My Happiness Project: January Recap

I looked at my calendar this week and was shocked to find that January was almost over already!  Holy crap!  Where has the month gone?!?!  Maybe I have SLEPT IT AWAY!!!!!

In case you missed it, I am doing my own “Happiness Project” in 2014, based on the book titled (obviously…), “The Happiness Project.”  For the month of January, I focused on getting more sleep.  It was essential to my health and my happiness that I get more sleep this year, and I am happy to report that I am!!!

My three goals for getting more sleep were:

  1. 9:30pm bedtime
  2. Establish a bedtime routine
  3. No cell phone, computer, or iPad after 8:00pm
  4. Start blogging in the mornings and weekends only

Most of these worked out for the best, some I ended up adapting, and one I just gave up on altogether.

1.  9:30pm bedtime – This one took me a while to get into.  I was cranky during the day for the first two weeks that I used a bedtime, and all I did was crave more sleep.  But I really tried to stick with it for the entire month to give my body time to adjust, and I definitely did.  A very sweet blog reader suggested that I take a night and morning when the kids were not around and let myself fall asleep naturally and wake up naturally to see how much sleep my body really wanted and needed.  I thought that was a great idea, so I did it.  Turns out, my body naturally wants to go to bed at 10:00 instead of 9:30 and that if I go to bed at 10:00, I wake up naturally at 6:00am on the button.  That time frame works out wonderfully for my morning routine.  I still go into my bedroom at 9:00 to begin getting ready for bed (more on that in a minute), and I am still in bed by 9:30.  But, I read until sometime between 9:30 and 10:00, and whenever I get tired in that window, I turn my light out.


2.  Establish a bedtime routine – I think this one, coupled with the bedtime, has made the most difference in my happiness level.  Turns out, I love having a bedtime routine!  I head into my bathroom around 9:00, and I spend the time brushing my teeth, washing my face, moisturizing, putting on wrinkle cream, which makes me feel both old and fresh faced at the same time!  (I’m using Estee Lauder’s Advanced Time Zone Wrinkle Cream, and it is heavenly!)  Then, I clean up the bathroom so that it is ready to go in the morning – a new concept to me, and one that I LOVE!  Coming in to a clean bathroom in the mornings is so refreshing!  I invested in some new nighttime products, and I think that’s half the fun of getting ready for bed!  I get into bed feeling like I have physically wiped the day from my body, and that is helping me drift off to sleep so much easier.

3.  No cell phone, computer, or iPad after 8:00pm – This one has been the hardest to keep, but not for the reasons I expected.  I have actually loved turning my electronics – and my mind! – off at 8:00pm.  One other thing I started doing to help me keep my goal was that now I charge my phone at night across my bedroom from my bed.  My biggest trap was waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, and grabbing my phone for entertainment.  That would wake my mind and body up more than it already was and made it harder to go back to sleep.  Now, not having my phone within my reach has curbed that.  I may still occasionally wake up throughout the night (though that is happening so much less), but I go back to sleep so much quicker because I don’t have that phone so close by.  The hardest part of this goal has been the necessity of a phone, computer, or iPad.  If my mom’s calling me, or if a co-worker texts me, after 8:00pm, I have to answer.  I’ve gone back and forth about this, though.  Finally, I came up with the rule that if my response could wait, then I don’t reply.  But if a response can’t wait, then I reply quickly, one time.  This goal is a pain in the butt, honestly, but it really has made a difference to be off social media, especially, after 8:00pm.  Any unnecessary mental stimulation after 8:00pm has been cut out, and I do find that this makes it easier for my brain to settle down as I’m trying to go to sleep.


