"The thing about life is it's not about things". We all know this of course. That's the thing about these 10 Happiness Principles. Because they are truths we can feel they are right on some deep level. But again we can get so caught up in the busyness of life that we can just get swept away in a tsunami of doing and buying.

Over the Christmas break I was sorting out hundreds of photos from 2002 to 2003 when I had a grown-up OE and travelled the world for a year. I am getting the pix digitised for easier storage and the fact that I may actually look at them if they are on my Mac and not in a dusty box in the garage. It was so hard to choose the best 400. Why? Because I DID so many things that year... here's me riding an elephant through a river; here I am on a jewellery design course; oh, here I am teaching yoga to some local kids on the beach.

And that's all in the same day! So many memorable experiences crammed into each day because that was the point of the trip.

And real life? Well real life is a trip too, if we deliberately make it one. This year I have resolved to do more things where I would take photos. Taking a photo means there is something new or connected or special or fun happening, even if it's just cooking a new recipe for dinner. "Can I take a photo of this?" is a good reminder and an easy way to build a treasure chest of shared experiences, joy and learning. It's a good way to open your brain to think about how you can put more fun into everyday life, introduce something novel or different. It was interesting to me as I reflected that this was the year in my life that I owned the least amount of stuff. All I had what was in the rucksack on my back - 16kg of essentials and that was it. Because I couldn't carry any more, all the things I focused on were not physical things to buy, they were things to do, learn and be.


They were feelings, sensations, sights, knowledge, laughter and connection.

Below are some questions for you to work through that will help you to live more deliberately in 2013, take more pictures and build a treasure chest of memories in a year to remember. The more of this we have the less stuff we need.

Three things I enjoyed doing as a child:
(great inspiration for things for the following categories)

Things I want to learn this year:
(Water skiing? Crochet? Italian?)

Things I want to be:
(eg. I want to be a marathon runner, or I want to be a calm person who meditates)

Three words I want to characterise 2013:
(eg. Mine are Adventure. Abundance and Authencity. Pick three. Matchy, matchy first letters are optional)

Things I want to do:
(have more sex, make new friends, get a new job?)

Places I want to go:
(One of NZ's Great Walks, every beach in Auckland, The Rio carnival?)

Things I want to share:
(what are your unique gifts and aptitudes? How can you use these to help or train others? How can you share and bring joy to others?)

My most important people to spend time with in 2013:
(good to know so there is no taking for granted!)

Something big I have never done before that I am going to be brave and try in 2013:
(Go on, challenge yourself. 2013 is the year I finally...)

Choosing to make 2013 about living deliberately is a great intention. Making intentional decisions will allow you to create a treasure trove of memories and experiences you and your loved ones will look back on forever.

Go weave the fabric of a year rich in experience.

If you want more on this download my free 5000-word e-book How to be a Time Ninja on www.positivebalance.co.nz which will give you a super-helpful workbook to create your most focused and intentional year in 2013.

Louise Thompson is a life coach, yoga teacher and corporate escapee. For more from Louise visit www.positivebalance.co.nz.