aren’t getting enough.
- Wear clothes that fit. Stop the nonsense of squeezing into small clothes to “force” you to lose weight. Stop buying smaller clothes in hopes that they’ll fit someday. Stop wearing you old, giant, maternity clothes because you feel like you don’t deserve new ones. Focus on what fits and ditch (donate, sell) the rest.
- Make a date with friends (and keep it). We all need a village. We all need friendship. I get how hard it is to make and keep plans. Schedules are so crazy and hectic. Start a group chat and find a date and time to get together with your girls. A few of my friends and I have a “favorite things” brunch next weekend, dressy and fancy. And we are so excited! It’s not a holiday party, just an excuse to get us all together and relax.
- Get a bag of household “trash” out every week. Old pantry goods, junk toys, worn out clothes. It can be so overwhelming to tackle whole rooms or areas in a single day, but one 13 gallon trash bag before every trash day goes a LONG way toward a decluttered home and life.
- Cook more. I shy away from extremes as far as food goes because my family loves to cook and eat. Creating irrational diet plans is too difficult for my husband and I and also too restricting. But we love to cook together and 9 times out of 10 the food we make from scratch is wholesome, nutritious and healthy for our entire family. Get your kids involved. Learn new methods. Enjoy the process as much as the meal.
- Sleep. Figure out how to get more sleep and how to sleep well. This is my biggest life struggle. I have always had terrible insomnia. My mind races through everything I want to do or should be doing instead of sleeping. But with my early gym routine, sleep is essential. I go to bed by 9:30 at the latest (but usually closer to 9) and need to wake up rested. Getting my girls a sound machine (I swear by this one) and myself a weighted eye mask and weighted blanket have totally changed my sleep for the better.
- Implement a “family night”. Pizza movie Friday? Taco Tuesday? Game night? Family walk Wednesday? Breakfast with Dad on Sundays (personal fave, ha). Even when there is no extra work involved (like how many times do you pick up pizza and watch a movie on Friday nights??) giving a special name to these nights gives the whole family something to look forward to and to count on. That special time means so much to our kids, any low-effort ways to make them even more special is a win in my book.
- Allow yourself to dream a little bit. What are the big things you want in life? A huge trip? A Disney vacation? Alone time with your spouse? A second car? A bigger house? These dreams turn into plans only when we allow ourselves the chance to think about them and let them take shape. What are the small daily ways we can turn those dreams into our realities? Are we willing to put in the time, effort and dedication it will take to realize those dreams?
- Stop apologizing for doing life your way. Want to know some ways I do this personally? I RARELY volunteer for school stuff (I’ll send money til the cows come home but my time is so valuable to me right at this moment that figuring out how to get babysitters and make classroom volunteering happen just doesn’t work). I’m kind of a hermit. I like to be home with my fam and that’s it! I recently started sending my laundry to the laundry fair (for real) when I’m overwhelmed with it at home. I’m sure there are people who think this is a ridiculous expense and indulgence but it’s has soothed my entire existence and made my life better. Win!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2020 is a wonderful year for all.