40Gal Bucket List

A list of life's 'to-do's' before turning 50 … our journey of gettin' stuff done

Archive for the tag “Happiness Project”

Happiness Project: February Review

February has ended and it time to review how I did with Month 2 of My Happiness Project. Let’s see:

  1. Say Hello & Goodbye with the 6 sec Hug: Our daily hello and goodbye always included us standing together where we hugged and kissed.  It made these  moments very special and after only a few days this challenge because a habit – I think because it made me feel so good. This new habit has made a difference and even set a positive, happy tone for the day for me and in the evening for both of us.
  2. Share Gratitude: I have really enjoyed this challenge and have enjoyed even more reading back on what about my husband and marriage I am grateful for.  From entries such as “the way he holds my hand”, to “I love his bald head” make me smile.  I will continue this  so every time my husband does something small or big that makes him light up even more in my eyes, I will document it.  By focusing on what he does      that makes me grateful versus what he does to really tick me off has really made me happier.
  3. No TV in the Bedroom: This one was a little more difficult since we often have dates in bed watching      movies or our favorite TV shows.  So admittedly the TV did stay on a few times, but for the most part, it was off  ;-).
  4. Walk and Fall in Love: This past month we have been out and about a lot more often and was able to “walk and talk” and really enjoy ourselves, and we did walk about our neighborhood a few times which was nice. I think once Spring truly  springs well continue walking and chatting and connecting.
  5. Be Present: I believe I was much better as putting away the phone and being present when my husband  and I were together but it was tough. Often I put my phone away out of reach, but I did find myself a few times (maybe a few times too many) announcing when I was jumping on the phone as if I was asking permission – and I’m not sure if I was seeking permission from my husband or myself.  I think this will continue to be a challenge, but I will continue to work on being present.

Overall, I think my February focus on Love and Marriage really benefitted me and our marriage, and I can honestly say I am happy in my marriage.  There is an old saying: “Happy Wife = Happy Life” but it’s always the husband saying it which puts the burden on him.  I challenge all wives to take control of their own happiness.  It will benefit you, your husband and your marriage.



February: Love & Marriage

love and marriage

With Valentine’s Day 2 weeks away, February is the perfect month to focus on love and marriage.  I feel very lucky and blessed as my marriage is strong and healthy, but of course, like all couples, we have our challenges.  And after 2 ½ years of marriage, we are drawing near to the time when we could start taking each other for granted.  I don’t think we are there just yet and I hope this month’s Happiness Project of focusing on Love & Marriage will help us maintain our strong bond.

So this month I have decided to focus on 5 Daily Goals:

  1. Say Hello & Goodbye with the 6 sec Hug: This one is so simple and from what I read it can really make a difference in any relationship. My husband is the love of my life and I am genuinely happy when he gets home and a little sad when he leaves, so why don’t I greet him and send him off to tackle his day with a big hug and kiss to let him know how I feel?  It would make him feel happy, and I bet it will make me feel happy too.  Oh and the 6 sec hug?  “It’s the minimum time necessary to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin, mood-boosting chemicals that promote bonding.” This I learned from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
  2. Share Gratitude: Remembering daily what you are grateful for is definitly a key to happiness.  I have started my very own Gratitude journal/app so I can remind myself of the sunsets, snow days and kind strangers that made my day special, but what about reminding myself daily what I am grateful for in my marriage? What impact would this have my relationship and on my happiness?
  3. No TV in the Bedroom: TV in the bedroom means no intimacy. TV must be turned off.
  4. Walk and Fall in Love:  When my husband and I were ‘courting’ we would walk and talk for hours, it was during these walks that I fell in love with my him.  That is how we got to really know each other and I really enjoyed that one-on-one time; I know he enjoyed it too. Long walks to nowhere is a bit more difficult now in Austin rather than back in NYC, but we do have a neighborhood behind us that we can stroll in the evenings   at least once a week.  I hope my husband is up for the walk!
  5. Be Present:  I learned from reading The Happiness Project that men and women view intimacy differently.  “Women’s idea of an intimate moment is a face-to-face conversation, while men feel close when they work or play sitting alongside someone.” Hummm, well this could explains why my husband will often give me a look, or ask if something is wrong when I am on my phone at the same time we are watching a TV show together. He views this time together as intimacy, where I feel like it is just watching TV.  Ah!Ha! So when we sit together and watch Ghost Adventures or The Daily Show this is quality time.  I need to respect these moments, put the phone away and be present.

I am ready for February to focus on my marriage and my husband.  Let the lovin’ begin!

