As we settle into the new year, I find myself less in the mood to set big, new goals and more in the mindset of looking for ways to more deeply enjoy the life I already have. I want this year not to be striving for more but taking the time to make my life, just as it is, full of happiness and intentionality. Here are some of my wishes for myself this as we move into the new year. I hope they spark some ideas for ways to love your life more, too.
I want to look for every opportunity I can to thank people in my life. I am so thankful for my circle of people who love me well and believe the best about me, and I want them to know it. Sometimes, thanking them might look like a cute little note and a surprise coffee drop-off. But I think most of the time it’s going to look like texts telling them the things I appreciate and letting them know they are loved. That’s not hard to do, and it needs to be done way more often. I know doing this will bring them and me a little extra happiness.
Let Rest be Restful
After the kids are in bed, I feel like mentally and physically checking out. I lay on the couch, with some background show, and scroll on my phone. This doesn’t require much effort, but if I’m honest, it’s not truly restful either. Instead, I want to find ways to actually rest. For me, this means not multitasking my “rest time” with multiple screens. A restful evening could be sitting on a couch on the screened-in porch, drinking tea (and burning one of those fancy candles!), and talking with my husband. It could be doing a puzzle. It could be reading a book. It could be watching a movie and actually watching it. Whatever it is, my goals are to slow down, simplify, and truly rest.
Enjoy the Things I Already Have
I can’t be the only one holding on to some fancy soaps and lotions, afraid to use them all up because they are just too fancy. I also have some amazing, one-of-a-kind candles (like the one my out-of-town friend bought me from a farmer’s market that I’ll never be able to visit to buy more of myself) that I’ve been holding off on burning. But I love those soaps and lotions, and there are always more candles to discover, so I want to use them and bring myself a little boost of happiness now.
I also have some shirts that I love but that I rarely wear. Why? Because I’m saving them for “special” events and outings, and I’m worried if I wear them too much, they’ll start looking worn. But all they’re doing is hanging in my closet. I want to wear the shirts now and feel good when I’m out, even if it’s just a Target run.
Be More Intentional
An important way to bring more happiness and fulfillment to my life is by being more intentional with the people I love. For me, this definitely looks like slowing down, listening more, and not multitasking as much. It looks like planning small, easy ways for my family to spend quality time together, like having a picnic (even in our own backyard), or making our pizzas together for a movie night, or taking a walk together. Two of my three kids are in school full-time now, and I’ve felt the shift in how little time we get together during the school year. I don’t want the time we do have to always be busy, stressful, or distracted.
Nothing I’ve shared here is all that ground-breaking on its own. I think everyone would like to be more intentional and thankful. But I know for me, there’s a big gap between saying I want to be intentional and actually being intentional. I’m hopeful that by using this year year to reflect on small ways I can bring a little more happiness into my life, it’ll be easier to make those goals a reality.