Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to Be Happy: A Bucket List for 2014

 photo taken in Canada last year. 
the rest of the (random!) photos in this post were taken when we were in Montana for the new year. 
 It's January--you know--that month where we all decide to eat better, exercise every day, and clean our houses more...... etc etc. 
And we all know, those resolutions slowly fade away, don't they?

As I've thought about this next year and what it will bring us, what I want most for myself and my family is HAPPINESS. 
Pure and simple (and so annoyingly cliche isn't it?) 
I've been thinking about what makes me happy, and sifted through it all over and over again so I could compile this list for YOU. 
No resolutions that are near-impossible to keep, just an easy list of accomplishments to work on throughout the year.
I 100% believe that if you work on these things (by yourself or with your favorite people), that you will have a very happy and very healthy 2014. 

Let's dive in together, shall we?

Do something that scares you.
 I am 99% terrified (1% ridiculously excited) to be back in school (I've survived 4 days so far! more to come on that later). I’ve had a stomach ache for weeks, and for the past few days I’ve been having all of the “I didn’t do my homework” and “I’m late for class” and “whoops it’s the end of the semester and I never went to that class” dreams. Every single night. I feel too old and extremely out of my element going back after a decade long break. But when I think back to scary things I've done in the past, I also think of how GOOD it felt once I was doing it, (I'm doing it!), and even better when I'm done.
So do something that scares YOU. 
Something you've been thinking about for a while and can't seem to push out of your brain--it's in there for a reason. 
If it seems a little bit scary, then it's probably worth doing.

Climb a mountain. 
A literal mountain--any mountain will do, big or small. Rocky or smooth. Steep or gentle.
Maybe it's a 14er or a hill behind your house. It's a great feeling of accomplishment when you work hard—muscles hot, lungs burning--and you find yourself at the top of a mountain. 
There are few things I love more than sitting quietly atop a peak, looking at the world below—it offers new perspective and helps bring focus to what is most important. 
Even if you don’t think you enjoy hiking—I promise--you will love basking in the sun on top of a mountain. 
Find a mountain, and climb it.RUNNING MONTANA // the little red house
Take [at least] one trip this year (24 hours long minimum) where you are completely out of reach of cell phone service (or simply leave your phone behind if you don't have a non-service place to go).  I love heading to the mountains knowing no one can reach me for a few days, and knowing I won't have any distractions. I can focus 100% of my time and energy on those I'm with and the surroundings around me. Just like being at the top of a mountain, 
disconnecting from technology offers new perspective and clarity on life's most important things.....none of which can be found on a cell phone.
Say things in person.
It’s so easy to text or email, right? But let's all try harder to make phone calls to those friends and family who live too far away--a great phone conversation beats even the longest email. Let's get together more with our favorite people we live near, and put our gadgets away so we can dive into real conversations. Let's connect and reconnect with those around us using nothing more than our voices.
Be uncomfortable.
If we are comfortable, we aren’t growing. 
If I ran the same 5 mile loop every single day of my life, I would never be uncomfortable. It would be easy!.....but I wouldn’t ever become a better runner. If  it’s something physical, like running, biking, or yoga, I will never grow and get stronger if I don’t push myself little by little and make myself uncomfortable. 
If I made spaghetti and meatballs every single night for dinner, I would never become a better cook (and I think my family might leave me). I like to try new recipes, play around with different spices and flavors, make things that I’ve never tried before—THIS is what will make me better--but I have to be just a little bit uncomfortable in the process. 
You may be different than me--but my favorite way to be uncomfortable is when I'm running on a trail. If I'm climbing a mountain and everything hurts--I KNOW I'm getting better. 
I love pushing my body and seeing what it can do for me. 
What to push yourself physically?....
Bucketlist BONUS: Sign up for a race. 5k fun run/ultramarathon/I don't care. Sign up for ANY race and you will be sure to make yourself uncomfortable as you train, all the way up through race day. 
See what your body can do for you.
RUNNING MONTANA // the little red house
Write things down. 
I got my kids a question-a-day journal for Christmas so they could get in to the habit of daily writing. I also picked up a little line-a-day journal for myself. One line a day. I can do that (I think...)
And if I forget a few days, it's ok--a line here and there is better than no lines at all. 
Also, let’s all write more letters. Or A letter, my case, because I am terrible at it. My friend Melissa is the best letter writer, and let me tell you--it’s so fun to get something in the mail that isn’t a bill. 
Say "NO" more often. Cut Back.
There are too many options in life. Each day we can chose to participate in so many good and wonderful activities. But let's not participate in ALL of them. Even when they are all GOOD things.....there is still such a thing as too much. 
Don't be afraid to say no to people/events/invitations. 
 First decide what is most important to YOU, and whittle away things that aren't on that list. RUNNING MONTANA // the little red house
Take an interest in your own health.
There are so many ways to live a healthy lifestyle, but find what works best for YOU.
I'm physically active, I keep away from processed junk, I eat weird things like hemp seems as though I should be satisfied with my health. Unfortunately, 4 years of Lyme (my next Lyme post is in the works!) really wreaked havoc on my body. I'm still trying to find different ways to heal, and really hone in on what is best for ME--and that may be different than what works best for YOU. When I offer up healthy advice and ideas on this blog, check them out--maybe they are for you, maybe not. I have a few favorite healthy and inspiring lifestyle resources I like to check in on, but there is no way I could keep up with all the advice they give. 
Find what YOU need to be healthy, and work it in to your life.

