Happiness Project 2018 – Year in Review

by Cath

Another year is upon us and I enjoy reflecting on everything that happened, kinda of closing the page of the year. For this blog post I’m mainly going to discuss my happiness project but every year for the past 3 years I’ve been following the “Unravel your year” workbook by Susannah Conway to get more in depth of what went well and what could be better the following year. I don’t print the pages, just use the prompts and write in my journal, since it’s a little bit more personal I’m not going to share but highly recommend you to do this.

I look back every year and I’m always amazed how quickly I am to dismiss all my accomplishments, “this year I didn’t do anything” it’s my original thought but once I see it all written down I get surprised, I did accomplish a lot, I shouldn’t be surprised. Why am I so harsh to myself? It’s definitely something I’ve been working on but since it’s something so inraized in me I guess that it’ll be a constant work in progress. And with that said, let’s quickly see how do I feel about my happiness project. I’m going through each category and discuss each one of them, I’ll leave the goals to give a little bit more context but you can read the whole post from the beginning of the year here.

Home/Organize (January)

  • Complete January Cure
  • Organize receipts once a week (continue throughout the year)
  • Don’t put off ironing more than 2 weeks (continue throughout the year)
  • Sell everything that I can in OLX

I didn’t do anything from this list, I didn’t deep clean my home in only one month, I didn’t stop putting off ironing and I still have to figure out a way to organize my receipts. However, one thing I do know that changed this year is that I’ve finally forgiven myself every time the house is a mess because I arrived from work every day of the week late, I don’t beat myself up for it. It’s definitely a positive point since I’m the first one to criticize myself.


  • Date with Daniel once a month
  • Plan 2 trips with my friends
  • Stop waiting for “gold stars” from my family and Daniel

I don’t think we went on a date once a month, especially in the colder months, we don’t like the cold and don’t particularly enjoy going to the shopping. It’s true that we’re homebodies but we had plenty of special days and we went to Sintra for our anniversary (5 years!) and it was very romantic even with the rain trying to ruin it for us.

I made two trips with my friends: one to Madrid and another one to Algarve, both completely different but equally great.

About waiting for “gold stars”, it’s hard and it continues to be hard, there are days that it actually seems simple but other days I don’t even notice it while I’m doing it. I’m trying to be more conscious about it but plenty of work to be done here.


  • Publish that blog post even if it’s not perfect as you wanted it to be
  • Stop telling myself “I’m not good enough to do this” and replace it with a positive affirmation
  • Talk, without being afraid of criticism, of my personal projects and what I think
  • Follow my instincts more, even if it disappoints other people

This is definitely my Achilles’ heel, my irrational fear of speaking what I think, in saying things that perhaps no one really cares about or that everyone has talked about before. My opinion matters I just need to convince my brain of it. I see an improvement, I faced a couple of things this year that I never thought I’d the nerve to so I’m thankful. However, I do know this will be a constant point to improve, until others’ opinions don’t make me doubt my own.


  • Work in something creative at least once a week (knitting, sewing, home projects, etc.)
  • Make homemade soap

This was a very creative year, I did a lot and it did contribute for feeling it was a great year. It has taught me that I really need to make more creative stuff as my job is slowly getting more bureaucratic. I even created a podcast (in Portuguese) to talk a little bit about my creations.
And yes! I did make soap! I just need to write a blog post about it.


  • Take a walk by myself or go to the library in the weekend
  • Take a mini trip by myself
  • Start writing in my journal more frequently (at least once a week)
  • Go the gym 2x a week
  • Read 20 books
  • Don’t buy books until I’ve read all that are in my shelves

This year was really working more in myself, being grateful for what I have (I feel a little bit ungrateful at times) and I’m not ready to share in the blog just yet but I’ve been making lots of changes that have made me accept myself more. Thank you 2018 for this! It was what I needed. I went for a walk whenever I felt anxious, breathe in some air, remove energy from my brain. I wrote in my journal whenever I needed, maybe not once a week but I find that writing everything in a piece of paper helps me a lot.

I didn’t do a mini trip by myself, maybe for 2019, I didn’t priotize much this goal.

While I haven’t read 20 books this year, perhaps because I gave more importance to crafts this year, I was able to resist in buying books. It’s incredible that even though I find myself a saver I cannot resist buying books, I talked a little bit about it here. I do want to continue this challenge since I’ve so many books to read at home, but maybe perhaps not as strictly, I want to have the possibility to buy a book written by someone I admire and want to support without having this restriction “don’t buy any books”

Going to the gym twice a week it’s one of the resolutions that I accomplished and I’m proud to say that I failed only a few times (I’d say about 7 times, 7 out of 52, isn’t it amazing) and always with a valid reason, never out of laziness. Putting the goal of only going twice a week was the best decision I made. I’ll discuss further in a separate blog post but it reached the point where I couldn’t fail because I made it this far.

Get outside my comfort zone

  • Go to a meetup of a theme that interests me even if I find it intimidating. Ideas: Porto International Book Club, Tricotadeiras do Porto…
  • Share my “Hapiness Project” in the facebook group and in the blog

I went to knitting meetups and really liked it, I actually went twice to one that is in Ovelha Negra, I’m super happy to have done this.

Self-knowledge (October)

  • Reevaluate my values – at work and in life. Figure out if I’m living my life in accordance with these values

I didn’t do this in October, although I do feel like I spent the entire year trying to know myself more, understand what I need to have my inner peace, how to live my life according to my values and believe in my instincts. I’m just repeating myself here I guess, all the categories are too interlinked with one another.

Personal Projects

  • Write at least once a week in the blog
  • Continue to find traditional stores that sell in bulk
  • Whenever I get a new idea, write everything about it that comes through my mind so the idea doesn’t consume me if I don’t have time (or reason) to work on it
  • Sell all my cross stitch products that I made for my Etsy shop years ago

I created “Em Segunda Mão”, a similar project to “A Granel”, a way to find stores in Portugal that sell second hand and buying used it’s something I truly believe in and it’s one of the things I want to talk about more here in the blog.

I didn’t write as much as I wanted to do in the blog neither did I sell anything on Etsy, I did put them for sale but I didn’t really try to sell them, I didn’t work hard on it and didn’t market anything so it’s self-explanatory why I didn’t have any sales. It was not the right time, it’s okay.

And that’s it! Thank you for staying with me.

For anyone that’s curious to know about how the happiness project went for other people, listen to the 70th episode of Officinalis (in Portuguese) where Claúdia interviews 3 people about their year with this project. It’s very interesting.

And with that, I’ll leave you guys for today, I’ve been in the kitchen since the beggining of the morning prepping everything for New Year’s Eve. I’ll put now the bread in the oven and once it’s cooked leave to celebrate. I wish you a great beginning of 2019!

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