Daily Habits for Happiness: My Plan for 2016

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The other day I had an epiphany while I was drying my hair. As usual, my thoughts were all over the place, jumping from personal reminders to work tasks to anticipated conversations to goal setting for 2016. I was debating whether I would make an official list of my goals for 2016, but as I mentally went through my list I realized that something was still missing.

After some careful thought, it hit me. I’ve focused so much on big, time-consuming goals and aspirations that I’ve forgotten about many of the simple, daily habits that create happiness in my life! In fact, life has felt a bit chaotic and unorganized for some time now, and it’s because I’ve let a lot of these daily habits slide. As I stood there blasting my hair, I realized I need to change my focus. What’s the point of setting goal after goal if the process itself doesn’t feel peaceful? Rather than plough ahead with tunnel vision locked only on the goals, this year I’m going to make room for the daily habits that bring me consistent joy – the ones that I haven’t allowed myself to make time for in a long while. I’m going to call these my “Daily Habits for Happiness”, and I truly believe that this approach can change my life.

What do I mean by daily habits for happiness? It’s anything that you can easily accomplish in your day to day life that makes you feel really good. These are often things that we brush off or let fall by the wayside because they aren’t given as much priority or importance as other things, but their potential to improve our quality of life is HUGE!

There are many things that I’m doing successfully each day (such as dedicated family time, exercise, etc), but there are many things that I can start doing to increase happiness quite easily. Here are some that I came up with. This list is a work in progress, and I’ll be adding to it as I see fit.

Make my bed each morning

I haven’t taken the time to make the bed consistently in the morning for umm….years? Since my mama told me to? In my defense, Eric doesn’t make it consistently either! The thing is, having my bed made in the morning makes me feel quite accomplished, but I’ve always told myself that other tasks are much more important and “I don’t have time”. Well, no more! It doesn’t actually take very long, but it sets the tone for the whole day and I feel like the reward outweighs any time spent on it. (I fear that I may fail miserably with this habit, but 3 days into 2016 I’m still on a killer bed making streak!!)

Shift workouts back to the morning

Speaking of convincing myself (or even bribing myself) – morning workouts! Because our schedule was so unpredictable last year (and still is at times), I shifted many of my workouts to the evening after Adriana went to bed. It seemed like the best time of the day for minimal interruptions (sleep regressions aside), but I started to really miss having restorative downtime at night. I recently started shifting my workouts back to the morning. I have Eric to thank for motivating me because he’s been rocking the early morning workouts with his buddy for a while. It’s challenging for me to workout first thing, but I always feel great when I do it. (If you’re curious – I’m doing a combo of running on my treadmill and online Barre workouts right now. I hope to add an in-person weekly barre or yoga class to my routine soon.)

Daily tidying

It’s amazing how much toys can take over our living room and kitchen area during the day (and how many times I manage to trip or hurt myself). We got into the habit of leaving the toys scattered all over the house because we were too tired to put them away before bed. But it really makes a huge difference to come out to a tidy room in the morning, rather than chaos. Now we do a quick tidy up after she goes down at night. It takes just a minute or two, but it makes me so happy to walk out in the morning and see a semi-tidy room (even if it doesn’t last!). The same goes for daily tidying other areas of the house…a quick vacuum in the kitchen and dining area does wonders for my mood.

Email management

Eric and I recently decided to disable the push notification setting on our Gmail accounts. I can’t take credit – it was his idea and I jumped on board. No longer will I be alerted every time an email pops into my inbox (which can feel disruptive and stressful – especially when it’s during the evening or on weekends). For years I’ve worked all hours of the day and on weekends. This year, email notifications are turned off and I’m checking email at dedicated times during working hours. Obviously, there will be times when I will have to break this rule, but I aim to make them far and few between.

I also find that staying on top of unsubscribing from emails and filtering out spam helps on the email front. I did it last year and it made a huge difference. I want to keep up with both of these daily habits this year.

Relaxed lunch + tea/coffee rituals

Adriana shifted from 2 naps to 1 nap a day in November. Now she goes down for her afternoon nap between 12-1pm each day. I used to eat my lunch while feeding her lunch, but I rarely got to enjoy my lunch before it got cold, or I just scarfed it down in record time without truly enjoying it. I can’t blame her though, I used to work through my lunches for years before she was born. Recently, I’ve started to make my lunch after she goes down for her nap. I find that it’s a lot more rejuvenating for me to have this downtime mid-day. I also aim to have a morning, afternoon, and evening coffee/tea/tonic ritual too.

