Where Logic Meets Love

The Happiness Project: February Is Framework Month

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

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The Happiness Project: February Is Framework Month | Faith Permeating Life

It's February 1 and time for a Happiness Project check-in!

January was devoted to Health. I gave up on the Neti Pot pretty quickly -- too much misery for too little payoff. It's good for when I'm sick, but I don't want to do it otherwise. Everything else -- taking my vitamins, flossing, and exercising -- I did consistently. I wouldn't say that doing those things, in and of themselves, made me happy, but I learned that with a little accountability (my resolutions chart) I can get myself to do things that I would otherwise talk myself out of. And that is definitely something to be happy about.

These steps, along with the commandments "Prioritize right" and "Do it before it's too late," have actually had a surprisingly substantial effect on my life already. I'm able to push myself a little harder and take care of things when I first think about them. If I'm tempted to put something off, I force myself to dive in and do it immediately so it's out of the way. It's like Mike said to me the other night when I said it stressed me out to wake up to dirty dishes -- he said he wasn't stressed out about it if he didn't do the dishes, but when he did do them, he felt more relaxed. And I know what he means. I think there are a lot of small things throughout my day that don't conscious stress me out, but by not allowing them to build up I keep myself in a much more relaxed and peaceful state of mind.

February is intended for setting my framework for the year. (I thought about making it January, but I wanted some more tangible steps to make the first month.) I originally called it "Expectations" but that wasn't exactly right. In line with the commandment "There is time," I want to be more aware of the moment and where I am in the grand scheme of life.

One of my goals is that every day I write down something I'm looking forward to in the next day, week, month, and year. This is for a few reasons. I hope to always have something that gets me up in the morning, even if it's something small. (For me, a day where I get to play with SPSS all day is one I'm excited about.) I want to remind myself that good things are coming down the road. And I want my subconscious to have a way to compare where I am to where I'm going to be to keep me moving toward my goals.

Going along with this last point, I am also going to "do my homework" once a week. This is a concept that comes from Scott Smith at Motivation to Move, and I've mentioned before that I listen to his Daily Boost podcast. Every Monday he asks if you've done your homework -- taken a few minutes over the weekend to sit down with a pen and paper and ask, "How's my life going?" So I want to do that once a week, to check in with myself and make sure everything I'm doing in my life is consistent with where I want to be going.

Also, in keeping with the commandment "Count your blessings," I'm going to start a gratitude journal and jot down something I'm grateful for every day. This is to give myself the framework and the reminder that I have many blessings in my life. I already have the habit of thanking God for things throughout the day, but I'm hoping by putting myself in a grateful state of mind I will be able to focus on the good even when things are going badly.

That ought to be enough to keep me busy for the month! With luck, these will become habit (as my Health resolutions are starting to) by the time I move into March.

How about you? What do you do to be mindful of the moment and how it fits into the scheme of life?


  1. Just so you know, "For me, a day where I get to play with SPSS all day is one I'm excited about." made both my husband and me shudder. :D

    For me, I try to be aware of how much time I spend online and how much of that online-time is spent doing something tangible - writing a blogpost, reading blogs, listening to podcasts - learning something, communicating with other people. If I'm just refreshing my facebook news feed, my blog stats, my twitter ... that's a sign I need to turn it off and do something else.

  2. @Carla

    Haha, I think there's a reason my work jumped through hoops to get me my new position--few people are crazy enough to love sorting datasets as much as I do :)

    You hit on a source of guilt for me--how much time I spend online--which is a good sign that I should try to be mindful of that as well. The funny thing is that I often feeling like I've accomplished nothing even if I've actually done something (like I just wrote a blog post plus a backup post and then spent half an hour watching the videos on your blog and discussing them with my husband). I think tracking how I spend my time online for a while could be worthwhile both in keeping me from wasting time and helping me see that I was actually being productive. But yeah, the refreshing--that is a sign of boredom I should pay attention to more often :)


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