It’s coming up to that time year. The time to reflect on your past 12 months, and to start making plans for the new year ahead.
I love this time of year. I love the feeling of excitement and possibility that looking forward to a new year brings.
How about you? What are your plans for a lovely year? As we approach the new year will you be setting any goals, or making any New Year’s resolutions?
Sometimes goals and resolutions can feel a bit weighty. They often involve trying to overcome bad habits or attempting to create new, more desirable habits. While they aim to improve our daily lives and ultimately make us happier they often require hard-work, focus and commitment. All great things of course, but they are not always particularly fun.
I’m a big believer in setting goals, and I will definitely be setting myself several goals to reach for in 2019. However, I also want a fun-filled year. I want to make sure there are plenty of opportunities over the next 12 months for having fun with my family.
In 2019 I adopted a strategy I heard about in one of my favourite podcasts, Happier, with Gretchen Rubin which covers strategies and tips for creating more happiness in our everyday lives.
19 for 2019
The idea came from Episode 147 of the podcast last year when Gretchen and her sister and co-host Elizabeth, inspired by a listener’s happiness project, each created a list of 18 things to complete in 2018.
Gretchen and Elizabeth highlighted how making the list was a fun, creative way to approach the New Year, and how the act of completing small tasks or reaching several small goals will result in a happier, memorable year.
There’s no doubt that setting a goal, no matter how small, and taking steps toward accomplishing it will give you a happiness boost. By creating a list of things that you want to get done, and then ticking it off you’ll get a great feeling of accomplishment as you see yourself making progress.
Your list can include anything you’d like to do over the next 12 months.
It could be a mixture of little things, big things, things that can get crossed off easily, things that require more planning, one-time things, or ongoing things such as starting a new habit or learning a new skill.
The point is that it’s meant to be fun and to ultimately make your life better.
You might decide to create a reach or aspirational list, where you aim high. Or you might decide to keep your list to the things you know you can get done. Or it could be a mixture of both. There is no right way or wrong way to make the list – it’s all about whatever works for you.
An important part of having a lovely year is having fun, so remember to include some things on your list that you WANT to do, as well as the things that you know are good for you, and the things that may not be so fun but you’ll be pleased you’ve completed. So be sure to include some fun, pleasant and exciting things on your list that you’ll look forward to doing.
It also makes sense to include something that you can cross off fairly quickly. This will give you a feeling of accomplishment and will help build momentum for tackling other things on your list.
Keep your list in a prominent place so that you can refer to it easily. This will help you stay focused on your biggest aims.
For my 19 for 2019 list, I decided to go for full-on fun.
I wanted to create a fun, whimsical but also (hopefully) attainable list for our whole family to complete during 2019. So I sat down with my husband and 9-year-old son, and we came up with a list of one-off fun activities for us to do together over the year.
19 for 2019 – Our Family Activities for a Lovely Year
- Go to a roller disco
- Go ten pin bowling
- Visit a European city we have never been to before
- Visit a country we have never been to before
- Go to a music festival in a campervan
- Dance at a silent disco
- Climb our first Munro (a Munro is a mountain in Scotland over 3000ft)
- Visit a safari park
- Go camping in the Scottish Highlands
- Go to a live jazz gig
- Build a snowman
- Attend a live orchestra performance
- See a play
- Go to a musical
- Complete an obstacle course
- Enter a fun run
- Attend a sporting event
- Get professional family photos taken
- Have a luxury movie theatre experience (eg Odeon Luxe or Vue VIP)
Our list doesn’t need to be completed in a particular order, and there aren’t any rules, other than the whole family (all 3 of us) need to take part in each one.
The activities cover a range of seasons. Some we can definitely only do in the winter (build a snowman), and some only in the summer (go camping in the Highlands), while others we could do at any time of year (see a play, or go to a jazz gig).
Some activities are fairly straightforward, and others will require a bit of planning, and/or training. There are some activities we can achieve close to home, while others will involve travelling further afield.
Keen to find out more? Listen to the 19 for 2019 episode of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast (Episode 203).
How about you? Are you inspired to create a list?
Remember there are no rules – you can include anything you want!
You can include things that are attainable or ambitious, whimsical or serious or a mixture of everything. Things that will give you a happiness boost when you achieve them.
All the things that will help you create your own Lovely Year.
End of Year Update on my 19 for 2019 List
It’s now December 2019, and I can report with confidence that it was wonderful having a family fun 19 for 2019 list. We didn’t achieve everything on it but we certainly had a lot of fun with the activities that we did do.
Here’s what we achieved:
- Go ten pin bowling – we went ten pin bowling twice – once at our local lanes, and once when we were on holiday in Norway
- Visit a European city we have never been to before – we went to Bruge, in Belgium which was as beautiful as we’d imagined
- Go to a music festival in a campervan – we went to the awesome The Good Life Experience Festival in Wales
- Climb our first Munro (a mountain in Scotland over 3000ft) – I’m going to give us a half-point for this one. We attempted to climb Schiehallion, in Perthshire but didn’t make it to the top – we were forced back by bad weather, which not an uncommon occurrence in Scotland!
- Go to a live jazz gig – we went to two! The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra & the Arlid Anderson Trio perform Norse Myths at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh, and we saw the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival
- Attend a live orchestra performance – two for this one as well – we saw The Goonies film, accompanied by a live orchestra, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra perform “The Planets” both at Usher Hall in Edinburgh
- Go to a musical – we saw the brilliant “Matilda” at the Edinburgh Playhouse
- Attend a sporting event – we watched the legendary Liverpool Football Club play Napoli Football Club at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.
- Have a luxury movie theatre experience (eg Odeon Luxe or Vue VIP) – we achieved this by accident when we discovered that ALL of the theatres at Vue Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh are now luxury. Win!
So even though we achieved less than half of the items on our 19 for 2019 list, we created lots of great memories and can look back on a lovely year, packed with fun activities.
And what about my personal 19 for 2019? Well, I’ll admit I was a tad ambitious having two lists, and as a result, didn’t achieve very much at all on my personal list. I’m happy to say though that I continued with my bullet journal, and am now a fully-fledged bullet journaling junkie.
I’m also happy to say that I’ll be continuing the tradition and will create a list of 20 for 2020 and beyond. This time though, just one list!