My Happiness Project 2018

Hi there friends! Happy New Year! I have written this post in my head a dozen times and have even sat down to write it a few times but each time my mind took off in different directions. I am not sure why the 1st post of the new year is always so daunting to write but it is. On my run this morning I started listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast. I tuned into “8 Rules of Happiness” with guest Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. Instantly, I felted connected to this interview so I thought it would be fun & therapeutic to start the new year with a list of things that will make me happier and more mindful, less stressed and more patient:).

My Happiness Project 2018…

My fears will drive me instead of hold me back. It was year 38 of my life, while on a morning run that I made a conscious choice to no longer let fear control my life. Since then I have faced many of my fears head on. Some were way harder than I thought and some didn’t go according to plan. But…I learned something valuable each time I pushed through. I learned I could count on myself more than I ever thought possible and that I was/am stronger than I give myself credit for. This is year I will push myself further. I will still maintain thoughtful balance but I will not let fear hold my hand and walk with me on this journey.

Ask for more help. Oh my gosh, this is SO hard! I have a wealth of wonderful family & friends that can help me become better at what I want to achieve, I just need to ask. In the past I felt like I didn’t want anyone to feel obligated, so I didn’t ask. But what I realized is that most often than not, people who care want to help.

Be me. For so long I hid in my shadows, never wanting to really be seen or stand out. Blogging dared me to come out of those shadows but it hasn’t always been easy. As I get older, I find freedom in letting go of what everyone wants me to be and just being who I really am. It’s so liberating!!

My story. I have been researching my genealogy & even had my DNA tested. Guess what, both sides of my family came from nothing. Poor is an understatement. They were all immigrants from Ireland and Great Britain and had an insane amount of courage to leave their life and country behind to come to America. They fought to survive and eventually as generations went on saw hope for a better life. I am grateful beyond words for ALL the sacrifices made so that I could be here today with a home, opportunity,  rights, a voice that is valued and my family! With that I have uncovered truths I never knew. I will not shy away from the truth, instead I will walk bravely towards it.

Do More of What Makes Me Happy. Juggling a busy life you can forget what actually makes you happy. I will carve out more time for making art, walks on the beach just because, taking mid-day hikes with Denver, coffee with friends, time with my dad, games with my boys, dates with John, ancestory research, self reflective anything, documentaries and yes, Netflix! I am loving any historical drama lately!!

More time for personal connection. Running a business, a home and being a mother takes an incredible amount of time. Being good at these things takes even more time, time which sometimes I don’t feel like I have. It can be hard to find the time to make or maintain personal connections. Ones that encompass more than a like or comment on social media. Ones that maybe push me further to carve out a chunk of time to actually be with someone. Maybe in person or over the phone. There was a situation a few months back where we almost lost my dad. I am trying, even if I am busy, to make way more time for him during the week while the boys are at school. I actually started a journal of his life and am narrating it for him while I visit. It’s been such a blessing to get to know him in a whole new light.

Get Disconnected. I am better when I am not glued to my phone. I think I am pretty good about phone management but I can be better. Being in an industry, where it’s all about what can I share, all the time, can definitely take it’s toll. I would like to set more boundaries and leave the darn thing home more! Who’s with me?!!!

Declutter my mind, home & life. I realize I like to simplify, purge, give away, toss, make piles and create organization. I am better when there is some organization in my home. John unfortunately is a stuff magnet. Well no more, this year I am in charge and I am going to declutter our home and life. I have already began in all the kids spaces. Oh my gosh, it feels SO good! We have donated a ton already and more this year. The basement is on my list and it is packed. Wish me luck:).

Continue to give back. I began 2017 wanting to make a difference. I want to continue that in 2108.

Stay grateful and kind. Is there really any other way to be? So much of our daily household conversations revolve around this. I honestly believe with gratitude comes joy. And with kindness comes compassion, acceptance and love.

Embrace rest. I have seasons where I am more creative than others, I know that now. And guess what?! I am finally at a point in my life that I am at peace with it. It is the ebb and flow in life that rejuvenates and inspires us, allows us to be mindful of our place in the world, the people we love and feel connected to.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? Or any ideas of what will bring you more happiness in 2018? I would love to hear!!!

Have a very happy day!

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  1. Wow. As I read this, it was as if I was reading my own thoughts. It is really remarkable how these things all resonate with me…all except the phone part. I have yet be that attached to it 🙂

    One thing you said about just “being me” – I came to that conclusion a few years back after feeling exhausted trying to be all the things that other people wanted me to be. It really is liberating. I lost a few people along the way who didn’t like that I wasn’t “performing” to their expectations anymore… but that’s OK.

    I hope that your journey this year continues to fulfill all the goals and ideals you are striving for.

    You have a beautiful soul that deserves joy.

