10 Ways to Make 2016 a Happy Year


Happy New Year, Happy January, Happy Tuesday, you guys!

As the new year has started, I’m sure at least a handful of us have made a short (or long) list of resolutions. This year, I cut myself a little slack, and decided to stick with one resolution: Do things that make me happy. 

I know, it’s a little cheesy, but there’s actually a lot to it. I had to sit down (with myself) and truly think: What actually makes me happy? The little things, the non-career things, the things that people don’t know that make me happy, and most importantly: Something not music related (for once, in my life).

Don’t get me wrong, playing music is my passion and I love it with all of me, but I realized I needed more. So, without further ado, here are my 10 ways to make 2016 a year that makes me happy, and maybe they’ll make you happy too!

Sidebar: All of these things are totally applicable to both women AND men. So, boys, know that you can do all these things too!

1. Make your planner a priority

I’ve seen a lot of people add this to their list of resolutions, and blog posts like this- but all of them simply say “Get a new planner”. I’m taking it a step further, and encouraging you guys to pull out the planners I know you all got for Christmas, or got for yourself, and literally write down everything. Get a couple nice pens, high lighters, and make it REALLY good. I have this kind of planner, and I love it. It has a full calendar for each month, but then full days written out on each page by the hour. So, don’t just get a planner, but make it a consistent priority, and remember to set up things to write in your planner! Make a couple play dates with your friends, and write it in- if you have class the same time every Tues/Thurs, literally write it in for each of those days. There’s something weirdly satisfying about an organized/full planner. Make sure you stick with it!

2. Get up earlier

Now, I’m not saying that you have to wake up at 5:30am (like I do most of the time). But, try getting up an hour earlier than you normally do- and when I say “get” up, I mean get out of bed and get moving.

3. Allow the first 30 minutes of your day to be electronic free

I know that it might sound a little crazy, and will take all your willpower. But when your alarm goes off (which I’m assuming is on your phone), turn it off, and then put your phone DOWN. I’m notorious for waking up, and lying in bed on my phone for an hour in the morning, and it not only wastes the morning- but is so draining. We’re already glued to our phones throughout the day. This is what I’m doing this year:

  • I leave a glass of water right next to my bed, and drink it right after I wake up in the morning. When you’re getting out of a deep sleep your body is really dehydrated and craves fluid, it’s one of the reasons your mouth is a little dry when you wake up in the morning! So, drink up!
  • After that, I pull out my devotionals (yes plural)(I have Jesus Calling and Savor), and read whatever day devotional I’m supposed to, reflect a little, and then hang out with Jesus for a bit. I journal a little, write what I’m worried about, excited for, or anything at all, and then I try and sit and listen for a minute or two. If you’re a believer or want to believe, doing this every morning is the most cleansing/comforting thing I’ve ever done. Being still is something I’m not very good at, but I try to do it every morning in this moment.
  • Make a little mental (or physical) to-do list, in an order (ex: Shower, Start laundry, put up dishes, get ready, go to school). It can just be a morning to-do list, or an all day one!
  • THEN I get out of bed, stretch. Simply stretching your arms up to the ceiling, and then slowly letting them fall and reaching for your toes is good.
  • Then you can get that phone. But, don’t stay for too long! DON’T WASTE THE DAY!

4. Bi-Weekly lunch dates

Something that I feel has gone unappreciated for too long, is the meal LUNCH. This was literally brought to my attention last night when I heard it used as a verb.

“..we tried to lunch last week but it fell through.”

I looked to my roommate, and we had the same idea: Bi-weekly lunch dates! Being a poor college student, I found that going out twice a month for a little lunch with friends is reasonable and worth the occasional $15.

It could be with your same group of friends every other week, or it could be with someone new each time. Try places you’ve never been to. Go a little out of your town, and find a place with good sandwiches. Getting to eat is nice, but having an established date to catch up with friends and share a meal with intentional conversation is even better.

