How To Do Everything And Be Happy

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Goals, Ghosts, & Supper Club Hosts; WTFHIBD Episode 3

With barely 10 days left of 2012, I figured it was about time I gave you a What The **** Have I Been Doing update. This is the ‘regular’ feature – well, sort of – where I come clean on what I’ve been spending my time on and show you how I’ve gone about applying the concepts in the book to my own life.

Boxing Day

I’ll confess that I’ve built up a bit of a Boxing Day backlog these past couple of months. I did manage to squeeze one in a couple of weeks back and it was bliss.

I didn’t do much really – quite a lot of it was spent larking around on facebook – but the sun suddenly made an unexpected appearance so I wandered down to beach and rearranged some of the pebbles. I also jotted down some ideas for what could, one day, be a novel. Whether anything will come of that you’ll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, I have two Boxing Days ‘in the bank’ so I suspect I might be using those over Christmas. It would be nice to have a Boxing Day on the 26th of December (a Boxing Day on Boxing Day!) … but my publishers (Harper Collins) tell me I’ll be busy giving interviews that day!!

My Now List

You will be pleased to know that since my last WTFHIBD update I have managed to tick several things off my Now List!

In September I spent a few days in Cornwall, and whilst I didn’t manage to make it to St Michael’s Mount, or the Minack Theatre, I did make it back to Fowey. On the way back I drove through Devon and decided that I really ought to add that to the Now List.

IMG_1079I finally managed to visit a pop-up restaurant. Our host, ‘Food Urchin‘, treated us to pit roasted lamb. He quite literally dug a massive hole in his back garden (a few days earlier I hasten to add) and created a kind of rudimentary oven in which he roasted a whole lamb for several hours.

The rest of the menu looked like this:

Cold mezze consisting of
homemade Taramasalata, Baba Ganoush,
Hummus and Tzatziki
with Grilled Haloumi and Flatbreads.

Kleftiko, Roast New Potatoes
with Capers and Red Onions, Greek Salad.

Palate cleanser (of some description)

Poached Pears
with Filo, Praline, Pistachio and Vanilla Ice Cream.

It was fabulous!

twibAnd last week I finally saw the stage production of The Woman in Black – a play that I’ve wanted to see for the longest time. And Blimey O’Reily it was jaw droppingly fabulous. I’d go back tonight if it wasn’t sold out already. Easily the best play I’ve seen this year – possibly this decade. Possibly ever.

And as I sat there marvelling at the ingenuity of the story telling, whilst at the same time keeping an eye out for anything that might make me jump three foot in the air, I remembered why I started a Now List, how doing this stuff is the ice cream sundae of life, and how I skip dessert way too often in preference for a slightly larger main course. Madness.

Next year I’m making way more of an effort to work my Now List.

My Goals

After my last update I had a bit of a melt down.

Things were moving in the right direction – generally speaking – but it felt a little like I was on a runaway train – thundering down a track, without anyone at the helm. Do train’s have helms? Anyway. Life seemed to be getting away from me. So I booked a Goals Day, sat down with my Goals and my master to-do list and reviewed everything.

By the end of the day I’d re-written my three primary Goals and re-structured the list. To give you an example here’s how my primary goal used to look.

“I am supporting myself
doing the things I love & enjoy,
and no longer worry about bills.”
December 2012

And here’s how it looks now

“I am supporting myself
doing the things I love & enjoy.”
December 2013

I know what you’re thinking, it’s virtually identical to the previous goal. Except that it isn’t. That line in the original goal (‘worrying about bills’) was impairing my ability to focus properly.

If you’ve read How To Do Everything and be Happy then you’ll know that it simply isn’t possible to not think or worry about something. The very act of NOT thinking about something requires your brain to conjure up images of the thing you don’t want to think about, so you can ignore it. It was as if I was constantly reminding myself to worry about the damn bills whilst I attempted to earn a living out of the things I love and enjoy. Way to go Jonesy. Talk about putting myself under pressure. I can’t believe I didn’t notice it before.

Since re-writing that Goal things have got significantly easier. Or they seem significantly easier, which I’m pretty sure is the same thing. I’m back in control.

audible coverThe new paperback version of How To Do Everything and Be Happy is printed and should be in shops everywhere on the 17th of January. There should be a feature in about me and the book in tomorrow’s Guardian newspaper, and Harper Collins tell me that I have no idea just how much publicity I’ll be doing this time next month. And when it’s all done I’m going to celebrate. You did get the invite didn’t you?

I had a nice chat with Harper Collins in the USA. They’re publishing the paperback in June 2013. The ebook is available now of course.

My second book (How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim) has been finished for a while and is sitting with my agent whilst I put the finishing touches to my third book (How To Survive Online Dating). Both should be available, in some format, next year.

A new monthly version of my Happiness workshop starts in January (I’m calling it Happy Club – why not come along) and my assistant is booking me talking gigs up and down the country. It’s all good.

