Holy crap! It's November!
Time for a happiness project check-in!
I did slightly better this month with my previous months' goals, though I'm still working on it. The main thing I've been letting slide is sending e-mails to friends. But I've been doing more social events: we had new friends over for dinner a week ago, we're planning a party for this month, and I even attended a fundraising event at work where I joined my coworkers in humiliating myself by singing a song from Sesame Street. Yup, I'm awesome.
How about October's goals? I did make myself some lists of what I love about fall and winter, and I've been doing my best to act on them. I've been drinking hot apple cider and eating roasted pumpkin seeds. Now that I'm doing our meal planning, we're having soup for dinner once a week. I try to notice the colors of the leaves every time I drive through our neighborhood.
I made it in under the wire with buying layers; I went out last night (Oct. 31) and got a blazer I can wear over my sweater and a short-sleeve shirt with a scoop neck for under my button-down. I figured it was best to find a way to add layers to the style I already have. I'd like to get some more shirts to go under, but I'm mostly glad I've gotten started in the right direction.
So, what will November's focus be? I wanted it to be a good one, as it's the last new one of the year. (December is supposed to be a "boot camp," where you try to do all of your resolutions every day that you want to carry forward into the new year.) But I also didn't want to overwhelm myself now that I've gotten involved in so many things.
I finally settled on Home. I remembered that Gretchen's new book is going to be called Happier at Home. I've made a lot of resolutions that play out at home, like repairing things right away and trying to follow the one-minute rule for putting things away, but I haven't put a purposeful focus on making our apartment a happy place to be. After I read this post on Modern Mrs. Darcy about the importance of physical environment, I realized I should put a greater priority on this.
So here are the things I came up with:
- Make a list of steps to finish our art project. Mike and I have an art project we're making that is about 90% done, and I remembered Katy Wolk-Stanley's suggestion to finish up these kinds of projects so they're not nagging at you every time you look at them. Notice I didn't say my resolution is to finish it; I'm separating planning from doing to overcome the hurdle of inaction and because we may not have time to actually finish it this month. But I know having a clear plan of small steps, and possibly a timeline as well, will be a push toward finishing it.
- Do a 5-minute clean-up before bed. This is one of those things Mike and I say every few months that we want to go back to doing, and then it lasts for maybe a day. But I've learned that all I need to do to build a new habit is add it to my resolutions chart, and it starts happening. So my goal is to spend 5 minutes before bed just going around the apartment and clearing clutter and putting things where they belong.
- Design a more attractive way to meal plan. I am so out of my element with any sort of cute home decorating thingy like you see all over Pinterest, and I'll admit this resolution is as much about function as it is about decoration. Right now I have a Word template I created for meal planning that I like a lot, but basically I just fill it out for the week and stick it on the fridge. Then I print out any recipes we need for the week. (Sidenote: I'm torn about this because it's not very earth-friendly even though I'm printing on the back of used paper, but it's so much easier to find recipes on Internet using exactly what's in the house than finding them in our cookbooks. At the end of every week I've been copying our favorites onto cards in my recipe binder, so my hope is to eventually have a big enough collection of favorite recipes that I can just pull out the cards for the week and put them somewhere attractively.) I write the appropriate day of the week on each recipe and stick them all on a shelf above the kitchen counter. I would love a cleaner, more attractive method for displaying our meal plans and recipes for the week without adding too much time to my weekly planning. Suggestions?
That's the plan for Home. Tell me, how do you make your home a happier place?