I’m in the middle of working on my own Happiness Project, based on the book titled (what else?), “The Happiness Project,” by Gretchen Rubin. While I didn’t find the book a FANTASTIC read, I really loved the concept of making yourself happy by setting monthly topics and goals.
I spent those lazy weeks between Christmas and New Years working on my Happiness schedule for 2014. I thought a lot about areas of my life where I was happy, but could be happier. And I thought about some areas of my life that I thought were holding me back from happiness. Once I came up with those areas, they became my monthly topics. Then came the dirty work. I had to come up with 3-4 achievable and measurable goals for each month that I could work towards within that topic.
It was a lot harder than I thought it would be! Measuring happiness is hard. Some people say it shouldn’t be measured. That we should just BE happy. But that doesn’t really work in my weird mind. I like goals. I would best with deadlines and to-do lists. The problem for me was trying to determine what exactly would help me achieve all these random topics I had chosen. For example, I want a month of saying YES more. Sounds great, right? But what exactly was I going to say yes to? And how would I know when I’d achieved it?
Tricky. Very tricky.
After a few weeks and a few hundred drafts, here is my Happiness Project for 2014:
January: MORE SLEEP
- 9:30pm bedtime
- Establish a bedtime routine
- No cell phone, computer, or iPad after 8:00pm
- Start blogging in the mornings and weekends only
February: DIET (oy.)
- No sweets (dessert, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc.)
- Fruits and veggies ONLY for snacks
- Smoothies for breakfast
- Take a daily multivitamin
March: EXERCISE (for the record, I broke these first three down into separate months because I knew if I tried to do sleep, diet, and exercise all together, I would be overwhelmed and just quit)
- Run at least 3 times a week
- Start yoga classes regularly
- Walk the dogs every day
April: FRIENDSHIP (this is an area I am terrible in…)
- Listen more. Talk less.
- Be there
- Remember the details (birthdays, milestones, major life events, etc.)
May: PROCRASTINATION (I am really bad at putting routine things off. Doctors appointments, hair appointments, dentist appointments…)
- Make all doctors appointments for the year for the entire family
- Add Gracie to dental insurance.
- Order new dental and medical insurance cards
- Begin Christmas shopping
June: YES! (This is the month to ask me to do things.)
- Say yes whenever possible to the kids.
- Say yes whenever possible to Chris.
- Say yes whenever possible to family.
- Say yes whenever possible to friends.
- Update site theme
- Redo “About” page
- Blog five times a week (gulp!)
- Take DSL pictures daily
- Clean out basement
- Clean all hallway closets
- Have a yard sale
- Spend less
September: TRADITIONS (I am starting to get worried that my kids aren’t going to grow up with any traditions. I have so many fond memories of my own childhood traditions, and I want that for my kids but I don’t always have the follow-through to create them for my family.)
- Order Christmas jammies for the kids
- Establish a “back to school” tradition
- Establish a Thanksgiving tradition
- Order Halloween costumes
- Start a book club
- Make out birthday cards a year ahead (I love sending mail – always have, always will!)
- Schedule a family volunteering activity
- 12 acts of random kindness (one for each month of my Happiness Project)
So far, my biggest problem has been wanting to jump way ahead in my plan. I’m so excited for certain goals. Like, every time I pass my hall closets, I want to dive into them and start cleaning crap out. But I have to remind myself to slow down. I’m very much a firework when it comes to activities and projects. I burst with excitement and motivation, but then I burn out quickly if I overdo it. So, I keep reminding myself to slow my pace. True, long-lasting happiness doesn’t come overnight. The project is not about making myself happy TODAY (though, that is a huge part of it). It’s more about learning to live a happier life, and that means I need to slow down and enjoy my happiness one step at a time.
My January goals have been hit and miss. The 9:30 bedtime thing is wigging me out. My body doesn’t know WHAT is going on. I have been getting eight hours of sleep most night, and I normally get much less. SIGNIFICANTLY less. So much less I’m embarrassed to admit it. But with all this sleep now, I am actually MORE tired than before. My doctor said that can happen after periods (well, years, for me) of not sleeping well. Once your body gets a good amount of sleep, it starts craving more and so you can actually become more tired at first. That is definitely happening to me. Though, I’m also wondering if I’m getting too much sleep. I know that can make you tired, too. I’ve decided to keep with the 9:30 bedtime thing until the end of January, just like my goal says. At that point, if my body hasn’t adjusted, then I’ll know it’s because I’m getting too much sleep and I can dial it back to 10:00 or 10:30.
The bedtime routine, though, is AWESOME. I fall asleep so much better now, and I know that’s partly because I feel so fresh and relaxed when I go to bed. I’m brushing my teeth, washing my face, moisturizing, and using wrinkle cream (waaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!). I wake up feeling so fresh faced! But, again, it’s not perfect because now that I wake up with no make up residue on my face, you can really see the bags under my eyes in the mornings now!
So, basically, I’m more tired and I look like hell this month. Excellent start to the new year!
Despite these things, I’m forging ahead! I’ll let you know how things go in the next two weeks.
What about you? Anyone making big changes in January so far?