15 Days of Happiness :: Try Something New


Studies have shown that novelty and challenge bring happiness, so today my happiness task was to try something new.  I had to send a dessert somewhere, so I tested this recipe for Coconut Oatmeal Cookies.

Granted, making these cookies wasn’t much of a challenge, but tasting them as a family did add a feeling of novelty to the afternoon.  (And by the way, they’re delicious!  Even my children who avoid coconut were begging for more.)  It’s nice to do something different, nice to add a new recipe to the file of favorites, nice to be out of the rut.

What new thing can you try today?  What challenge could you tackle that would make you feel good about yourself?

I’ll share a challenge I’ve been working on for the past year or so.  I’m kind of a homebody and tend to be uncomfortable with big group activities.  Give me one or two people to talk to and I’ll make friends quickly, but throw me into a large group get-to-know-you game and I feel like running.  This can sometimes make me hesitate to plan parties for my kids, so I’ve been consciously working on throwing fun parties, particularly for my teenagers and older children.   I’m lucky to have a good friend who I regard as a master party planner and I’ve called her for suggestions and advice.  I’ve had the opportunity to throw some parties for girls soccer teams this year and because I researched, planned well, and went in with a smile, they have gone well.  We had one here last Saturday night and when the house finally quieted down I was happy in the knowledge that 15 girls had a great time at my house.

Tomorrow night I’m throwing a second party for my 10 year old daughter’s team.  I’m both more and less nervous.  Less nervous because I think they’ll have a nice time; more nervous because I don’t have much time to clean the house and do the last minute rushing around that always comes with parties.  Either way, it’s going to happen and I’m going to get better at acquiring the skill of planning great parties.


In her awesome book, The Happiness Project , Gretchen Rubin says this, “One reason that challenge brings happiness is that it allows you to expand your self-definition.  You become larger…. Research shows that the more elements make up your identity, the less threatening it is when any one element is threatened.” (p.78) Whatever it is, trying something novel and/or challenging will make you a better person.  Don’t forget the 15 minute approach if this sounds like too much work.  Choose a challenge, set a timer, and see what happens.  Have fun!

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