Better living through stickers

Last winter, my friend and colleague Mallory proposed a brilliant replacement for those tired old New Year’s resolutions.

“What if,” she said, “we created a Wellness Challenge? Anyone who wants to participate would choose an activity that will boost their own wellbeing. Maybe they’ll do this thing every day for a month, maybe once a week, heck, maybe only once. Whatever. It’s completely up to each person.

Our colleagues jumped all over it. We printed up calendars for the month of January on bright yellow paper so they’d be easy to find on our desks. Discussions about possible activities rang through hallways and office doors.

“I’m going to try to eat a vegetarian meal once a week,” said a previously committed carnivore.

“I’m going to walk to work three times a week.”

“Less TV, more books.”

My personal challenge was to identify something to look forward to every single day. It might be a spin class at lunchtime or a movie that I’d been wanting to see or a coffee date with a friend…. These weren’t necessarily new things, but mindfully looking forward to them was new. And if there wasn’t such an activity already in the works, I had to think of one. Picking up my current stitching project after dinner, cracking that new library book, researching slogans for my sign for the Women’s March….

It was a welcome and happy point in my day and it was easy to keep up with that cheery yellow calendar to remind me. But in February, well, you know how these things go: After a while I forgot about it a bit. A day or two would go by without my noticing what I was looking forward to. Then a week.

So a few months ago, I started again. Instead of a bright yellow calendar with inky ticks, now I mark my wellbeing successes with one of the bright little stickers that came with my day planner. They make it easy it to see when I’ve done something fun or health and that in itself gives me a little jumpstart of pleasure to go along with the wellbeing boost from the activity.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to decide whether to celebrate my gym workout with the adorable orange sailboat sticker or the sweet blue smiley face.

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