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Welcome to a brand new decade, fellow adventurers! I know everyone and their mother has high hopes for 2020. How do I know? Just go on Instagram and see all the gorgeous “my life is blessed” photography.
Despite the noise, I still wanted to add my voice to the internet crowd. Why not?
Furthermore, I also felt that the new year was a great time to share some vulnerabilities on this website.
Personally, I feel a lot of my writing is rather “glossy” and strictly “factual,” so I want to add a healthy dose of realism to my words and talk about a couple ways I strive to be a happier person in 2020 and beyond.
13 Ways to be a Happier Person this Decade
I want to make myself and my happiness priorities in 2020. And the good news is that I’ve made progress in this overarching goal.
To elaborate, I’ve recently started putting myself first, probably in the last six months or so, but it took me way too long to see my own happiness as important.
I know part of my reluctance to prioritize myself has to do with societal expectations. As women, we’re pressured to put others first, because otherwise, we’re selfish shrews. Um. Not cool.
However, I think I bought into that idea a little bit, even though it’s wrong. To be brutally honest and transparent, the sad reason I haven’t been all that great to myself was because of some awful dating experiences, which kicked my confidence into the ground.
No more in 2020! Let’s talk about how to be a happier person in detail!
Crush My Fear of Flying Forever
Managing my fear of flying will open the world to me. Is the world already my oyster? Absolutely. I’m young and healthy and (generally) can afford to buy plane tickets. Undoubtably, I have a lot more opportunities than many other women my age in the world. I’m fortunate.
However, mustering the courage to go to the airport and board a plane is always a production. I hate flying. It scares me. Turbulence makes me sweat buckets. And I just hate it.
But, even though I’m scared, I need to cope better with boarding a plane and dealing with uncertainty in the air. What’s the other option? I stay home. And there’s no fun in staying home all the time.
Honestly, I know tackling this phobia won’t be as easy as looking up some reassuring statistics. So I want to try some anxiety management techniques to make my flying fear less severe in the future.
I realize that the problem isn’t the plane itself. The plane is safe. Turbulence is safe. The problem is my anxiety, and at least, my emotions are somewhat within my control. Here’s to less flying stress in 2020.
Adapt Healthier Eating & Fitness Habits
I promise to strive for health in 2020. And, uh, not break that important promise to myself ever again.
As some of you might remember, I fell in love with healthy eating and fitness awhile ago, but sadly, struggles in my personal life caused me to binge eat, not sleep right, and ignore exercise. Time to change that mindset.
I’m focusing on eating non-processed foods every day. Lean protein, vegetables, fruits, all the works and trimmings. I’ve also decided not to worry about the money that I spend on food. Food goes into my body. It’s worth spending a few extra dollars to make sure I’m receiving the high quality nourishment that I deserve.
Fitness is another big goal for me. Staying active will definitely make me a happier person. Even if I don’t look like a supermodel, I firmly believe having more physical strength will increase my confidence and keep me healthy.
Nourish Relationships with Friends & Family
Family and friends will be especially important to me in 2020. These people are my world. No exaggeration.
And okay, those relationships should always be important, but I want to make everyone in these circles a priority in the new year and beyond.
I want to spend quality time with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, grandmoms, cousins, and more. I am very lucky to have a supportive family who stands by me in difficult times with very little judgement.
In addition, I’m opening my heart to more friendships in 2020. Of course I’ll still maintain the great friendships that I have with several amazing women. Having an abundance of friends never fails to bring a smile to my face.
And when I feel lonely? I’ll call a friend! Not an ex, haha. Which leads me to my next point …
Not Tolerating Bad Behavior in Dating
Honestly, dating has been so stressful for me that I’m on a complete hiatus. And, as a result, my life is the most peaceful it’s been since I moved back in 2016.
I adopted way too many lousy mindsets when I started dating. I received advice that was toxic and terrible. Need examples?
Don’t be too available, don’t be too nice, don’t act like a girlfriend without commitment, don’t be *gasp* needy, don’t give him a reason to call you “crazy” to his friends. And of course, all this (rather vague) advice puts blame squarely on the woman’s shoulders if the man decides to do some shady nonsense like ghosting or cheating.
Nah. No more of that.
I’m at a point where I refuse to take blame for someone else’s inability to act like a decent person. My only mistake was not walking away fast enough when their red flags started to wave.
Right now I picture my life as a happy cocoon with wonderful friends and family, as well as a fantastic teaching career, a successful blog, and other enriching hobbies. And I’m not going to let some guy on an app, with his ex baggage or non-committal mindset, come in and make me feel bad about myself. Like, no. No one has the right to do that, especially not some dude on Bumble.
I promise I’m not saying “screw dating” or “screw men.” If someone sees me in the same amazing light that I view myself, then awesome. I’d love a partner. But until that day happens, I’m not settling for crumbs. I deserve better.
And if my heart is broken again? I’ll use the pain as an excuse to book another solo trip to help cure my break up, haha! Win/win.
Actively Read More Books
I originally started this blog as a literary travel site, and while the mission may have shifted, I still value the power of the written word. Hey, I have a Master’s Degree in English Literature. Of course I adore books!
However, sometimes I’m too busy or distracted to read, and I want to change that in the future, because just the mere act of reading brings me a deep sense of peace and calm. It’s almost like meditation for me.
Furthermore, I’m keeping an open mind about audiobooks. This year, I renewed my Audible account and scored some free audiobooks in the hopes of listening to some classics that I’d be too intimidated to sit down and read.
I highly recommend Audible if you want to read more books in 2020. Listening to a great story is an ideal way to pass the morning commute.