Happiness Project: January Review

January is coming to a close and it’s time for me to recap how I did with Month 1 of My Happiness Project.  Let’s see:

  1. Set the Day’s Schedule Daily: I think this particular goal was achieved due to a tiny little app I found while searching on iTunes: Any.Do. This app made my daily checklist easy to write, read, and check off!  And any recurring ‘to-do’s are already set on my calendar!  What a great find!


  1. Move Move Move!: I started going back to my favorite form of exercise: spin class and committed to 10,000 steps a day.  I am proud to say that I have been to spin class enough times that my special area no longer hurts and I did 10,000 step every day in the month of January except once while I was at a convention – by the time I realized that I did not meet my goal it was already passed midnight :-(  Oh well. But I walked 10,000 steps every other day of the month! Also, I found another handy app to help motivate me to move:  GymPact.  The way GymPact works is you set your goal and give it a dollar amount that you promise to pay if you don’t meet that goal.  At the week’s end, if you met your goal you pay nothing into the pot, but others on the app that did not meet their goal will have to pay. That money is then divvied up to all of the app users that accomplished their goal. I committed to working out 3 days a week and I did it every week this month! Money really does motivate! Try it out!


  1. Turn off the TV: I have been much better with this, but I still think there is improvement.  Over this last month I have turned the TV off after the Today Show and until I am done working, but then it is back on.  I think once it’s not 20 degrees out, maybe it won’t be as tempting, but for now, I’m enjoying re-runs of Friends on TBS.
  2. Don’t put off tomorrow what I can check off my ‘To-do’ list today: I did this … for the most part.  I mean, there are some items that I can just do tomorrow.  Ok, Ok, need to continue to work on this one.
  3. Clean my space: Clear my mind: I’ve been pretty good at this, but once my routine changes (like traveling for 2 weeks) I tend to get off track and need a few days to get back. Like today.  I still have a suitcase to unpack.  Damn, Ok need to work on this one too!

So my challenge of focusing on managing my time better and getting my energy back up is complete, but these action items will have to continue or really what’s the point? I do think it was helpful to have these typical New Year’s Resolutions disguised as a Happiness Project, because it felt less like I was trying to change something and more like I was trying to gain something – more happiness.  So did it work?  Well, while I may not have completed each task to the level I consider a success, I am proud of myself for trying and not quitting, and even now sharing this with you.  So that in itself has made me happier. Check!


Happiness at Home

One of the reasons I decided to do my very own Happiness Project was because the author, Gretchen Rubin was coming to Austin to talk about her new book Happiness at Home. So last night, I finally got to see the brains behind the mission at Book People here in Austin, TX.

I had never been to one of those bookstore events before, probably because I am not much of a reader. I wish I was, I want to be, but I’m not, and after “reading” aka listening to The Happiness Project on my iphone while commuting to and from work when I was in NYC, I embraced one of Gretchen’s Secrets of Adulthood: What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa (and I will add) and that is OK. I just don’t like to read; it’s not fun for me. I like to skim through books, I like to own books, especially pretty ones, and to be clear I have read many books, I just don’t like it. I like to write, I like to watch, I like to talk, but reading, well, it puts me to sleep, and I like to sleep. So, knowing that famous author or picking up that NYT bestseller is just not me; therefore, neither has been listening to authors speak at bookstores, until now.


Book People was packed with happiness hopefuls.  We got there only minutes before Gretchen Rubin came out.  She finally appeared and started chatting up.  She spoke an hour on happiness and gave some interesting tidbits on what she has learned through her studies, many of which are in her book.  She then answered questions ranging from personal (“Do your daughters read as much as you?”) to happiness specific (“How do I get my significant other’s buy-in to my Happiness Project?”) from the audience. What was clear is that everyone there was seeking the secret to happiness from the author.  Even I was curious and hopeful that she would have some magic words that would up my happiness meter.  And maybe she did, or maybe just the act of showing up, meeting friends, and opening my mind to new ways of approaching life put a smile on my face.  Either way, I left feeling … happy.

My 15 Commandments

imagesCAQTP4YEI have really enjoyed planning my Happiness Project.  It hasn’t been easy, but it has been fun.  My favorite part of the planning stage of this project was to define my personal commandments as suggested in the book, The Happiness Project.  These commandments are your personal principles that you define to help guide you through your project and through your life.  This was both challenging and rewarding to define, but in the end I think I came up with the perfect list for me.

My 15 Commandments:

  1. Be Tricia.
  2. No regrets. Look forward.
  3. Act the way I want to feel.
  4. Do it now.
  5. Be polite, be kind and be fair.
  6. Enjoy the journey.
  7. Be curious. Keep learning.
  8. Respect myself.
  9. Gratitude is everything.
  10. Less is more.
  11. Accept & expect abundance.
  12. There is only love.
  13. Be here. Be now. Be mindful.
  14. Share the wealth.
  15. Connect with nature.

