Where Logic Meets Love

The Happiness Project has Commenced!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

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The Happiness Project has Commenced! | Faith Permeating Life
Alright, folks, as promised, here is the introduction to my stab at following in Gretchen Rubin's footsteps and embarking on a year-long happiness project.

What I like about this concept is that it's essentially like a bunch of new year's resolutions, except focusing on one area of your life at a time. It takes 21 days to form a habit (or 7, or 30, or whatever, depending on who you read), so you spend a month focusing on specific resolutions to improve one area of your life until they hopefully become habit, then continue those into the next month and add additional resolutions focusing on a different area. The key is keeping a daily checklist so you have to say whether you achieved your resolutions for that day, every day.

January's goal is Health. Two of my resolutions are things I already do, I just want to have accountability to make sure I do them every day: take my vitamins in the morning and floss at night. I'm also starting up Wii Fit again, doing that two days a week, and doing my neti pot one day a week in hopes of eventually getting off Claritin (which is what finally cleared up the sinus problem I had for, oh, 12 years or so).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, another important aspect of the happiness project is the commandments. These are not specific resolutions, but guiding principles to keep in mind through all daily actions. Regardless of what happens in the course of the day, these commandments are supposed to help me remember how I want to act.

I stole three of my twelve (and the fact that there are twelve) from Gretchen, but the rest are mine. I'll go through them briefly to explain what I mean by them.

1. Be Jessica
Gretchen's first commandment is "Be Gretchen," and it's a good one. It essentially means that in all things, you should be striving to be more of your true self, and not trying to emulate others. I decided that one of the commandments I'd created previously, "Don't feel guilty if you're not doing anything wrong," rolls into this one. Mike likes to poke fun at the fact that I like to spend my Friday night reading a book and drinking tea, but you know what? That's who I am.

2. There is time
This is something I need to remind myself of a lot. If I have a lot on my plate, I start to get panicky. This is mostly because I like turning around assignments quickly. I have to remind myself that people don't expect things back right away. And if I'm doing a project for myself, like organizing my photos or researching my family tree, as much as I may like to get it done soon -- there is time. I'm 25 years old. I have a life ahead of me. Most of the time, it doesn't need to get done tomorrow, or even in the next week.

3. Prioritize right
This ties into the previous one. If I've started on a project, I want to finish it, sometimes unreasonably so. This Sunday I forced myself to put this into practice. I had been wanting for some time to sit down and go through our filing cabinet to scan and shred stuff we don't need anymore. I finally had a quiet afternoon, my computer, and my scanner all set up. But it was 4pm and I still needed to go grocery shopping. I hate going grocery shopping after dark, and right now it gets dark around 4:30pm here. Every fiber in my being wanted to stay in my warm apartment and start digging into my files, but I made myself go out shopping before I started on my project. I knew otherwise I'd never get out shopping.

4. One step at a time
This is similar to "There is time," but in practice it applies to different things. "There is time" has to do more with remembering how much time I have ahead of me, that things I want to do in my life don't have to get done in the next year (assuming I don't get hit by a bus or whatever). "One step at a time" is for those things that do need to get done in the next week, or the next day, or the next hour -- usually at work. It's a reminder to breathe and go methodically through my to-do list.

5. Don't get in a pissing contest
Also mentioned previously. I think I explained it enough before.

6. Do it before it's too late
Are you noticing a theme? Most of my faults have to do with time management. Which is weird, because people actually see me as managing my time very well, and I rarely procrastinate. But as a result, I get panicked about getting things done. Except... when I don't. Like the other day when Mike pointed out a very small tear in the knee of his jeans and asked me to fix it. What I should have said was, "Change your pants right now, I'll sew it up in five minutes." Instead my response was more like, "Mehhh ok" and I hoped that he would either sew it up himself, or it wouldn't get any bigger and I could do it later, or he would be smart and stop wearing the pants until they were fixed. Of course, none of these things happened, and now there is a giant hole in the knee of the jeans, which are sitting next to my nightstand until I have time to construct an actual patch for them and sew the whole thing together. If something doesn't have a deadline attached to it and I really don't want to do it, I have a bad habit of hoping it will go away. It doesn't. Thus this commandment.

I can see your eyes starting to glaze over, so I'll stop here for now and post the other six next week. I'm trying to post once a week on either Thursday or Friday. I'm also hoping to do Bloggiesta to make my blog a little sharper-looking and maybe get some more readers.

Stay tuned! Would love to hear your thoughts and whether you'd consider doing a happiness project for the year.

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