Monthly Archives: January 2018

Week #175 – Spread Happyness: SEND MAIL!

“Send Mail!” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #175 – Spread Happyness: SEND MAIL!

Greetings Happyness Tribe!

I’ve spent a good part of last year trying to declutter — and you know what I’ve found?

Notecards.  Lots of notecards.

I’ve always wanted to be that person who sends timely birthday cards, thank you notes, and letters of encouragement.  I just never get around to it…never have a stamp…the right pen…never know which card would be the best card to send…

You know which card is the best card?  The one that’s on your desk right now!

It reminded me of a post I wrote back in October 2016.  I had a half-dozen notes I wanted to send.  One was to someone in late-stage cancer.

Guess what?  It’s still sitting on my desk.  Unfortunately, she is gone.

This week, I want to propose (once again) something that I have been very bad at — but have resolved to do better this year:

Send mail!

I know, I know…there are SO MANY faster ways to connect with someone.  And forget about phone calls and emails…that is so 90’s!  Now we can text, chat, message, comment, reply, tweet, or post!

And that’s only if you still want to use words!

Otherwise you can like, love, gram, snap, pin, or simply emoji your feelings to someone!  You don’t even need the alphabet anymore!

But there is nothing, NOTHING, like walking to the mailbox, opening it, and expecting the usual pile of bills and circulars…only to find a brightly colored envelope with your name in someone else’s familiar handwriting!

It means: someone really thought of you.

He or she spent time formulating a thought, writing something down, looking up your address, finding a stamp, and dropping that envelope in the mail to reach you at an undetermined date — when they won’t have the satisfaction of an immediate response or emotional feedback.

It is a precious, sneaky, fun surprise.  And like I said, I’ve been really bad at it!  So…

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: SEND MAIL!  Chances are your holiday card list is still within easy reach.  Grab it now and update it with important birthdates/anniversaries/events/etc. — and if you’re a nerd like me and have yours in a spreadsheet, just add a birthdate column and sort by date!  The six to eight weeks after the holidays are a blue-sy and isolated time for a lot of people.  Spread Happyness — send a smile to someone’s mailbox today!

Who do you owe a note or card to?  Don’t tell me…tell them!  😉

Spread Happyness — SEND MAIL!  And share your thoughts in the comments (but only AFTER you put a stamp on it)!

1/19/18 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #174 – Spread Happyness: PLAN AHEAD! (And USE those calendars!)

“2018…at a glance!”

Week #174 – Spread Happyness: PLAN AHEAD! (And USE those calendars!)

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Today is Friday, January 12th — have you unwrapped any one of those cutesy calendars you received over the holidays?

Well here is your annual reminder…because we are almost HALF WAY through the first month of the new year!  

I hope by now you’ve had the chance to process and celebrate the year we just completed — and set some new goals or visions for the new year ahead.  (If not, click back to Week #172 and Week #173 for some ideas about how to do that.)

What next?

What do we do with all those goals, dreams, visions, aspirations, and insight?

Plan them!

There’s a lot of discussion about the virtues of paper calendars versus digital calendars.  Digital calendars have great portability and a low profile — but rarely are they in your face.  A password, and then one, two, maybe three clicks — not to mention competition with all those other apps once you’re unlocked.  They just don’t give you much information at a glance — or much time to really plan ahead.

A paper calendar, hanging on the wall by your bathroom sink or on your refrigerator in the kitchen, may not be all that high tech — but it is certainly high-profile.  It also gives you (and whomever you are sharing it with) time to ponder, compare, contribute, discuss, and yes — even plan ahead!

And many people are boosting their outlook by using FULL-YEAR wall calendars to track all the major events, holidays, appointments, and deadlines that are already set by the time we turn the calendar to January 1st — not to mention their personal goals and commitments.

And that makes sense, because it is well-documented that planning ahead is directly related to happiness.  And not only that — scheduling your goals and commitments increases the chances that you will actually follow through with them.

Why not try it?

There is an old proverb: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.”  (Proverbs 13:13)  Don’t allow your daily or weekly schedule to rob you of the joy of planning ahead!  Start plotting your year today!