So what are your personal commandments?

My Happiness Project

happiness project

The more I researched The Happiness Project, the more I realized I am already in the middle of my very own Happiness Project: My 40Gal Bucket List.   To me, they are very similar:  create a focus, work towards a goal, and joy follows.  The biggest difference is that The Happiness Project focuses on various areas of your life (home, marriage, money) and then create measurable action items to accomplish with the hopes that they will become a habit, where as a Bucket List is just that, a list of ‘to-do’s’ which will often be checked off never to re-visit again.  Both ‘projects’ I think are very beneficial. Obviously the Bucket List is something I cherish and it has brought me happiness, but what about the other ‘stuff’ I should to work on? Like home, marriage, money? With this said, I decided to embark on a yearlong Happiness Project to focus on various areas of my life.  As I begin to map out the year I can already see how My 40Gal Bucket List could easily be integrated into this monthly project; however, I believe The Happiness Project will bring new challenges that will enriched my life and bring me more happiness.

So we begin.  Below is the list of each month’s focus or theme for 2014.  I will not dig deep into each now, but will decide the nitty-gritty when I am approaching that month. Each month’s focus will have various measurable goals which I will work on daily to meet.  I have and will continue to use the books:  The Happiness Project and Happier in the Home by Gretchen Rubin, as well as her blog: http://gretchenrubin.com/ to guide me through the process.  I am excited about where My Happiness Project will lead me … let the journey begin!

  • January: Time & Energy
  • February: Love & Marriage
  • March: Work & Passion
  • April:  Play & Leisure
  • May:  Family Near & Far
  • June:  Spirituality & Eternity
  • July:  Friends & Friendship
  • August:  Self Design
  • September:  Home & Neighborhood
  • October:  Money & Possessions
  • November:  Thanks & Gratitude
  • December:  Balance

Happy New Year!


I have decided New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday, my favorite time of the year. There is something so fresh, so promising, so exciting about January 1. I just love that hopeful feeling.

I always prep for the big day; the week before I clean and organize to feel ‘ready’ for that special day of January 1. The week after (like today) I scramble to get everything moving according to plan. Some years it works out smoothly, other years, not so much. This year, I started over a week early cleaning out closets, throwing away old … everything, and planning what my focus of 2014 would be. “Focus” meaning my New Year’s Resolutions. Yes, I’m that person, one who writes down a list of things I want to “resolve”. Over the years I have kept some resolutions, but, of course, many are forgotten or ignored by mid-January. In 2001, I made the resolution to not eat French fries and I didn’t eat French fries for the entire year. The next year I gave up potatoes altogether. It was my thing. This resolution created a new habit, a healthier habit, but that fell to the wayside in 2010 when we went to Paris. Once I opened the flood gates for ‘les pommes frites’, it hard to close them back. Potatoes have been a part of my diet since.

This year I am trying a different tactic with my resolutions. I am sharing them. Not just with my best friend, but with all my friends, including you. I have decided to post my list. That way you can hold me accountable.

So the list:

  • Use the Lose It! App every day – yep instead of a wt loss goal, I am committing to using this app.
  • Cook/Plan dinner 7 days a week – no more ordering pizza because we have nothing to eat!
  • No French Fries (pot/sweet pot) – Let’s just do this again, shall we?
  • No coke/soda for the year – Did this before, can do it again.
  • Throwback/Flashback Thursday on FB: Why? I have been researching my ancestry and I should be sharing what I have found, and well, it will also force me to start scanning old photos
  • Check 12 items off Bucket List – I only have 365 weeks left until I turn 50 – I need to get some of my fun stuff checked off!
  • Blog 1/wk – Yes, you will see me more often!
  • 1/month new Austin Restaurant – Resolutions should also be FUN!
  • Happiness Project – I am committing to the yearlong Happiness Project – want to join me?
  • 10,000 steps/day – Need to get walking again – In Austin it doesn’t come as easy as in NYC.

As you can see, I have committed to blogging 1/wk and to tackle at least 12 items on my Bucket List. So I should be here way more often than I have been, which I hope you find exciting ;-). I have also added a project, The Happiness Project. This is something I have always wanted to do and I think it is a good time to start. I will be blogging about that as well 

I have now stated to the world my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions. I believe it is a simple, achievable and even fun list, so there shouldn’t be any excuses. I’m getting that overwhelming feeling of hope again, ahh … feels so good! 2014 will be an amazing year!

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