Have you heard of The Happiness Project? It is a great book (also a blog) that I sort of bought myself for Christmas (as in, I bought it as a white elephant gift then stole it from the person who picked it first…ha!).
I’m not gonna go all grad school book review on you, but I will say this: this book is filled with super smart, unique insights on the concepts of happiness and how to achieve it. It’s very happiness is a journey, not a destination, and I kind of like that. But she also gives great commentary on very specific topics like money (does it buy happiness after all?) and clutter (how is how we keep our stuff related to our attitude?) and a whole host of other topics.
She talks a lot about being yourself, which is really speaking to me at the moment. For example, how many times do we deny ourselves a hobby that makes us happy, like reading kid lit (her example) or watching sports (mine), because we think it’s either “illegitimate” or that we are not the “type of person” who should take interest in such a hobby? Think of just how much happiness we are denying ourselves. She says, think of what you liked to do when you were 10. You probably still really like a lot of that stuff, and that’s ok. Do what makes you happy. Even if it’s reading comic books. Or watching trashy television. Or collecting coins. Tons of grown ups do these things, i.e. it’s possible to be a grown up and do what you love and be mature and/or legitimate and have fun, and guess what, that makes being around you more fun, which makes people want to hang out with you more often, which makes you happy too, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert!
It’s a total game changer for me. I am not finished with it yet, but I am whipping right through it. My bag is like a library right now, to be honest. (How many books does a girl need to carry with her? I’m not going to read them all at once, right?) If I love any of the others as much as I love this book, maybe I’ll share thoughts on them here too.
Not terribly ambitious, but still a worthy goal. Plus it helps beat the winter blues, plus it helps burn off all the carrot cake I’ve been eating. What’s that you say? You’d like to know what carrot cake recipe I’m in love with? Well good. I’ll share it with you later in the week.
I finally had a chance to sit down and focus on my intentions for 2012. I love goal setting and list-making, and this year I used a short workbook developed by Susannah to help me hone in on my resolutions for the year ahead. If you have not had a chance to do this yet, I highly recommend it. Whether you use her workbook or not, the process of sitting down with a warm cup of something, a notebook and a pen, and writing down some dreams is so…refreshing.
One element of Susannah’s workbook that I love is the concept of choosing a word for the year. A mantra, or focal point, if you will. (Ali writes about choosing your one little word so beautifully, if you are new to the concept and want to know more about it.) My word for 2012 is release.
Doesn’t it feel good just saying it?
I want this to be the year I allow myself to/teach myself to/finally/ let go of old insecurities, resentments, fears, and disappointments. A tall order, no? I think I can do it. If I live this word every day, I think I will feel lighter and generally be more pleasant. Right now, I carry too much with me- bad memories, doubts about past decisions, tiny annoyances…I suppose we all do. And I guess it might be juicy to tell you specifically what some of these things are, but I’m trying to focus on other things. In the spirit of releasing negativity. Which I think will help me to move forward in some way. If it helps me to release them, maybe I’ll share them someday.
Four days into the year, I love the feeling of having a mantra and a set of resolutions that is broad, but about real growth. Last year I resolved to never leave dirty dishes in the sink when I went to bed. That was boring and served no greater purpose, plus it didn’t play to my strengths, so I lost interest pretty quickly. This year I think I’ll do better. How about you? Did you make a new year’s resolution?
Write one essential task down for each day…or several. The point is to pare it down, not to be overwhelmed, but to see the immediacy of the days ahead. (I find the vertical format helps with this). If you’d like to download your own dramatic Get it Done to-do list, be my guest!
Countdown to Turkey Day/Rachel’s Birthday/Flying on Planes/Brain Explosion – Commence!
We are approaching my half birthday (what, you don’t celebrate your half birthday?) and I have given you very few, or rather, one update on my 30 Before 30 list. Let’s just say progress is good but documentation is not. Here’s where we’re at so far:
Completed items (4):
- Start a blog
- Grow some vegetables
- Write my breastfeeding story
- Learn new ways to style my hair (more on this later)
Ongoing items that I have begun doing and will continue to do (7):
- Write Rachel a letter every month
- Write Jim more often too
- Upload photos regularly instead of letting them sit on the memory card forever (blogging helps with this)
- Be more patient (less tantrums, more composure. Yes, I’m still talking about me, not my toddler)
- Take better care of my skin (visited a dermatologist, care plan is in place)
- Go for more walks
- Practice more yoga (could still be better at this)
- Aim to laugh at least once per day (I should make a chart of the remaining days until my birthday and actually write down what made me laugh. Can you imagine how fun that would be to look back on?)
Some of the items on my list were so vague that I can’t really justify keeping them on the list. I thought about either refining them so that they would be more measurable or substituting them for something else all together. I love editing, don’t you?
Here are the items I have added/substituted (7):
- Bake more gluten-free food – find at least 3 recipes that are reliable go-to goodies
- Take a family photo each season
- Run 2 -5K races
- Incorporate daily affirmations into mine and Rachel’s day (I’m thinking this would fit in well with bedtime)
- Join a community group or parenting organization
- Make handmade gifts for 2 people that don’t live in my house
- Make a temporary headboard for our master bedroom.
That leaves 12 items from the original list that are not yet complete + these 7 that have been added = 19 things I still need to complete. That kind of seems like I’m behind, but I think adding more measurable goals will help me speed through them better.
What about you? Do you keep a running list of goals for yourself? How is your progress coming along?