A New Year Happiness Project

Note from Sasha: I have so so many posts in the pipeline, but I haven’t seemed to find any time to write them, for which I apologise profusely. If you wonder what on earth I’ve been doing, you can check out my other blog to find out, (beware, its not very happy…)

In the meantime and while I compose my own posts, I’d like to share the Happiness Project of a dear friend of mine, and past HPL contributor, who we shall call Betty Sue. She has recently suffered what I can summarise as some Really Shitty Stuff, and has impressed me by her optimism since. I believe that happiness is something that must be proactively worked at, that must be methodically planned and acted upon, most importantly in the face of great sadness and trauma; and her strength and clarity in not sinking into the depths of despair but instead choosing to be positive is truly inspirational. Here’s to you Betty Sue.


We are heading towards a new year. A rebirth, a new beginning. Thank God (or whatever/whoever it is you believe in).

This is my New Year Happiness Project.

I don’t live in London anymore and this has been the most unhappy, shittiest year I have ever experienced. So what’s the connection?

This year I have learnt that some people are mean. I know, I should have realised a long time ago (about thirty something years to be inexact). I myself have been really mean in the past, but I still didn’t get it. And it is as a consequence of this discovery that I found myself at a very low point.

But from that low point, something happened. I did some research, some soul-searching and asked myself some questions. How am I going to get happy this year, today, at some point? How can I stay happy? Despite this year being astronomically awful, literally an annus horribilis, it has also given me some major insights into my very less than perfect life.

The New Year is here, and I am starting over. Here how:

Step One: Learn stuff about yourself and human beings (even slowly). People are odd, we all have our quirks – read about them, explore them, embrace them. Like when I realised that my life is up to me. Obvious to the initiated, but you get the picture. I am a very slow learner.

Step Two: You can’t change other people (I know, I know, slow) but you really can’t. They are what they are and if that works for you, then good, but if not, don’t have them in your life. You cant fix them, wish they did a b and c. Just stop it. It won’t help either of you.

Step Three: Go get some exercise. Yes, do. Find something, anything, that involves moving and go and do it. This could be walking. Minimal effort is fine. I discovered I love yoga. I still have a gym phobia. A friend discovered her thing was roller derby. Be brave.

Step Four: Find your friends. If you don’t have any/many, make a plan to find some. If you do, go spend time with them. If you’ve lost contact, look them up. Friends are very, very important for our emotional well being. As we are to theirs.

Step Five: Don’t get obsessed about the future. I know how easy that is, “when I get (insert current obsession) I will be happy“. Rude to say it, but no you won’t. You won’t, because you have wasted the time you could have been happy worrying about not getting the thing you wanted. You might want to stop doing that.

Step Six: Be happy today. If you’re struggling, how about using the theory of ‘fake it til you make it’. Try it.

Step Seven: (possibly the most important one): Think about yourself. Do you like what you see? If you do, love yourself, if you don’t, love yourself more. You are in sole charge of one person, you. If you don’t love yourself then who the hell else will?

Step Eight: Stop being mean to yourself. There are enough mean people out there already. “I am not good enough at (insert current negative statement)” is not going to help you. You are quite likely good at lots of things. Look at those things, remind yourself of those things. Love those things.

Step Nine: Do nice things for other people. It will make you feel good, it will make them feel good. Win win.

Step Ten: Look after your body. Everything we put in them is a chemical. Choose your chemicals carefully.

Step Eleven: Accept who you are. I love romance and fairytales (so living in denial/fantasy land has worked very well for me). Deal with who you are, be honest with yourself, do it kindly.

Step Twelve: You are worth it (queue image of shampoo advert), we are all worth it (apart from those meanies, but that’s a whole blog post which doesn’t belong here). We can do good stuff everyday for other people and ourselves. We just need to remember that it is our choice.

We are not responsible for other people’s choices, as they are not for ours. Choose wisely, your happiness depends upon it.

One response to “A New Year Happiness Project

  1. Hurrah, you’re back! Excellent post. I like this list. Also, agree on the exercise thing. I started tennis last year and am carrying it on this year. It’s this new thing I do and it gets me out of bed on a Saturday, and curbs the revelling the night before.

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