Resolutions & Understanding Happiness

Photo by Jennifer Yu.

Photo by Jennifer Yu.

This past month I've been intensely reflective about myself and my life. When surprising unfortunate circumstances present you with your worst nightmares, you can't do anything but reevaluate your own life. And so far it's been an amazing journey getting to know myself better, listen to myself more clearly, and love myself unconditionally.

I feel like a whole new person and I've never been more excited about the arrival of the new year and getting to reinvent myself in 2018. My life is so different from what it was just two months ago, and I'm so grateful to be where I am now. But step one of redefining my life and goals requires me to understand what I want in life. I want happiness. What is happiness and how do you achieve it?

Everyone knows when they are happy or not happy. It's a very emotional feeling, but the idea or state of mind can be broken down into a tangible definition. I've been enlightened by "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin, who after her research, concludes that novelty, challenge, and growth are key to happiness. 

In my daily planner (I love the Passion Planner) I keep a list of "good things that happened this week" that include joys, victories, and gratitude (thank you Lavendaire for the advice). Last week I tallied up all the things from the past year. My top scoring categories were friendships, trying new things, happy surprises, meeting new people, and family. Relationships and new challenges are the fundamental building blocks to true long-lasting happiness. Knowing this has made me so much more aware of my state of mind in the last few weeks. I'm more aware of my emotions and happiness, which influence my productivity, motivation, and attitude towards those around me. When you're happy you spread happiness. Everybody wins.

Moving onto my resolutions for this year I condensed my list into six categories. 

1. Relationships. Work harder on my friendships and spend time with loved ones, even if it means going out of my way to take trips or do unusual things. People are the best things to invest in.

2. Learn. Even though I'm not a student anymore I still have so much to learn. Besides learning about the hardships of being an adult navigating the real world everyday, I still want to learn languages, computer skills related to my career, and self-improvement.

3. Daily habits. Run, do yoga, stretch, meditate, read, cook. get out into nature - whatever it takes to practice self-care (sleep, nutrition, exercise, relaxation).

4. Creativity. Continue practicing all the artistic things I'm interested in. They provide me with so much happiness in the form of challenge and growth. Draw, paint, sketch, play guitar, do photoshoots, practice piano, etc.

5. Stop bad things. Those things include gossiping, getting angry because I'm bored (沒事找事), eating fast, skipping meals, being late, being needy, too much TV/Youtube. 

6.  Try new things! There are always bucket list items I list out every year and never follow through with. Some of them include trying aerial silks, volunteering, cooking various dishes.

Happiness goes hand in hand with self-love. You have to appreciate and cherish the things you do right, the things you do well that usually go unacknowledged. Here are some things I feel like I've been doing well and will continue to do:

  • Being ambitious
  • Being kind
  • Being selfless (although it sounds very contradictory, I know)
  • Being curious
  • Being resilient
  • Being organized
  • Planning trips and adventures with friends
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Decluttering
  • Not wasting money
  • Making friends

I know I list off tons of resolutions every year, but this year I'm enforcing them with a checklist and accountability partner. Even if the spreadsheet fails, I'll be one step closer to making these resolutions daily habits and for that, it's worth the hassle.  So hats off to the new year. It's gonna be a great one, full of freedom and adulting. I can't wait to see what comes next.