18 for 2018

Today is the Summer Solstice, which for those who (like me, up until 10 minutes ago) don’t know what this is, Neil DeGrasse Tyson has kindly tweeted an explanation:

My 10-minute research (OK, 2-minute research) has indicated that the summer solstice is an opportunity to reflect on the year to date (OK fine, I’m using the word ‘research’ loosely – I saw an Instagram post and googled it, but I’m attempting to cultivate a space for non-judgement here!) So, to that end, here is my list of 18 for 2018, inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin.  My 18 for 2018 is the list of 18 things I would like to accomplish this year which have the sole objective of bringing me joy and happiness. I created this list around February time, and I will continue to update this list throughout the year as I manage to check things off!

18 FOR 2018

  1. Take a relaxing holiday in a country I haven’t visited before. Update: I think due to budget restrictions and in the interest of hitting #5, it may need to be a relaxing ‘staycation’ instead!
  2. Swap my make-up and skincare 1 at a time to vegan Getting there…
  3. Join or start a book club Done! Joined Shelf Help,which serves a double purpose in that it helps with my epanouissement – see below! This was a huge positive step in my life, and for the past two months since I discovered the group I have gained so much inspiration and joy from these women and this community
  4. Learn 3 pieces on piano from memory On reflection, perhaps I need to lower my standards on this one, and pick an easy win to get me going!
  5. Be ‘bad’ debt free – cut up my credit cards and only keep one
  6. Clear out – donate to a charity shop all clothes I don’t wear and get rid of all toiletries I don’t need I’ve had a clear out but still need to take the bags to be donated, so close!
  7. Complete Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification. Final report for module of 2 of 3 due next week, so I’m on track!
  8. Find the perfect vegan entertainment menu for both casual and formal dinners
  9. See a world-class ballet in London This conflicts with #5! Hoping toward the end of the year….
  10. Write a book Not yet started, too many ideas scrapped… At this point, NaNoWriMo may be my only option to salvage this by December!
  11. Go on a yoga retreat Budget recommendations would be welcomed!
  12. Take an art class – drawing, painting or crafts
  13. Visit the lake district and do some walking Booked in for later this year
  14. Start a blog Done!
  15. Do a happiness project
  16. Hand make 2 cards
  17. Be a tourist at home: Visit 5 attractions in London that I haven’t visited before I have done 1 out of 5 as I visited Sky Gardens with my friend Tamsin earlier in the year – beautiful space with an incredible view. Next on the list: The Royal Albert Hall and The Shard! 
  18. Write a letter to the Queen of England requesting the documentation of an eye-witness account based on her experience in the public eye

Just a note on this last point, writing a letter should be an easy one to cross off and I do want to get this done quickly. It is something I have had in mind for many years, but particularly since my undergraduate days. The Queen is a unique person in world history: I believe (correct me if I am wrong), that she is the only person on earth to have met almost every world leader from the most powerful nations in the world since the 1950s. Whilst the political role of these meetings may be debated by historians, republicans and monarchists alike, there is no doubting her value to historians as eye witness testimony. If we do not insist that her insights and opinions are captured by an interviewer and documented then upon her death we will loose an incredible source of evidence for generations to come. I may do a blog post to follow once I have written the letter, will keep you updated….!


Another idea from Gretchen’s podcast at the start of the year was to identify one word that encapsulates what you want your year to be. Not what you want to achieve, although it can relate to your goals, but how you see the year in an ideal world. You could choose a word of the week or the month, but I like the idea of an umbrella concept to cover the medium term but with a fixed end date for review, to focus my attention and remind me of my direction.

So my word of the year is épanouissement. Yes, this is a bit fancy and snobbish, going with a French word of the year, but I would like to remind you of the culture of non-judgement I highlighted at the beginning of this piece. I was looking for one word to indicate a sense of growth, but beyond simply learning, a wider flourishing of my life. If it is not becoming excessive to quote Gretchen Rubin again, I want to ensure that in all my decisions I choose the bigger life. Epanouissement translates literally as flourishing, but is used to refer to the sense of development as a person matures. I thought it apt and memorable, so that is my word of 2018.

Both the 18 for 2018 and word of the year are in my phone notes, and I have written épanouissement and pinned it up on my wall to see daily. So far, I do feel that both have positively influenced my decision making throughout the year, and that both are interconnected. The list has helped me to choose the bigger life, and the word has helped me to re-prioritise my time based on what is actually important to me.

I would love to hear your goals and resolutions, your 18 for 2018 lists or even, if you haven’t started one yet, your 8 for 18. Are you a fan of goal-setting processes at specific moments in the calendar year, or do you prefer to adjust as you go? Let me know!