My Happiness Project: Making The Most of 2019

Finding happiness. Coming to the end of 2018 I found myself a little disoriented. I had found purpose and meaning with the Open Mic and Trivia hosting I had begun, as well as a new (seasonal) vocation with ski instruction; but it all seemed fragmented, and not necessarily oriented towards my goals. Not having a good book to hold my attention only exacerbated this feeling.

I read a lot, however books get expensive and so I am prolific with my use of the public library. Unfortunately, then, and still, the books I have placed on hold have yet to become available. In desperation I picked up a book my wife had lying around; The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. This has proven to be one of the best things I could have done.

I read the book quickly. Then picked it up and started reading it again, immediately. Only this time I did it slow and deliberate, and with pen and paper within arms reach. I then, armed with a now dogeared version of the book and with copious notes, picked the book up a third time and started going through it again.

The book is an account of Gretchen’s attempt at increasing happiness in her life through a structured, and measurable approach to goal setting and resolution accountability. The book’s chapters are built around each month of the year, and that month’s resolutions and goals. On my third reading I started building my resolutions charts, and with this third effort out came the highlighters and page tabs (seen in picture).

As I followed this path I worked to also orient the process towards my business ambitions, as I consider these to be symbiotic to my life and happiness goals. I credit the effort overall with what I consider an excellent start to a new year and the rest of my (post-military) life. The process helped me understand areas that I hadn’t considered for improvement. It armed me well to weaponize a method to achieve my goals and gain agency in getting at them.

On 1 Feb I grabbed a coffee and reviewed my January results. It wasn’t pretty. It was, however, measurable and holding me to account. I took stock and made the adjustments before re-reading the February chapter and prepping for the next 27 days. Statistically, my January effort was a fail. I had too many resolutions, and each one was too broad; they lacked focus. Something else I hadn’t considered was the impact of (external) factors I couldn’t control. January went from a list of eight broad resolutions to 6 focused ones. Even then I really only managed any consistent success with 2 of them. Adjusts are now made and we will carry on into February with these amended resolutions, and, of course, the 2 additional ones I am adding on for February’s resolutions and goals.

I am writing this on 2 February and I can say honestly that I think the new resolutions are concise. They are not only manageable, but on mark. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll be reviewing each month and taking stock as I enter the next.

I’d like to also share some of the business goals I had set and where I am with them. My first goal was to make my first dollar. This seems, perhaps, modest, but to achieve this it took me two years of development, retiring and a further 5 months of dedicated work. I had to put myself out there and expose myself to failure.

Well, I made that fist dollar on 11 January 2019. The next goal I had set for myself was to repeat it. Again, modest, but important. This too has been achieved and in such a way as to be repeatable. My third goal was to establish a revenue stream that was both constant and grossing enough to cover my ‘operational’ costs; such as phone bill, coffees, travel, and the fees associated with this blog and website. I haven’t done a thorough analysis, however, I have declared this objective met now as my cursory analysis suggests success.

What’s the next goal? I have set myself a specific dollar amount for revenues for the end of February. I am 10% of the way there already.

Lastly, I took a look at a VW Westphalia that might work for the mobile coffee shop. There is much research, negotiation, and work to be done yet, and there are certainly no guarantees, but I’m on track and exploring every option. The important thing is that there are options. I’m on it!

There it is. I wish everyone a Happy Sunday.

Next Open Mic at Anabia Cupcakery Cafe is 15 February and the next Trivia is 23 February. The trivia theme for February is: Love. The Open Mic last night was packed; our best night yet. To all of you that took the time to join us last night, and there were quite a few of you, I offer you my gratitude and thanks. The support and love are encouraging and empowering. The sense of community and happiness is heartening.