    1. Hi Laura, thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment! It’s so true about it being liberating! For so long I stayed under the radar, never really showing myself in fear I wouldn’t be cool enough, thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough….you get my drift. The “pretending” is absolutely exhausting. I hope your journey is filled with incredible things too! xoxo Jen

  2. Wow. I was listening to the SAME podcast yesterday!!!! When I started reading your post, my husband asked why I had a weird look on my face, I told him it was because someone was in my head! LOL!
    Right beside me I have both books. The Happiness project and Happier at Home that I dug out of the basement as I was listening to the podcast. My goal is to make my Happiness Project 2018, Fear is a HUGE one but I’m already working on that one… This is the first time I have left a comment on social media, talking about me, because I too like to stay in the shadows and not stand out. Maybe that should be on the list too!
    Anyway thank you for writing this and helping this Montrealer (Canada). It really was a pleasant surprise.
    PS I recommend listening to Shawn Achor 2 part: The Secrets of Happy People ( if you haven’t already), also on Super Soul Conversations

    1. Haha, that is so funny! See, we were both meant to listen to that & connect. I love how the world works sometimes!!! I am SO glad you left a comment!!! I have the Happiness Project too, which I have started & stopped what feels like thousands of times, lol. Fear has always been a big one for me but I also know when I break through it and actually do something, it feels like the best victory ever, which is a great incentive. I will defiantly listen to that podcast, thank you!!! Here is to an amazing 2018, filled with infinite possibilities!!! xoxo Jen

  3. Reading your post brought a bizarre look on my face. Yes, Yes, being preoccupied with family and business, we might run out of time in the day. Having a “me-time” once in a while will actually help in decluttering the mind.
    I go kayaking during my “me-time” because it soothes my mind and I can get a grip. I do it once in a week if time permits. After all the hectic days in the week, kayaking makes me get a hold of myself in the weekend and rejenuvate myself for the week ahead.
    Every woman should definitely takes her own time in crafting her life as how she wants a her life to be. And marking a boundary for using the mobile could greatly improves having time for other stuff.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Jen. I always look forward for your posts. But I thought I would write to you this time.
    Have a great new years all 😉

    1. I am so glad you did write this time! I realize as I get older its so valuable to make “me time.” Sacrificing all of yourself, all the time for everyone else doesn’t help anyone. Happy new year!!! Yes, to everything you wrote!!! Jen

  4. This post really resonated with me. I have traveled the same road, with many of the same thoughts. I, too, began searching through my ancestry and had my DNA done. My ancestors were mostly from Scotland, Ireland and Great Britain, with one side mostly German. The poverty of the Scots and Irish when they arrived in America was both heartbreaking and astounding. I am so very grateful for the things I have now. I blog not for money, nor fame or to get lots of followers. I blog to tell my story, to offer inspiration and another perspective. I don’t post regularly, and because of that I can disconnect any time. I do Instagram as well but that also isn’t a daily thing. So you’ve made me think about what I want to do and how…or even if I want to “grow my blog.” Thank you for that. I know I will continue to find inspiration from City Farmhouse.

    1. Thank you Crystal for leaving such a thoughtful comment! It’s so true, glad you have also gotten some ancestry answers, its an interesting process!! Have a great day, Jen

  5. I can’t tell you how much of a weight I felt was being lifted from me as I read this post. As I read I kept saying yes, yes, yes! Now I know I am not alone. My company, Country Curtains, closed their doors in December after 61 years. That was a tough one. Loosing a job I loved working with women I appreciated and respected…sigh. Life can be tough. I’ve decided I’m going to take my time going into the next phase of my life. I truly want to do something I love. I’ve decided I want to spend more time with my husband on week-ends and that means no more retail. I would also love to be compensated fairly for the work that I do. I want to pause here and say that I love the life journal that you’re doing for your Dad. My father-in-law is now 93 years old. He’s healthy, but his short-term memory is very bad and I know it upsets him. I want to spend more time with him and have given great thought to what he might like to do together. It’s cold here in NJ now and he isn’t keen on going out. I think writing a life journal with him would be wonderful, for him and for us. Jen, where did you come up with your questions? Did you just ask as you went or did you use some sort of outline? He remembers everything prior to the last 5 years with crystal clarity. I am definitely doing this. Bless you! I’ve made a list of things I want to accomplish while I’m on sabbatical. It goes like this: loose holiday weight. Exercise regularly. Purge my closet (ugh!). Purge my foyer closet (done!). Purge the exercise room so I can get to the equipment. 🙄
    Hire help to deal with the basement (we actually have paths between the boxes)(done!). And last but not least…New job, what do I really want to do? That’s my list and I’m committed to it.

    I love to cook/bake and people have been telling/asking me for years to teach them. I taught both my boys how to cook before they went off to college as well as their friends and they’re wonderful cooks. I love nothing more than our days spent cooking together. Since I would like to take control of what I’m doing and how often I want to do it, I am actually considering giving cooking classes. I will be able to have use of the commercial kitchen at our church so that’s not a issue. I would just love to hear from an expert any advice on where and how to start. Can you guide me a bit? Many thanks. Deena

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