4.  Start blogging in the mornings and weekends only – Yeah… so… this one didn’t work out.  Like, at all.  Though, as I write this one post, it is 6:10am.  But this is an exception!  The trouble with blogging in the morning is that it’s too early to be funny or reflective or insightful or whatever.  This early in the morning, I am barely alive, much less entertaining.  Plus, I begin my day at 6:00 with my daily devotional, and I wasn’t willing to give that up for blogging.  I tried the blogging on the weekend thing, and it worked one week (did anyone notice???).  But the problem with weekend blogging is that it cuts several prime hours out of my Sunday afternoon, when I would much rather be hanging with Chris and the kids.  I did modify my blogging schedule, though, because I was convinced that staying up late blogging was making it harder for me to settle my mind and go to sleep.  Now, I blog when I get home from work during that one hour between getting the kids home from daycare and when I have to start dinner.  The kids hang out in my office with me, and I crank out a blog post.  The only problem has been those days when I have to work late or get home for some other reason later than normal (I am taking an ESOL class for my teaching certificate right now, and I have class every Thursday night from 5:00 until 8:30…).  But, it is what it is.  So, I blog earlier in the day, but didn’t quite make it to early mornings or weekend.

Sleeping better this month has made such a drastic change in my happiness.  I wake up feeling refreshed, instead of sluggish.  I go through my day without hitting that 2:00pm wall.  I am just happier and more positive, and I am 100% certain that comes from getting the amount of sleep that my body needs.


Speaking of bodies, while January has been wonderful, February is creeping up closer and I’m not looking forward to it’s arrival.  February is my “diet” month.  I’ve set the following goals that make me feel so very UNhappy when I look at them, but I’m trying to remind myself that in order to achieve long-term happiness, life sometimes has to suck for a little bit:

  1. No sweets (dessert, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc.) – I GET A ONE-DAY PASS ON FEB. 14!!!!!
  2. Fruits and veggies ONLY for snacks
  3. Smoothies for breakfast
  4. Take a daily multivitamin

And here is where I need your help.  Does anyone have a good women’s multivitamin that they can recommend?  I have been taking Women’s One a Day, but it makes me so sick on my stomach, even when I take it with food.  Any suggestions out there for sometime a little gentler????

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44 Thoughts to “My Happiness Project: January Recap”

  1. Sarah

    I take the one a day vita craze gummies with immunity support, they taste fruity and don’t make me sick at all

    1. I second the gummies! They don’t make me feel sick at all! And I do take mine with a meal.

  2. Ruth

    Wow I sleep the same hours that you and I still feel tired 🙁 I hate sleeping so much. I love the happiness project idea, but I am not good with resolution so I am reluctant to start the project, maybe I need to start really small.
    I was wondering why you want to take the daily multivitamin. They make you feel better? May be they will make me feel less tired.
    Congratulations on achieving your goals 😀

  3. Kerri

    Viactive – it’s a little bit of chocolate goodness when you can’t have sweets. I read the recommendation from the daughter of my dentist… She had & was recovering from breast cancer…her doctor told her it was the best:). It has calcium and Vitamin d3.

  4. Heather

    I love reading about your happiness project.thanks so much for sharing with us! I take a powder multivitamin from Isotonix. They get into your system a lot faster than vitamins in a pill form, and they don’t upset my stomach at all. I buy mine from, but gnc also sells their own brand of powdered multivitamins.

  5. Tiffany

    Hi Katie. Yes, I have a vitamin company that I highly recommend. I was in the same place, where I would get sick or even throw up vitamins, which was frustrating and defeated the purpose. I tried a lot (Yay for target return policies) and finally read avout Rainbow Light online. I ordered them from Amazon and take a prenatal (not preggers, but it’s a great multi-vitamin with good stuff for your hair/skin too) and an extra calcium supplement since I can’t have any dairy. Rainbow Light is easy on the stomach- I can take it without food- and it’s all natural from foods, so I feel better taking it. I’m borderline preachy about it because I love them so much.

  6. Amy

    Can’t wait to read these throughout the year!

    I had similar issues with vitamins, and found that the Target brand gummy ones (both women’s multi and calcium/vit D) taken right before bed leave no ill effects.

