Last week, I decided to add a new thing to my ever-growing to-do list: a ta-da list. I heard about the concept first from my life coach training class, but in that class, it was really just another name for a to-do list. The idea was that you cross things off your to-do list and say, “ta-da!” and that therefore you feel better about your to-dos.

I’m not arguing with that premise, but it wasn’t really working for me. Sure, it’s nice to cross something off, but that list has so, so, so many more things on it. And breaking my to-dos down into smaller lists was sort of helpful, but not helpful enough. So what I did was start ending my day — the official end of my “work” day, which sometimes happens right before I go to sleep — by writing a list of what I’d done during the day. And the list didn’t just include work-type things, it included anything that I felt good about doing.

What a satisfying habit!

I forgot to do it last night, but I definitely want to make it part of my regular routine, because it really felt great to look back on my days and see that even if I didn’t get nearly enough “work” done — (Did I really spend three days working on a client contract, the first piece of paperwork I need to start working with clients? Why, yes, I did. Could I really not have just copied any one of the numerous generic forms that exist online? Why, no, I couldn’t.) — I’d accomplished plenty of good learning, healthy choices, and happiness boosts.

As I walked Sophie this morning, I was thinking about the day ahead and the days behind and really appreciating the sociability of all of them. Today’s plan includes my accountability meeting with Greg; yesterday was the monthly writer’s group; Saturday, lunch with my dad and stepmom; Friday, writing in downtown Sanford with my writing accountability buddy; Thursday, an absolutely delightful day with my friend Lynda, including dinner in the evening with two other friends. Spending time with family and friends = major happiness booster, probably one of the biggest.

At least three times in the past week, I took Sophie down to the waterfront in downtown Sanford in the middle of the afternoon and walked along the lake, down to the boats, and then back again. Our morning walk is really nice, too — in the mornings, we walk about a mile and a half, to the local park with the peacocks and ducks and pond with a fountain and then back home again — but I really love the waterfront walk. Partially it’s the sunshine and palm trees, the water view, the boats, the marina, the wildlife — but it’s also a sociable walk. There are always other people around and many of them are friendly. Lots of hellos, and nods, and feeling part of a healthy world. (This is, of course, nothing to do with me, and everything in the world to do with me walking a really adorable dog.) Happiness boosts — movement, nature, community — it’s a trifecta of happiness boosters!

Every day of the past week, I read some of a fun book, some of an educational book. The educational books included, “Outsmart Your Brain: Why Learning is Hard and You You Can Make It Easier,” “The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead,” and “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits.” The fun books were mostly rereads, including the entire Julie Kriss’ Road Kings series. (<-affiliate links) I’m not sure I’ve decided what the term is for the happiness boost from reading — is it learning? Entering a flow state? Being engaged in something? Using your brain? I don’t know why it’s satisfying — I’ll have to think about that some more! — but it definitely is.

One thing I’ve been working on that has not been giving me a happiness boost has been my website design. Ugh, indecision. But yesterday morning I realized I really ought to be having more fun with it. Why is it not fun? There’s a bunch of learning that I don’t really want to do along the way, that’s part of why I haven’t been having fun, but I really should be letting myself enjoy the process more. I should be playing with it, treating it as a delightful chance to be creative and have fun with color and shapes. So that’s a goal for this week — more fun with the design of things, both the website, the written materials I’m working on, and some of the marketing stuff I’ve been doing.  My three rules for change are 1) Keep it simple, and 2) Make it easy, and 3) Find the fun. I think I need to think about those rules in relation to my whole life, not just making change. They’re excellent rules, IMO.

Just abut time for my accountability meeting, so one last thing:

an anhinga

My favorite bird from yesterday’s waterfront walk.