Where Logic Meets Love

The Happiness Project: April is Relationships Month

Saturday, April 2, 2011

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The Happiness Project: April Is Relationships Month | Faith Permeating Life

I know, I know, I'm late on this post -- I have been so wiped out the last couple days. I got home from class at 7:30 last night, ate dinner, and went straight to bed. I spent most of today sleeping. I'm really praying I don't have a relapse back into mono. Poor Mike is sick of me not having energy!

Anyway, without further ado, it's time for a happiness project check-in!

I'm still keeping up with my January and February goals. March was devoted to what I called "preparedness," and I did OK with it. I think God must have been having fun with me because practically every pair of tights I owned got a hole in them at the beginning of the month, along with a pair of pants and a few other things. While I didn't get everything repaired immediately (that might have been overly ambitious), I did make myself stop wearing anything that needed repair and got it sewn up within a few days.

I've been doing well with making sure I have everything I need before I leave the house. (I came up with a simple at-the-door question, "Tea or tissues?" as a check of the two most common things I forget to replenish: tissues in my purse and tea bags at work.) And forcing myself to save every new document I open at work has given me some peace of mind.

I put off the emergency plan until the very end of the month, but I finally got on ready.gov and discussed with Mike what our meeting places would be if our apartment, neighborhood, or city were evacuated, respectively. I put together a list of emergency supplies we need to have at home and in each car, and we bought some of those supplies today (including, finally, a fire extinguisher). He asked if he could pretend we were preparing for a zombie apocalypse so it would be more fun for him. I said sure.

I realized that I should also expand the notion of preparedness to non-emergency situations. For example, neither of us drink coffee, but we have a little coffeepot for guests -- but we own no actual coffee or coffee filters, so it's kind of useless. We also have an air mattress for guests but no clean set of sheets designated for guests. (We have two sets of sheets for ourselves that we rotate, but I'd feel better having a separate set for guests.) So stuff like that I want to work on getting together.

Moving on!

April is dedicated to relationships. This means both strengthening existing relationships and being open to new ones. With that in mind, here are the three daily goals added to my resolution calendar:
  • Pay a compliment. A while back, I read the book The Luck Factor, which talked about how the difference between "lucky" and "unlucky" people really lies in a few key differences in how they approach life. One area where I decidedly fail the "luck test" is in being willing to strike up conversations with strangers. One of the main reasons lucky people are lucky is that they make friends with everyone, so when they're looking for help with something, they "just happen" to meet someone who can help them. I decided that one way I can get myself more comfortable talking to strangers is to pay a compliment to someone every day. So far, I am 0 for 2. I keep forgetting I'm supposed to do this, and when I think of it, I don't see anyone or anything in particular to compliment. So I will work on this!
  • Always have an e-mail draft. Like everyone else, I'm always thinking of people I haven't seen in a while that I should catch up with. I think, oh, I should send them an e-mail and see how things are going, just let them know I'm thinking of them. The problem is, I always think I need to devote a long amount of time to composing such an e-mail, and since I don't seem to have the copious amounts of time needed, I just never do it. My solution: Require myself to always have a draft of an e-mail in my gmail. This way I've always at least started an e-mail, and since I'll have that bold "Drafts (1)" staring at me, I'll be more likely to spend a few minutes working on the e-mail whenever I have a chance.
  • Say yes to social events. I am an introvert in the truest sense; that is, being around a lot of people drains my energy, and being alone re-energizes me. This means that when presented with a social event -- more often than not, getting together with coworkers after work -- I tend to say no, because after a long day at work I would rather go home, eat dinner with my husband, and curl up on the couch with my laptop. In the back of my mind, though, I realize that this could be detrimental to my career, or just generally to establishing more solid relationships with people. So my goal for the rest of the year is, whenever possible, to accept an invitation to spend time with other people.

And that's it! That's my roadmap for improving the relationships in my life, beginning this month. You may notice I didn't mention my marriage as a relationship, but that's a whole other ball of wax, as they say. I may devote a month later this year to my marriage, if I can come up with a few specific resolutions I'm not already trying to work on. (I'm sure Mike could come up with some for me!)

What other suggestions do you have? How do you work on improving the relationships in your life?


  1. I read the Happiness Project and really enjoyed it (Positive Psychology was one of my focuses in college), but I implememented bit of it to my life, rather than her month-by-month appraoch. Do you mind me asking how it's going? Do you think the changes will be both posiitve and long-lasting? I'm thinking about starting that come the new year.

    I really love your blog, so thank you for doing what you do! :)

  2. @analyfe
    I did a mid-year check-in at the end of June in which I talked about the positive changes that my happiness project has made in my life. I will do another one at the end of the year.

    Some of my resolutions were one-time things (like making a work portfolio and getting our emergency kits together), but some I do hope will carry past this year, particularly exercising, nightly prayers with Mike, and lunch with a friend once a month. If I have to keep making myself a paper calendar every month to make that happen, I'll do it!

    The nice thing about doing a happiness project is that you can make it entirely your own, focused on the things that make you happy. I recommend trying it!


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