But enough about me. How’s life with you? Drop me a line or post a comment below. I really want to know.

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My Now List

Last week I brought you up to date with what I’ve been spending my time and energy on. You’ll remember that I came clean and told you that my Now List has been pretty much untouched for many months. In fact, it wasn’t until reader Maria emailed me earlier in the week (asking me where she could find my now list) that I realised the last time I updated it was a almost a year ago. Shame on me. So, with apologies for the lack of punctuation and spelling here’s how my Now List – as of August 2012 – looks…

The Top Five!

  • Cornwall (booked for this September)
    • Visit the Minack Theatre (August – September)
    • St michael’s mount
    • Fowey
  • See ‘The Woman in Black’ – sit near the stage
  • Charmouth beach in Dorset (done some research, just need to find time)
  • Drive a tractor
  • Bridgenorth – looks like a nice place

Time Sensitive

  • Estuary Boat trip – see my house from the Thames (found a company that does it, but trips don’t run all year)
  • Proper narrow boat holiday through the countryside of Birmingham

Food

  • Master the following recipes
    • Dad’s Broccoli and Ham bake
    • Angela’s Ginger Cake
    • Chocolate Brownies
  • Go to a place that serves a different wine per course
  • Eat deep fried crickets or some other food from the night time food market in Beijing (best do this quick, before I turn veggie!!)

Experiences

  • Get to visit The Wilton (old war boat near to where I live. Not open to the public)
  • Get close to dolphins
  • And seals
  • And otters
  • bootle feed baby tigers
  • Go inside a lighthouse (I think I’ve found a lighthouse)
  • Enjoy the experience of living in warmer climate
  • Thai chi
  • Get friends round and play cranium
  • See the four-act version of The Importance Of Being Earnest
  • Visit the Houses of Parliment
  • Learn to Scuba
  • Go to the theatre and sit in a ‘box’ with a select group of friends
  • Learn to speak French
  • Learn to fence
  • Do a live cover of the Flight of The Conchordes song, Business Time (video below – visit the blog if you can’t see this in your email)

Someday, maybe

  • get myself on Saturday Kitchen as a featured guest (guess I need to sell a few more copies of the book first)
  • Dinner with Imogen Heap.
  • Work with Steven Moffet.
  • And Richard Curtis

Holidays / Places to visit

  • Enjoy the romance of Rome (previous trips lacked this essential ingredient)
  • Go back to Sorrento
  • Visit Portmeirion, north Wales
  • Visit Hong Kong
  • Go round the world (in a westerly direction)
  • Visit oregan
  • Visit the cook islands (and stay for a long, long time)
  • Visit the remote parts of france.
  • Skiathos – stay in a cottage somewhere inland? Away from the beaches. Hire a moped to get around.
  • Visit Jersey
  • Visit “Taiyou no tou” (it means “Tower(Statue) of Sun”). Banpaku Park, in Osaka.
  • Go to Madagascar
  • the cave temples of Ellora
  • Zion National Park
  • Saint-Paul de Vence – lovely place in france.
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest reserve, Costa Rica
  • Taktsang monestery, Paro Valley, Bhutan
  • Antuigua, lesser Antilles
  • Portofino, Liguria, Italy
  • Visit Tikal, Guatemala
  • Vieux Lyons
  • Machu Picchu
  • Dunnottar Castle – www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk/
  • Swimming with jellyfish in Micronesia  (video below – visit the blog if you can’t see this in your email)

Feel free to share your Now List in the comments section below


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My Now List (Feb 2011)

In no particular order (and with apologies for the lack of punctuation and spelling) my Now List currently looks like this…

Experiences

  • See ‘The Woman in Black’ – sit near the stage
  • Get close to monkeys
  • And dolphins
  • And seals
  • And otters
  • Take my friend DD to see Imogen Heap
  • Enjoy the experience of living in warmer climate
  • tai chi
  • get friends round and play cranium
  • try a flotation tank
  • see the four-act version of The Importance Of Being Earnest
  • own, or have access to, a boat.
  • Drive a tractor
  • Drive a quad bike
  • Estuary Boat trip – see my house from the water

Someday, maybe

  • get myself on Saturday Kitchen as a star guest
  • Dinner with imogen heap.
  • Work with steven moffet.
  • And richard curtis

Holidays / Places to visit

  • Rome again
  • Go back to Sorento
  • visit Hong Kong
  • go round the world (in a westerly direction)
  • visit oregan
  • Visit the cook islands (and stay for a long, long time)
  • Visit the remote parts of france.
  • Skiathos – stay in a cottage somewhere inland? Away from the beaches. Hire a moped to get around.
  • visit jersey
  • Proper narrow boat holiday through the countryside of Birmingham
  • visit the minack theatre (August – September)

Food

  • make harissa paste
  • Go to a pop-up restaurant (supper club)
  • eat deep fried crickets or some other food from the night time food market in Beijing (best do this quick, before I go veggie)

Post your Now List in the comments section below