  7. Jenn V

    Granted I am taking a prenatal at the moment, but gummy vitamins! I can’t swallow the regular pills because they are just too large. Gummy vitamins are awesome. Surprisingly, generic CVS brand is my favorite.

  8. I have the same problem with vitamins, so I take mine before bed. Then I’m sleeping when my stomach starts to hurt and I don’t notice.

  9. girlsmama

    I think it’s interesting that there are so many vitamin choices! Who knows which one to pick?

    LIke you the one-a-day made me sick to my stomach. I recently switched to bio-35 ( and have really been liking it! No sickies! I take it twice a day, morning and night.

    I love the happiness project! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  10. HeatherM

    I really like vital fusion women’s gummy multivitamins. I also take calcium gummies, because like most women I don’t get enough calcium on a daily basis, and that can cause osteoporosis long term. All are available at Target.

  11. Amber

    GNCs Women’s Ultra Mega Pre-natal formula. I know you don’t necessarily need a Pre-natal but they are my favorite. Take them at night before bed and it should be easier on your stomach. Good Luck. You are inspiring.

  12. Jessica W

    I find that Target’s One-A-Day Gummies are easier on my stomach. However, I normally just add two packs of Emergen-C to the blender with my smoothie and let it go. (2 packs because the smoothie is then divided between my husband and I). Not as complete as the multi-vitamin, but I assume that the fruit, juice, and greek yogurt in the smoothie help compensate. I saw someone mentioned taking it at night, that will help your stomach but be prepared for some crazy dreams due to the B-vitamins.

  13. Elise

    I use Source of Life multi-vitamins-

    They are the first multi that hasn’t upset my stomach or given me a horrible headache. The recommended daily does is 3, but I only take one (still quite effective with just one).

    You can get them at your local vitamin shoppe or offline. Also, sometimes the online price is cheaper than the in-store price and the store will usually match it.

    Anyway- I am a huge fan of these. They are the only vitamin in my life that I have actually been able to take for longer than a week.


  14. donna

    I was so nauseous too taking the One-A-Day, even with food. I switched to adult gummies and they’re actually fun to take in the morning! A little sugary kick and you get to feel like a kid again for a minute each morning. 🙂

  15. Melissa

    So I take Flintstones chewables- and I just take 2 to make sure I’m covered (I need extra folic acid). Still as delicious as when I was a kid;)

  16. Jacquie Watts

    I know nothing about vitamins – but I did notice the weekend post!!

  17. Hilda

    Over here in Germany, people don’t take multivitamins at all (just a waste of money). They take Calcium and Vitamin D in the winter and that’s it. And as you are doing a month with fruit and veggies anyways, you might be good without them. You could have your doctor test your blood after the month and see what he/she says.

  18. Anita

    I highly recommend any Garden of Life vitamin/product. Dr. Jordan Rubin has written several books about his health and nutrition journey and he has done it based on God’s plan for eating as it is written in the Bible. Excellent idea, isn’t it?
    Here is a link to the women’s multi vitamin

  19. Conny

    I, too, am wondering why you choose to take vitamin pills at all. Usually, with a semi-healthy lifestyle, you should get enough vitamins, minerals, calcium etc. from your regular meals. As long as you don’t have any dietary restrictions (as some of the commenters do) you should be good without them. Also, vitamin supplements can actually contain harmful substances like aspartame. Anyway, I’m not here to lecture, just wanted to offer another opinion from outside the US 🙂
    So, on a much brighter note, I really enjoy reading along as you do your Happiness Project and look forward to these posts throughout the year. Thanks you so much for sharing and good luck with the February goals!

  20. Lindsey

    I am currently taking the Vitafusion Prenatal vitamins. They are the gummy version and delicious. Although I am not planning on having a baby right now I do have serious food allergies. They have given me the best nutrients. I also take them at night just in case they make me feel funky. So far so good and I’ve been taking them for a few years!