Connecting with friends/family

This could be a lunch with a friend, a date with my coach, a late dinner at home with Eric, a girl’s get together, or a simple phone call. These connections increase happiness a lot, especially during the winter when it’s easy to hibernate.

~~~

I’m not forgetting about my big goals for 2016 because there are many that I’m super excited about. However, this year I’m making time for the “smaller” things that help me feel balanced, peaceful, and organized on a day to day basis. This is the year that the small becomes the big. I’d love it if you joined along with me!

Cheers to 2016, friends. I hope it’s off to a great start in your neck of the woods!

 

Photo credit: Sandy Nicholson

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

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grant July 17, 2016

Simplicity. I like it.

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Billy Bons June 10, 2016

Hello Angela!
I read your blog quite often and I really like your recipes, they are so yammy)). And i want to know have you ever tried to use shilajit as a food supplement? It will be interesting to know your opinion about this product.

Thank you!
Billy

for additional info
https://www.purehimalayanshilajit.com/

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carol May 28, 2016

I also make my bed every morning.. husband does if he is working from home and last one out! It makes a huge difference to when I get home from work. Morning workout also the way to go. I am really in a workout slip but with summer here in 2 weeks I will emerge with vengeance! I am a teacher so summer has a very special meaning! I just recently discovered you not sure how but your cookbook looks intriguing I am not vegan or even remotely vegetarian but I am a cook and the recipes look dazzling and who would not want to glow? I am also in awe of you running in Ontario water while I live in San Diego.Gives me appreciation and perspective! Have you red The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin? Another blogger turned author go getter like you! Congrats!

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Joshua Syna April 11, 2016

Great habits for 2016 especially connecting with friends and family!

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JET April 4, 2016

Love it

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Sheri March 20, 2016

I love these habits. A couple of things I do to make my mornings easier is, I always make sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed. No dishes in the sink, counters wiped and stove is clean. I work from home and the first couple of months were hard, I would lounge around in my pj’s until 1pm, a couple of times I got caught having to run something to schools for the kids. NO shower, teeth not brushes, no make up, etc. So now I get up about 20 minutes earlier, shower, get dressed and put on a bit of make up. If I’m caught having to run out, I’m ready. It also make me feel better about myself during the day, that I am, for me, put together. Thanks for the tips.

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Angela Liddon March 22, 2016

Thank you for sharing, Sheri!

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paula March 12, 2016

Angela I love your website and your book. I am a carnivore but your food works for me and I love making your recipes. You work hard and I am impressed. I am definitely following your habits for happiness 2016 too. Mothers of small children have more energy than anyone I know so more strength and creativity will be coming your way as your daughter grows. I am an old lady now also so from experience I know this is true. I will enjoy your future creativity, as well as keeping up what you have taught me. God bless you.
paula

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Angela Liddon March 17, 2016

Thank you so much for the kind words, Paula. I truly appreciate your thoughts and support!

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Erin Vargas February 25, 2016

Loving that tonic tea, especially in an effort to rid myself of a cold that won’t go away. I subbed chamomile tea (my local market didn’t have ginger?!) and sprinkled in ginger instead. Still pretty tasty- thanks for sharing.

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Angela Liddon February 25, 2016

Hi Erin, I hope the tea is helping! Get well soon. :)

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Amy February 24, 2016

As a business owner (not a mom yet!), I can completely understand all of these! I am definitely going to incorporate a few of these into my daily routine as well :)

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Ted February 24, 2016

Added getting proper nap at night

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BakeTheBun February 15, 2016

I’m new to reading this blog, but I have to say I really enjoyed reading your daily habits. A nice reminder that tiny changes make a big difference!

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Bianca February 2, 2016

I like to do a little bit of tidying each day so it doesn’t add up and then spend hours doing a massive clean! Also taking 10 mins each day for some meditation has made a huge difference too.

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Rodrigo February 1, 2016

Great post, very inspiring!
Making the bed every morning sound simple but it is not hahaha.
Myself, I`ve never done it! I always wake up in a rush to go out to work. Hopefully I will change that soon!

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Frances January 31, 2016

Love all of these! It is so important to set intentions for the year, and I love what you have chosen!
Wishing you and your beautiful family all the best.

http://faithinplants.weebly.com/blog/the-new-year-goals-family-vacation-pt2

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Jenny January 31, 2016

Hi Angela, I’m not sure if you seen the new app developed by Jamie Oliver but it’s all about micro actions daily that help you to reach those bigger goals, it includes the small simple actions I think you’d really like it. I started a few months ago and found it has really helped me to remember to do the little things. Anyway it’s called You-app by Jamie Oliver. You can just goggle it. Thanks and by the way I’m a huge fan xx

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