Find what you love, and do it more. 
What is it that you love? For me it’s trails, mountains, deserts, and fresh air. I hope to spend as much time possible doing what I love this year—both on my own and with my family and friends.  
Doing something you love makes you happy—it feeds your soul and makes you feel whole. 
Don’t know what you love? Explore. Try out different hobbies and activities until you find something that clicks--you will know it when it does.
Who cares what those around you might be into—find what connects with YOU, and do it often.
RUNNING MONTANA // the little red house
The running photos are snaps from my phone taken when Robby and I ran up Crown Butte. 
See us exploring Crown Butte last year HERE

Will you work on this bucket list with me? 
I promise you can do every single item on this list--the only thing holding you back is yourself.
Who's up for the challenge?
(raise your hand! sign your name in the comments if you want to commit)

also read:


Jeana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea Lapp said...

I just found your blog and love it! I find you so inspiring! You've made me want to get outside with my yellow pup (and use my camera). I am totally in for these resolutions. Fantastic

Theresa said...

Hey, hey! I'm in! I've been following your blog for a while now, and I'm a big fan. I figured it was about time to say hello.

Meg said...

I love this list! Love it! Thanks for some direction on what really would be good this year.

Jeana said...

I can't count. : ). I am in for all of them. 2014 is going to be awesome. Thanks for the inspiration!

Kelly Jo said...

I am SO up for the challenge! Pushing myself physically and Disconnecting are at the top of my list this year, I am thankful for your inspiration because sometimes i'm just not sure where to start. Thanks Sheena!

Kari Maxwell said...

FANTASTIC post and SO TRUE. I have a ritual of reflecting on the past year while setting new intentions for the future. I LOVE to see others doing the same.

Jackie Norris said...

Awesome list! I'm having a second kid which REALLY scares me... does that count? Ha ha! Mostly my goal this year is to take it slow and focus on my family.

I uninstalled all social media from my phone awhile ago and it has been amazing! I haven't missed it at all.

moyra scott said...

to go up a level. in my yoga teaching and practice and my income. oh and my art - practice and income. and to be lead by DELIGHT. for my husband and me it is our year of health. for me this means taking up some aerobic exercise and doing more yoga practice. small things like consciously drinking less caffeine and eating less sugar. but no rules on that.

Renee Shuman said...

the saying NO thing... thank you for writing that bit as I've been feeling pulled in so many directions. I'm overwhelmed with so many different, fun, interesting activities that I WANT to participate in but just can't while still keeping my sanity. I just have to say no sometimes, even if that means missing out on one of those great opportunities. We can't do it all, can we?

Lauren from Kiwi+Peach said...

I am totally on board with these. We just made the big move back from Germany and are getting settled in Asheville, NC. Putting ourselves out there and cultivating relationships with new friends, while exciting, is also really scary. {A bit like first day of school jitters, you know?}

After years of being 'just for fun' runners, the boy and I both are running our first 5k in March. Excited about the added competition, but a little nervous about what that will do to my already terrible pacing.

Focusing on health is key. Two years ago, while we were living in Germany, we started eliminating the processed junk from our diets, but it's a little easier to do that over there for some reason. We have to figure out how to make it work for us over here too.

Good luck in school. You'll knock it out of the park!

Athena said...

Great list and lots of food for thought. I'm signed up for a 21-miler (road race) in April and I think that covers the ' do something that scares you' and 'be uncomfortable' points, lol. Everything on your list resonates with me so count me in on the challenge. If I may, I'd like to add another thing that I'm constantly working on, and that's to simplify... life, stuff, unhealthy relationships, whatever it may be. Happy 2014!

Sini │ my blue and white kitchen said...

What a great list. This post is truly empowering. "If we are comfortable, we aren't growing". Cheers, mate!

Mickelle McCrory said...

love this! i'm so in.

lucinda smith said...

thank you for the list - they are ALL great reminders. one of my all-time favorite quotes:
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.” ~eleanor roosevelt

julie said...

This was awesome & inspiring as usual!

amanda said...

I'm in. You've got such a good way of putting things and helping others feel motivated!

Linda said...

So inspiring, as always Sheena!
And you are right. Seems like we know we need to do these things in order to feel happier and yet we ignore doing them. Or at least I know I do. I have a love/hate relationship with my phone, and just a few days ago I dropped it and it died. Now that I'm not checking it constantly I feel so much better! x Linda

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Anonymous said...

You've got such a good way of putting things and helping others feel motivated!

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