    On another note, I remember reading a post you did months ago on reading. You had mentioned your dear friend Sarah had taught you how to speed read and actually retain the info. I’m in the process of wrapping up my bachelors and moving on to get my masters and work as a physician’s assistant. Could you please give us some pointers on how you speed read and retain the info? I would love and appreciate it!

  21. Angie

    I’ve had really good luck with Target UP&UP brand vitamins, I took the womans vitamin before and now take their prenatal vitamin.

    Good luck with your Feb goals!!

  22. Elaine

    I am really enjoying following along on your happiness project! It’s really amazing how much better you feel when you get a good amount of sleep!

    I’m also one of those who are wondering why you want to take a multivitamin. I’ve read countless studies that show they aren’t really effective and if you are going to be eating fruits and veggies for snacks, then you’ll be getting your needed nutrients anyway!

  23. Vanessa

    I have to second the Target Prenatal gummies. They at least taste fine, and they are the only ones that I’ve been able to consistently take for years. The others I’ve tried don’t last because I end up not liking the taste after a while or I get the upset stomach. I also have built in an outlook reminder to pop up right after lunch time every day to say ‘Take your vitamin’. Having some sort of alarm while you are building the habit and building it into a routine you are doing anyway are the best ways to be consistent…. saying that though, I never remember to take vitamins on the weekends.

  24. Jenny

    I take NatureMade Prenatal multivitamins, even though I don’t plan on getting pregnant anytime soon. My nails are stronger and my hair is shiner and it doesn’t bother my stomach.

  25. Like others I take a prenatal vitamin bc of all the extra goodies for hair and nails. I had some blood work done and found that I was also anemic and had a vit D deficiency. So I take those as well as a probiotic. I also started making green smoothies to get some extra vitamins that way. Good luck!

  26. jenny-bird

    Way to go Katie! I felt inspired after your closet cleaning story, so I cleaned mine too! It’s so nice to see what I have rather than dig through what I have. Regarding your request for a multivitamin recommendation, the gummy vitamins are easy on the stomach, but they’re expensive. The iron in the multivitamin is usually the culprit causing stomach troubles. Even though Nature Made multivitamins contain iron, they have always been easy on my stomach. Best of luck in February! Here’s one snack recommendation: a small bowl of blueberries and oranges. I also recommend trying new exotic fruits and trying local, organic fruits. The fresher the fruit, the better the taste!

  27. Aileen

    Hi Katie,

    I have the same problems with multivitamins because of my sensitive stomach. I find taking the ‘one a day’ kind tend to be the problem because it’s just too much nutrient density to handle all at once. I’ve also heard that taking ‘one a day’ vitamins makes it harder for your body to properly use all those nutrients and a lot of it ends up being, um, peed out.

    So, I take New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin. I take them a couple times a day, dividing up the 3 pills daily dosage, even though the bottle says the regular 3 pills at once dosage is fine to take on an empty stomach as well. That’s what I feel works best for me. And I take the prenatals over regular women’s kind even though I’m not trying to get pregnant because it does wonders for your skin and hair!

    I get mine on Amazon because that’s the best price I found. I hope you try them!

    Love this project btw, and your blog too, obviously. ^_^

    1. Melanie

      I am with Aileen – I also use New Chapters Prenatal. Because they are a plant based vitamin, they go easy on the tummy. I have used these for over a year after searching for one that didn’t make sick.

      Hope this helps!

  28. Rebecca

    Loved reading your recap of January! January has been my healthy eating month but February should be my sleep month… As I write this at 11:40 pm! 😉 Just wanted to share this info and bit passing any judgement. I am a family physician and recently read a study where they found taking vitamins does you no good (your body cannot digest it) and can actually do you harm (vitamins aren’t under the same scrutiny that medication is so they may contain things that are not listed or should not be consumed). Just wanted to share. Good luck with your February goals!!

