For the past few years, instead of choose resolutions, I have choosen a specific word that I want to focus on in the upcoming year.
2010 – Languish
2011 – Gratitude
2012 – Faith
2013 – Joy
I started thinking about my word for 2014 in early December. I tossed around a few ideas that really resonated with me, chief among them was content. In 2014, I wanted to feel content and peaceful, satisfied and fulfilled. And while all of those were good words, none of them really hit the level of energy I had about the coming year.
Yes, I want to be content, but I really want to be more than content.
Yes, I want to be peaceful, but I really want to be more than peaceful.
Yes, I want to be satisfied and fulfilled, but I want so much more than that.
I don’t want to stop at being content. I want to be HAPPY, darn it! I want to be full of laughter and giggles. I want to smile and cheer and jump up and down. I want to lay my head down at night feeling more than satisfied. I want to be HAPPY about the day I just had, and even HAPPIER about the day I’ll wake up to in the morning. Life it too short to merely be content.
Last year, I focused on joy and I know it seems like joy and happiness are almost too similar to distinguish. But in my year of joy, I learned that joy is intrinsic in all of us, put there as a gift from God. I believe we experience joy to different degrees, based on how open we are to feeling it and how focused we are on recognizing it in our lives. I needed joy last year. I needed God to fill me with his happiness because I didn’t have it in me to do it myself.
But after a year of living in joy, focusing on joy, striving for joy, and recognizing joy, my heart is indeed joyful. And so now I shift to happiness. Happiness derives from joy, but I take owernship of happiness. Whereas joy comes from God, happiness is a gift I can give myself.
Just as I was searching for the right word, a friend of mine sent out an email to a group of women, asking us to form a “Happiness Group.” She had just finished reading the book, “The Happiness Project,” and she wanted us to all read the book and then form an accountability group as we persued each of our own happiness plans in 2014. About three chapters into the book, I realized happiness was my one word. That was it. It was as simple and as complicated as that. I wanted to be able to make myself happy.
The idea of a happiness project is that you identify an area of your life each month to focus on making happier. For example, one area that would make me much happier would be better sleep habits. I am borderline insomniatic, and most nights have trouble falling asleep and then staying asleep throughout the night. If I could simply learn to sleep better, I think it would make me a lot happier throughout the day by giving me more energy. So, in the month of January, I am going to be focusing on becoming a better sleeper.
But a happiness plan takes it even further. Once you have your focus for the month (sleep, for example), you then make several goals for that focus. In January, I will be focusing on sleep and my three goals will be:
1. Set a bedtime.
2. Establish a nighttime routine.
3. No cell phone or computer after 8:00pm.
I’m in the process of making my happiness project for the entire year right now. I’ve set all my focuses, and am starting to work on setting my goals for each month. Once I get the entire project set, I’ll be sure to share it here and each month I’ll be documenting my progress.
Putting aside the happiness project, what are you striving for this year? What is your one word or resolution or focus in 2014?