Goal setting and acheiving happiness made, erm, easy?

So here I am, a good eight months into my happiness project.  Thanks to a rather uplifting conversation yesterday with an intuitive and inspiring friend I spent some time this morning sifting over this project to find out just where it all stands.  And to re-assess my goals and ambitions that will ultimately, I hope make my pathway towards continued happiness a smooth sailing journey. 

Starting, once more from the top here is what makes me ultimately happy….

TRAVEL

FITNESS

MUSIC

FOOTBALL (the round ball version)

ART

FILM

LITERATURE

HELPING OTHERS

ENJOYING GOOD FRIENDSHIPS

JUST BEING DAVID

So how does one convey these dot points successfully into the day to day running’s of life?  As my initial inspiration behind this project, author of “The HappinessProject”, Gretchen Rubin rammed home many times you have to simplify things and break it all down.  Listing what makes you happy is the easy part.  Defining the pathway to achieving your goals will be a little tricky.  However, sticking to the said pathway and avoiding distractions is ultimately what brings many of us down.

With only 18 weeks remaining in the year I’ve drawn on an updated list of goals that I want to either complete this year or have the ball rolling to bounce into 2014 full of enthusiasm and energy for future.  To cover every element from my draft notes for todays blog entry would have found me competing with “War & Peace” in length!  Hence I have attempted to whittle things down a touch.

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then we shall begin!

LEARNING FRENCH

There is a beginner’s course in South Brisbane that runs on a Thursday night which I am going to enroll in once the football season is over.  Next year I can progress to intermediate and advanced courses though for now, baby steps.  This was one of the first goals that i set out for in January.  It’s time to make it happen!

TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Two weeks ago I spent the day with my niece, who is on the verge of her sixteenth birthday.  We had sushi, waxed lyrical about her troubles with boys and saw a proper scary film, “The Conjuring”, which left us both jumping in our seats throughout.  I hadn’t seen Phoebe in a while so it was great to catch up.  I need to make a more concerted effort to see my family more.  An area of my life that is often neglected on my behalf. 

As my parents live a long way away I am going to set aside one day every two weeks to head out there and visit them.

The quality and caliber of my friends is something of which I am most proud of.  Good friends are difficult to come by in our modern world of celebrity worship and obsessing over materialistic possessions.  Thankfully I am more than blessed with wonderful people around me.  I just need to make more time for them.  It’s time I began hitting my phone and emails more to arrange some catch ups.

NEVER TO OLD TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW: GUITAR & PIANO

Initial investigations and advice from friends have helped me decide that buying a second hand acoustic guitar is the first step.  Once I feel comfortable handling myself after a couple of months on guitar I shall then progress to my beginners role on a piano.  Nirvana, a PT at my gym has offered lessons on piano any time I want them which will be a great help.  The one great advantage I have is that I am very determined when I set my mind to something. 

RUN BABY RUN!

At the beginning of the year I had a plan of attack to complete 9 half marathons, 6 full marathons and 2 ultra marathons.  Thus far I have completed 2 half and 3 full marathons.  My fourth full marathon is this Sunday on the Sunshine Coast.  That leaves only 2 full marathons and 7 half marathons to complete the bulk of my running goals this year.  Unfortunately my body isn’t quite ready for ultra marathons (100 km plus events) at this point in time but they will come in good time.  Even if I failed to run another step after Sunday I have enjoyed every moment of my training and competing this year.  I have learnt so much about my mental toughness and physical capacity, both of which have helped me greatly in the day to day trappings that life throws out way. 

BEING KIND TO OTHERS: HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Something that has given me tremendous rewards and happiness this year thus far has been offering kind gestures for other people.  Whilst in Leeds back in May I spent a day taking home made sandwiches around to various homeless people on the streets.  It was a feeling of deep sadness to see so many people living on the streets of England’s fourth largest city.  We often treat the homeless as the scum of our society.  We could all do more to help.

Even the little things that I have offer such as seats on a bus, opening doors for others, smiling and saying hello to strangers has given me a great sense of satisfaction.  I love seeing people smile, even if for only a fleeting moment.

PLANET EARTH IS BLUE AND THERE’S NOTHING I CAN DO: TRAVELING & EXPLORATION

Already this year I have encountered some amazing travel adventures.  On the horizon I have 3 weeks in Europe at the end of November and a month there again over January and February.  In 2011 I set up a challenge to raise funds and awareness for Amnesty International whilst climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  I am still yet to climb the mountain but have raised some awareness and over $3,000 for Amnesty in the process.  Finding a group of willing climbers is still on the cards though I may have to go it alone at some point in the coming year to reach the highest point in Africa.