5. Take care of your skin

This one is so easy, and we all need to stop being lazy. Start washing and moisturizing twice a day: make-up wipes DO NOT COUNT. Once in the morning, and once at night before bed. I know the feeling of being exhausted, in bed, and realizing that I haven’t washed my face. But, trust me, the feeling of a fresh face when you’re laying feels so much better- and it literally takes a minute. To make it even easier, you wash it in the shower for morning or night (or both, if you’re a two-showers-a-day kinda person). I use this cleanser (since I have oily skin). Also remember to be moisturizing, have two different ones- one for the morning and one for night. (Those are the two I use)

6. Explore

Try and make this a habit. Find a time once a month or every other month to get a group of friends together and go somewhere outside your city. It can be 10 minutes away or 10 hours- whatever you want! I have it easy, and have beaches and mountains around me (within a 45 minute-2 hour radius), and if you aren’t as lucky as I am- that means you have to try that much harder! Make a weekend trip with some friends to drive somewhere 5 hours away and camp. Split a two bedroom hotel room with 6 people and see how that turns out- just do something.

7. Pick up an old (or new!) hobby

It’s so easy to get caught up in school and careers that it eventually becomes everything about us. We forget about the things we used to do when we had the time, the resources, and the energy, and eventually we honestly forget about our hobbies.  Think back to the things that you would do in high school, or even middle school.

Here’s a weird example that not a lot of people know about me: I used to ride horses! From 10-14, I had a horse named Sadie, and later had two more horses, Rocket & Lady. I loved horses, and loved to ride for the longest time, and I even started to jump with Rocket. However, just as I started to get a little more serious about jumping, I was thrown off my horse, and I just stopped riding all together. (Your parents are supposed to tell you to get back on the horse, but my mom loved me and told me I did NOT have to get back on the horse). I realized this past week how much I missed it, and today I’m going to a stable in Los Angeles to set up my first lesson back in the saddle!

So, think back to what you used to do in your spare time for fun; whether it was in elementary school, high school, college- whatever, think. Painting? Grab a couple canvases, acrylic paint, and find an hour to just do it. Writing? Write your own memoir. Baseball? Find a batting cage, and find a time to go once a week, and just hit for an hour.

Don’t ever think it’s to late (or that you’re too old) to go back to something you used to love. This is important to do, because it’s something that you’re doing solely for yourself.

8. Learn a new skill

It doesn’t have to be an entire language, or how to foxtrot like the people on Dancing with The Stars. But put just ONE thing on yourself to learn this year, and do it. It could be an instrument, it could be being kind of fluent in French, how to sauté (which is apparently easy, but idk how to do it. Erin, my roommate does, so it’s fine), how to cook something really amazing, how to watercolor- anything. Just challenge yourself a little. Growth it good, and you might fall in love with something. This year, I want to learn how to play the mandolin!

9. Actively love 

Actively loving someone is something that doesn’t rest. It’s all about intentionality. Like, calling a friend every week, and listening intently to their worries and celebrations. It’s trying to give at least once person a genuine compliment every day. It’s holding the door, remembering to ask your server how they are doing, and throwing grace to everyone like confetti. Loving people well doesn’t just fill them, but fills you too. Start by making it a point to call a good friend once a week, and listening to them. Go out of your way for your people, the gesture is almost always returned.

10. Look for the light

Now, 2016 will be filled with wonderful things, and I’m sure of that- but it’s a given that some days won’t be so great. You will be late to work, you’ll get into fights with people you love, you’ll lose the big game, and sometimes it’s going to rain; do your best to look for the light in even the darkest of situations.

You’re late? Enjoy the drive.

Fight? Remember why you love them.

Lost? This means, less TV watching, more being present.

Rain? That means it’s a cozy day inside. Or play in the rain. I prefer the latter.



I know this was a lot, but I hope you guys liked it! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be going to another stable to look at the facilities and see if it’s for me!

I love you guys. Call someone you appreciate today.



Current Obsessions:

Bruschetta: Okay, this is new to me, and might not be new to you- but I’m obsessed. My roommate made some for dinner last week, and I’m so obsessed. All this is, is basically tomatoes, basil, salt, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan. Then you put it on bread, and you eat it. Delicious.

Stitchfix : It’s an online stylist! Basically, every month, every other month, or every six months, your personal stylist will send you a little box of quality clothes that fit you perfectly! I get a box sent to me every other month, and it’s a fun little “Treat myself” thing that I do.

VS Sleep Shirt: I just got this little sleep shirt for Christmas, and I am OBSESSED. It’s super soft and lightweight, and totally worth it. I used to sleep in sorority t-shirts which was fine, but having real pajamas has made me feel like I have my life a little more together.

Smashbox Matte Lipstick: Okay, this is one of the best and most affordable, high(ish)-end matte lipsticks that I have found, and it’s great! I wore it “Burgundy” on New Year’s Eve, and it lasted all night long! I’m obsessed, and the little tube-y thing is cool too.


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