Keep a Cool Head in Traffic Jams
Not gonna lie, I feel easily frustrated driving, especially in the NYC metro area. Roads are jammed pack, and tempers run high.
I’m lucky that I love my teaching job including my co-workers and students. The hardest part for me? Morning rush hour traffic. I highly doubt I’m alone feeling this way either.
In 2020, I’m trying to chill out on New Jersey’s packed highways. If someone rides my bumper or speeds around me or cuts into the merge lane, their aggression has absolutely nothing to do with me and more to do with the fact that they didn’t leave home on time.
Or they’re just bad drivers and really need to return to 10th grade driver’s education.
Either way, their frustrations are not my problem. Best to ignore them, and lay off the horn. The sound isn’t particularly intimidating anyway.
Toss the “Compare Game” Right in the Garbage
Slowly but surely, I’m caring less about comparing myself to other people. What’s the point? Comparing myself has never led to any improvement. It just makes me feel bad.
I’ll be honest. Back in the day, I would always cringe on social media at my circle’s accomplishments and even hide facebook announcements – especially proposals. I must’ve blocked at least 20 proposal announcements over the years. Sorry about that, guys.
Now I realize that I’m finding my own way in the world. As I strive to be a happier person, I’m realizing that I care less and less about what everyone else is doing. By keeping busy, I don’t compare myself on social media.
Life is not a race. Circumstances change at the blink of an eye. Someone’s happiness on social media could very well be a facade, but even if it isn’t, who cares? It’s not a reflection of me. My future is no better or worse than anyone else’s. So why bother thinking about them?
Confidently Promote My Blog & Business
In May, this little travel blog will turn 5 years old. Isn’t that insane or what?
Over the years, this blog has transformed into way more than a place to talk about my travels. My writing has led to me to conferences, allowed me to make new incredible friends, and build confidence in the face of some pretty serious challenges. I don’t know where I would be if I had never started this site.
This year I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and promote my blog as a real business that provides a valuable return on investment.
For example, I am attending Travmedia’s International Media Marketplace to connect with tourism and brands. I’m looking forward to collaborating with destinations to promote great trips to my readers, as well as anyone who happens to stumble across this blog.
I will also be attending Women’s Travel Fest for the 3rd time in March. I want to use this chance to connect with other female content creators and come up with ideas for collaborations. Super excited!
And who knows, I’m even considering branching into podcasting or YouTube in the coming year. Stay tuned!
As a shameless plug, be sure to read my free eBook on blogging if you wanna create your own business this year!
Attend Shows & Events – With or Without Others
Experiences are always worth the money, in my opinion. Im 2019. I re-embraced my inner theater nerd and started going to shows whenever I had a free moment on weekends.
And, if you want to go to a show and no one wants to tag along, then go alone and have fun! I’ve skipped way too many concerts and shows, because I was too scared to go alone.
After going to Carole King The Musical and Scotland PA all alone, I realized that no one watching or judging me for daring to step into a theater all by myself. I mean, come on. I saw plenty of other people in the theater seeing the show alone. No one cares. It is okay. And I loved both shows a lot!
I’ll gladly go to even more shows alone to be a happier person in 2020!
Travel More (Duh)
Traveling lights up my soul. And, unsurprisingly, I want to keep traveling in years to come.
I may not be able to go off to Europe for seven weeks at the moment, but I still want to save money and see the world whenever possible. Traveling is non-negotiable for me.
Not to mention, I’m finally fine with revisiting old favorites rather than constantly checking new countries off my list. Why not go to the same places that make me happy?
I also want to do more day trips when I can’t travel long term. I’m lucky to live in an area where there are so many amazing things to see and do. For example, I spent a weekend in Sleepy Hollow in October, and had a chance to embrace spooky season at the Great Jack o’ Lantern Blaze.
Traveling helps to supercharge your confidence, so it’s always great to add more travel in your life!
Keep My Apartment Decluttered & Safe
Okay, confession time. I’m horrible about cleaning.
Since I’m the only person who puts up with my uncleanliness, I don’t feel the urge to do chores to keep the apartment sparkling. My bad, I guess.
In 2020, I’m forcing myself to clean at least once a week. I want to live in a space where I don’t feel depressed and overwhelmed. I deserve to live in a home that looks nice even if I’m the only person to enjoy it.
My comfort matters.
Get More Sleep
I need to sleep more. And, ugh, honestly, I don’t like it either when people brag about how little sleep they got the previous night. It’s not quirky, it’s not cute, and it’s not healthy. I’m not impressed by exhaustion.
I’m strictly going to bed at 10 pm. on week days. No “ands” “ifs” or “buts.” A lot of working adults have different schedules than me. And that’s okay. However, I’m not sacrificing my own rest for anyone else.
Sleeping more should also give me way more energy to be active. Remember what I said about living a healthier lifestyle? Sleep is an essential part of that.
And let’s be real. Sleeping puts you in a much better mood. To be a happier person, I need the sleep. Period.
Live Mindfully & in the Moment
Last but not least, one of the ways I want to be a happier person in 2020 is for me to embrace the moment.
I talk a lot about travel and anxiety on this blog in the hopes of helping other people break their limitations and see the world on their terms. I want to apply this courageous mindset to my daily life, not just when I’m traveling in a new country or city.
At the end of the day, instead of worrying about future hypothetical situations, I want to live for the present. It’s the only “true” reality.
Mindfulness will inspire me to be a happier person in 2020.
How do you plan to be a happier person in the next decade? What are some things you do to keep yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy? Share all your thoughts in the comments.