BOB THE BUILDER: MAKING AND CREATING MORE STORAGE SPACE

After nearly 20 solid years of collecting music, literature and film I set about earlier this year with the task of cataloging and properly storing it all.  In June I built a rather smashing looking custom made CD cabinet to hold over 500 CDs.  It was a fun side project and looks smashing if I do say so myself.  Next step is to spend September building more to organize the rest of the collection.  Once everything is up on racks and shelves I can then spend the last couple of months of 2013 cataloguing the thousands of items on hand.  Getting a little crafty is certainly something that I take great pride and enjoyment from.

BABY YOU CAN DRIVE MY CAR:  GETTING MY LEARNERS!

OK, to set the record straight on this one I have always been against the use of cars where possible.  I am passionate in my belief that our society relies too heavily on cars as a mode transport.  In my time living abroad and exploring foreign cities I have learnt one thing that we cannot deny.  Australia is a fat and lazy nation.  We have the perfect climate for walking, running, riding bikes, skating and many other modes of transport however we continue to sit in cars, often in grid lock for hours at a time.  I just don’t understand our obsession with driving. It will be strange should I pass my learners exam in two weeks time.  Getting behind the wheel is something I have put off for as long as I could.  The bullet is about to be firmly chomped on.  I dearly hope I don’t become too reliant on driving as a mode of transport despite it making getting to work for a 4:45 am start much easier.

A long term goal in 2015 is embark on a driving adventure along “Route 66” in the USA with my dear English friend, Anna.  We get along so well, almost to the point that we are like an old married couple.  So I suspect a driving holiday in the sunny United States of America with “wifey” could turn into one fantastic adventure!

IMAGES ON MY WALL

When travelling I love capturing sights and moments on film.  I guess you could call me a budding photographer at heart.  Often I will also buy postcards of cities visited along with postcards containing kitsch images from a bygone era.  With literally thousands to chose from over the last decade and more of travel I want to set up some stylish photo frames on the walls capturing my favorite moments with friends and family along the way. Framing some posters from European art gallery exhibitions I have attended is also a project I want to entertain. From what I have set up already on the walls, once completed the rest will look fantastic.

As a side note I still have hundreds of images un-edited on my iPad mini that require my attention.  To combat this I am going to set aside a two hour block once a week to sift through, edit, upload and update all my online photos.  This is a side project that shall require one to chip away with, a little bit at a time. By the end of October I hope to have all my digital images uploaded into an online photo account.

 READING THE DAY AWAY

A main goal this year was to read more.  At this juncture it is safe to say I have over achieved in this particular area.  Be it a 20 minute burst or a 2 hour session, I have managed to cram plenty of reading into the days and nights.  Some nights I will arrive home, shower, feed and then settle into bed or slump into the couch, classical music on in the background and a jolly good read in hand whilst sipping a cup of tea.  Oh pants!  They are the words of a man getting older.  Still, it’s one of the things I love doing and never tire of!

ORGANIZING THE FOOTY CLOBBER

Just the other day a friend eluded to the ridicules amounts of football kits and scarves I have bundled into a cupboard.  This wakeup call made think it is high time I got hold of a mannequin and photographed all my football kits from all over the world.  I have around 100 shirts at last count and almost as many scarves.  A few people have been suggesting that I write a book on all my football adventures and mishaps around the world.  Perhaps writing my first book could be a project for down the track?

Either way, it will be a nice feeling to have everything in that cupboard sorted and looking in proper order for a change.  

JUST BE DAVID

This is one aspect that Gretchen Rubin enforced in her book.  Always be yourself no matter what the circumstance.  Never stop being true to yourself.  Cliché it may all seem yet how many times do you see friends change who they are to suit other environments and people?  It’s one aspect of this happiness project I have embraced full of enthusiasm and energy.  Just being me!

I hold deep and essentially strong political, social and moral beliefs.  Yes, it is frustrating when others don’t see your line of thinking but as with everything in the world we all have a choice. Chose life!

Two elements of Australian society I have struggled to come to grips with as the year has unfolded is the blatant racist and homophobic views from those uneducated types out there on the issue of asylum seekers and marriage equality.  What frightens me more is that Tony Abbott, a man who holds strong Christian values and beliefs will perhaps be our Prime Minister within the month.  Here is a man desperately out of touch with the modern world and hell bent on enforcing his bigoted and backwards views on the rest of the nation.  Rather scary a prospect isn’t it?

 

So my happiness project is something that has enriched my life throughout 2013.  I have discovered so many new aspects of my make up that perhaps I would have left covered up had I not taken on this sublime journey.  There is still so much to discover about myself and others as the year, and the project draws towards the finish line.

I can honestly say that I have never been happier in life.  This project is proof in the pudding that you don’t need money, big houses and fast cars to be happy with your lot.  Happiness comes from deep within.

Do the things you love most.  Chase your dreams and desires like no tomorrow.  And most of all, always be the best person you can be and just be yourself!

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