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: PLAN AHEAD!  Perhaps someone gave you a cutesy calendar during the holidays — or you grabbed a freebie at your bank or pizza place without really thinking about where or how you’d use it.  I challenge you this week to HANG IT UP!  If you don’t like the pictures, tear out the calendar pages and arrange them in months, quarters — or the entire year at a glance.  Then open your personal daily planners, pull together all those school and activity calendars, queue up Google to search holiday dates — and start plotting your year!

  • Start with the big holidays and three-day weekends, birthdays, and major events (like weddings, graduations, important anniversaries).
  • I also like to mark the solstices/equinoxes, full moons, and time changes.
  • Then move on to some of your goals.  Are you running a marathon?  Writing a book?  Growing a business?  Saving for a house?  Planning a vacation or next year’s holiday travel?  Start plotting your desires on the calendar by asking: where and when will this take place?

Spread Happyness — PLAN AHEAD!  Share your favorite calendar tips — but most important, share your calendars with the ones you love!

1/12/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #173 – Welcome to 2018!!!  (What tracks do you want to make this year?)

“Fresh Snow in OG” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #173 – Welcome to 2018!!!  (What tracks do you want to make this year?)

Happy New Year, Tribe — and Happy First Friday of 2018!!!

As I mentioned last week, I hope you made some time over the holidays to look back at 2017 and CELEBRATE the things that went right.

And, I hope you have a plan in place to keep track of the good stuff that will come your way in the year ahead.  Because we are on our way!

But if not, don’t despair!  I just returned to LA after a ten-day trip back home to New Jersey — and to a calendar that seems stuck on December 24th!

My apartment is still decorated, there are unsent Christmas cards, and a list of yearly review/planning questions still not answered!

But January is a blank slate…like that fresh blanket of snow on the beach in my photo.  And I intend to take time this week to catch up on my end-of-the-year wrap-up and 2018 prep.

If you’re a little behind — or the holidays left you in the dust (or slush as it is for so many of you right now) — join me this week as I lay the first tracks into 2018!

Here’s a recap of some of my favorite tools:

  • YOUR “ONE WORD” — Three or four years ago I ran across a little red book called The ONE WORD That Will Change Your Life.  The gist is this: while contemplating the year ahead — and working through a few questions (in the PDF on the website: — you come up with ONE WORD that encapsulates what you want the year to mean to you.  Then, you make a plan to keep it front and center to live out daily.  What ONE WORD would you like to make your focus for 2018?
  • David Allen (author of Getting Things Done) offers a series of “Year-End Review” questions on his website that prompt you to “complete and remember” the year behind — and “create” the year ahead.  (The link is from a previous year so just modify the years to 2017/2018.)  You can move through this list quickly with first thoughts — or spend lots of time really unpacking things.  What would you like to create for yourself in 2018?
  • Another favorite is the “Clean Sweep Assessment” — a more mathematical measurement of personal satisfaction in four key areas of our lives: physical environment, personal well-being, money, and relationships.  How do you tally up?
  • And, of course, there is always traditional goal-setting — take a dream and use the “SMART” acronym to break it down into: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound action steps.  Just remember to put a little WHY behind your WHAT — and consider an even SMART-ER approach by adding EMOTION and RESULT to the mix by asking WHY?  (“So that I can FEEL…” and “So that I can achieve/accomplish/acquire/arrive at/accept…etc.”)     
  • And for all you compulsive types trying to build a daily habit — check out Jerry Seinfeld’s excuse-busting “Don’t Break the Chain” method!  It’s not just for writers!

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: What tracks to do you want to make in 2018?  If you haven’t done so already, take some time this week to reflect on the year past — and to think about the year ahead.  What are your goals, dreams, aspirations, and visions?  Where do you want to be next year this time?  What is your WHY?

If you have a favorite reflection or goal-setting tool that you use, please share it with me in the comments or via email.  And if there is some way that I can help you set a goal that will Spread Happyness to you or someone you love in 2018, please let me know that too!

“The future lies before you, like a field of fallen snow: be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.”  (Author Unknown)

Spread Happyness — share your dreams, goals, aspirations, or favorite tools in the comments!

1/5/18 by Grace Church
© Grace Church