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The Happy List

As we roll into the New Year I can’t help but reflect on everything that happened this year.  Although there were moments of extreme stress, it’s the happy moments that stand out in my mind.  The smiling faces in my home, the family vacations, lazy summer days spent swimming, the amazing gains made by the kids, and the quiet evenings with my husband.  Overall, this was a great year.

Although watching my kids grow is bittersweet at times, I am looking forward to another year of new possibilities.

I’m a goal-setter by nature, so in the past I have used this time between Christmas and New Year’s Day to set specific goals for the upcoming year.  While it’s difficult for me to completely walk away from goal setting (I would to drink more water, rekindle my relationship with my elliptical, and maybe, just maybe, find a literary agent), I’m trying a new tactic this year.

Instead of focusing on what I can do to better myself, I am committed to focusing on happiness. The goals will always lurk somewhere in the back of my mind, and some days they will even push their way to the front, but this year I want to stop wanting and continue enjoying.

Instead of tacking a goal list or a picture of the perfect beach body (whatever that is) on my fridge this year, I intend to list the things that make me happy.

When I wake up in the morning, I want the first thing that I see to be something that puts a smile on my face and brightens my mood.  A reminder to work out will only cause me to stress out about whether or not I can fit it in before preschool drop-off or during quiet time or at all.  But a list of happy things?  That seems like a great way to start the day.

The best part is that I can add to it every single day.

The Happy List

My husband

My daughter & son

Playing at the park

Walking on the beach

Sunny days spent outside

Rainy days spent snuggled up with the kids

A fire on a chilly night

Quiet dinners at home

Watching the kids play with their cousins

Walking to our favorite coffee shop to share fruit salad as a family

New episodes of House

Good music, a glass of wine, and cooking side by side with my husband

Vacations on the Connecticut Shore

Old friends

New friends

Obsessive texting with a blogging buddy who quickly became a very good friend

A really good cup of coffee

Play dates

Picnics in the backyard

Picnics on the living room floor when it rains

Sherpa lined hoodies from JCrew (I just can’t get enough)

Visits with Mom

My sister

Dark chocolate M&M’s

The list goes on…

Won’t you join me in making a Happy List of your own?

If you like the Happy List, please stop by Practical Parenting and join me in Project Happy.

Katie is a Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist/Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA.  She has a five year old daughter, three year old son, and a rock and roll husband who makes her life complete. Katie has a parenting advice blog, Practical Parenting, and can also be found on Twitter.

Jennifer - Canadian Coupon Mom

Thursday 29th of December 2011

That is a great way to wake every morning. My ultimate goal last year really was just to be happy and enjoy family time. This is something that will be an on going goal but it's been a great one also.

Practical Parenting

Thursday 29th of December 2011

Enjoying family time is always a great goal! The days feel longer when I'm not just sitting down and enjoying this time. I find that when I ditch my phone and block everything else out, the days are great...even with a temper tantrum or two ;)

Christine (@chancesmommy)

Thursday 29th of December 2011

This post made me warm and fuzzy inside. I need to make a Happy List :) Thanks for sharing! xoxo

Practical Parenting

Thursday 29th of December 2011

I love hearing that, and I hope you do...


Thursday 29th of December 2011

a fire on a chilly night is heavenly! :)

Happy New Year!! <3

Practical Parenting

Thursday 29th of December 2011

Yes, it is! Happy New Year to you!


Thursday 29th of December 2011

We call it a gratitude list and it's a powerful tool!

Practical Parenting

Thursday 29th of December 2011

I love that. And yes, it can really turn a day around ;)


Thursday 29th of December 2011

This is way better than a list of resolutions ;)

Practical Parenting

Thursday 29th of December 2011

It really is :)