Download your free template at the end of this post.
Hi friends. We’ve all heard of New Year’s Resolutions, but have you heard of this New Year’s activity? This week I’m sharing one of my favorite things to create at the beginning of the year. It’s called a “21 for a Happier 2021 List” or “21 for 2021” for short.
Essentially, it’s a list of activities or actions that will bring you moments of happiness throughout the year. I’ve been doing it for several years now and can attest that it does indeed bring more happiness to my life, not only by doing the activities, but also in writing the list itself.
The idea originated from Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. She and her Co-Host share their lists every year, along with many others on their Facebook group. Her listeners get very creative with ways to construct their list.
How to create your Happier List
To start, pick a time to create your list. I like to create my list at the same time as my New Year’s Resolutions or (yearly goal update), but I think of it as totally different concept than goals. This activity is purely for fun. I personally only add things to the list that are joyful, rather than to-do items, as I put those items under my yearly Goal List. (If you want help drafting your goals, or New Year’s Resolutions, in addition to your Happier List, check out my guide here or this goal-setting post).
Secondly, take 10 minutes to brainstorm activities that will make you feel good. There are no rules or specifications. This list is only for you so you get the creative license to construct it however you wish. Some people add both “happy” activities and necessary “to-do” items because marking off those “to-do” items will make them feel much happier.
The only guiding principle is that it’s designed to be a fun practice, which allows you to think of 21 things that you can do throughout the year to bring happiness to your life.
Here’s a preview of my list to show as an example: Some of these activities may come across as “to-do” items for someone else, but for me they are fun!
Different ways to construct your list
Next, think of how you want to construct your list. Here are a few examples:
- The “walk around your house” method. Simply walk around your house when it’s quiet. Visit each room and see what pops in your head. This is more or less what I did.
- Pick 4-5 activities per category: Health, Relationships, Hobbies, Career, Finance
- 50% fun activities, and 50% “to-do” items that will bring happiness from their completion
- Many people are doing some form of breakdown for “quarantine activities” and “post lockdown” activities until we are more certain of the future. You can create one list for each or do a percentage. I personally compiled my list of 18 “quarantine activity” and just 3 “post lockdown”. Then I created a totally separate list of all my “post lockdown activities”.
While I did not follow a strategy to write my list, reflecting on it after the fact, I realized all my activities relate back to photos and home decor/projects, which do happen to be my biggest passions outside of Health Coaching. So my list seems to be appropriate.
Lastly, look back at your list at the end of the year to see what came to fruition. It’s important to note that you are not graded on your completion. Again, this is just a way to ensue more joy through out the year. Whatever remains on the list, can roll over to the new year or be taken off the list entirely if you choose. It’s also totally acceptable to modify your list thought the year as needed. It’s not set in stone.
Try these templates
Before you get on your way, I created two separate templates for you to use to write your list. This first is a blank printable document if you want to physically write out your list. (These images only show the first page, but note there are two pages for a total 21 items).
One last tip! Don’t forget to put your list somewhere that you can see it. And to add reminders in your calendar to check back throughout the year.
I hope this brings you as much joy as it does for me. If you feel like sharing, I would love to see the list you came up with and how you are displaying it. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me on instagram/facebook.