Something about a blank new month page in my planner fills me with glee. A whole blank month to plan and fill with things...an hour in, of course, most days were filled in with already planned and scheduled events (clinic sessions, appointments) but I do have some blank days to work with so I texted the sitter for date nights, booked some barre classes, and sent various messages and emails to friends to schedule outings.
I've been fairly consistent with my "3 good things" journal lately. Every night I write down a minimum of 3 things that made me happy that day. Some days its a struggle. But I dig deep. Its actually one of those "line a day" 5 year journals, and I got it in 2013, so if I had done this consistently, I would have a really nice record of the past 5 years, but alas. I started and stopped many times over the past few years (I think I missed 2014-2015 altogether).
I was looking over my entries from January 2018 and 2016 (the last year I actually filled out January) and patterns started to emerge. Looking over what MADE me happy gave me insight into what will MAKE me happy! (duh). There were certain things that came up over and over which I assume are my "secret to a happy life"
Meaningful work: feeling like I really helped someone, or had an insight into a research question. Not necessarily being super-productive and getting things done, but those flashes you sometimes get that make you feel lucky to be doing this. This is a great reminder to "Find the Why" in what I do with most of my waking hours
Creating things: mostly food. But I had a short lived stint a couple years ago of learning to sew. Gardening. I need to do these things more often (but probably not with food, because...I want my clothes to fit).
Challenging exercise: Gives me a high and ups my confidence. If I accomplish nothing else, the morning workout is still an achievement
Engrossing Stories: books, mostly, but also some really good shows we've watched. If I'm still thinking and feeling the story after I've closed the book or finished the episode, it often makes the list.
Noticing beauty: A beautiful sunrise, freshly fallen snow, L's dimples, really really good food
Connecting: with friends, my kids, husband
Calm: I'm always working on doing better with keeping my cool and my patience, and I specifically wrote down challenging episodes at home in which I managed my emotions and turned things around
As I fill up February, I'm making a point to block out time for all of this.