    1. Anna Mary

      I am not intending to start a heated debate here, but… since it is difficult to get all the daily vitamins and minerals we need is it really better to do without a vitamin supplement at all? I know your body doesn’t absorb everything in a vitamin and you mostly get expensive urine, but isn’t some better than none? I just can’t get on board with not taking anything.

      1. Rebecca

        According to recent research, no. Due to the additives in vitamins they can actually cause harm rather than good. Eat a balanced diet fully of healthy foods and you will have everything your body needs. I do though recommend that my patients take folic acid while pregnant and vitamin d for children (and adults with a vitamin d deficiency).

  29. I love January – 10pm – 6am sounds heavenly! I’m currently rocking 10:30pm – 5am and it sucks. I miss 8 hours of sleep. And having a night to put yourself to bed naturally and wake up on your own – awesome!!!! February would be really challenging for me – hope it works out really well for you! Love this.

  30. Heather

    I take kids chewable vitamins – I think they are “Smartypants” brand … have had the same problem you noted… sick to my stomach. In fact I’m pretty sure my “morning sickness” during pregnancy was actually mostly related to my vitamin ;). I also take them at night.

  31. Sarah P Liz

    I use Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw One ( and I love it. It also contains probiotics and digestive enzymes and is made of raw food ingredients. It is easy to swallow and I don’t taste it later, which is a good thing. I’m usually sensitive to multi vitamins, but I can take this one on an empty stomach and it doesn’t make me want to barf.

  32. Lauren

    Health is a great goal! Try substituting sweets instead of focusing on a negative toward all sweets. We shouldn’t deprive or punish ourselves to be healthy 🙂 have a high quality square of dark chocolate, berries and plain yogurt, almond milk, or wholesome delicious sweets (dried dates and good cheese with honey) that make you feel satisfied and content instead of saying none at all. Love the happiness project you are doing.

  33. Anna Mary

    I have nothing to help with regarding the vitamins (aside from good job taking them), but I am a certified health coach if you have other questions about health (nutrition/activity/sleep/stress). However, the real reason for my post is to ask you want devotional you use. I have been on the hunt for months now and cannot find one that I really like. They are either too new age are too issue specific. Help a girl out! I want to start doing something to improve my spirit in the morning, but cannot find something that speaks to me.

  34. Lindsay

    I take vitafusion gummy prenatals. They are so yummy! I actually like taking my vitamins now.

  35. Women’s One-A-Day makes me sick, too, so why not just take a prenatal vitamin as your daily multivitamin? It should be easier on your stomach. My doc told me that it’s got everything in it you could possibly need, and guys can even take them too!

  36. Simone

    Could you do a post on smoothie recipes? I really want to start doing smoothies for breakfast but don’t know what to put in them.

  37. PJ

    Just a comment about the “no sweets” rule, especially if these changes are things that you plan to continue in your life. I used to say “no sweets” all the time; but it never worked for me. It was really hard and all the sweets were such a temptation, something that was forbidden, so I set a rule for 1 sweet per week. It helps because then instead of the sweets tempting me and being a forbidden thing, it’s something that I actively decide to either have or not. So when I see the donuts/cookies/candy in the office kitchen, instead of them tempting me, I can say “no, I would rather have XYZ as my sweet for the week” or I can say “yes, that’s what I want”. Having it be an active choice, instead of fighting against something forbidden, has really helped me.

  38. Yep – gummies are great – but pretty sugary if you ask me! I feel like it is eating candy which may be tough if you are trying to give it up.
    And at night has always worked for me – I have a sensitive tummy.
    I just use the Target generic ones – both gummies and regular – because it is an excuse to go to Target!

  39. Katie, you have my deep respect for taking this so systematically and being so disciplined. The result must be immense and I wish you staying on the right track. Rock on!

  40. […] back up and running again, and so I’ve recommitted to my January and February goals.  From January, I am continuing to stick to my bedtime.  And even Chris is joining in on the fun now.  He gets […]

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