I don’t make resolutions each new year but I do set goals and this year have decided to choose a word as a theme. This year’s word is Happiness. I chose this word before I found this book. When I found the book it felt like serendipity. I plan to review this book but not before the end of the year. I love the concept of finding more happiness. After the train wreck of 2020, this seemed like something I could attempt to do.
I found this book during one of my trips to a local book store and after reading the blurb thought it intriguing. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is a book she wrote mapping out her process to become happier. Like me, she said she wasn’t depressed. She was happy but she felt she could be happier. All credit for this idea goes to Gretchen, I will just apply her ideas to my own life and hopefully find more happiness in 2021.
From what I have read so far, I would recommend it. She approaches this with a serious attitude but also with a little lighthearted feel. So far, I feel like her January goals are something that I could benefit from but like she says everyone is an individual and we all have different needs. If I continue to find this book useful, I will continue reading her monthly sections and applying some of the things she does to make her life happier to my life or discover ways to meet my own challenges that are affecting my happiness. Obviously we are two different people who may have different definitions of happiness but what I have read so far, I think we have enough in common to make this little project worthwhile.
Each month she decides what things she needs to do with her life to become a happier person. January involves boosting her energy. She chose that topic because with more energy she thought it would make it easier for her to make more changes as the year unfolds. Each month she shares anecdotes about her own life and how she plans to make the journey toward more happiness. I plan to review each month and adapt her ideas or add some of my own so that they will work for me. January felt like she truly was talking to me personally. All of her suggestions sounded doable so here we go.
For January I plan to start this journey of transformation by doing the things she suggests for more energy. The first is to get more sleep. I do struggle with this. I tend to be a night owl. Now that I am retired, I thought that was no big deal but it is. I like to be more productive especially now that my days are spent doing the things I want to do. So I have committed to going to sleep earlier so that I can wake up feeling more refreshed and able to go the whole day without longing for a nap. This is day four so far and I did get nine hours of sleep Saturday night.
The next step is Exercise Better. This one isn’t quite as foreign as it might have seemed because my hubby and I have been walking together for a few months now. With the cold weather, it does make it a little more challenging but we are finding ways around it by walking during the warmest part of the day. We also vary where we walk, most of the time it is around the neighborhood but we have expanded to a small lake in our area as well as downtown Des Moines and especially an area called The East Village. We have discovered new shops we enjoy visiting, like the spice shop and a popcorn shop. We have also gone to a local mall that is struggling so, unfortunately for the mall but fortunately for us we do feel safer walking there when the weather is really too cold outside.
The third step is to Toss, Restore, and Organize. This too is something that I have been working on for the past year. I take a different location in my home to de-clutter each week. I don’t do everything all at once. I set a timer and maybe clean out a closet, cupboard, or bathroom vanity and do a little bit at a time. Like another YouTuber I follow, it is progress not perfection.
The next step is Tackle a Nagging Task. This involves doing something that you keep putting off. Maybe make an appointment with the dentist or an eye exam. Just find one thing that you need to do but have ignored for too long.
The last step is to Act More Energetic. This is basically the same concept as we act a certain way because of how we feel when in reality we feel a certain way because of the way we act. I know what I want to change for this step and I hate to admit it here as I type in my office in my pajamas but I know I would feel better about myself if I would get up in the morning and get my stuff done earlier and then shower and dress before noon. I know that this is true because I worked from home for the last three years before retirement and I had the opportunity to work in my pajamas if I chose to but because of my work ethic, I only took advantage of doing that when I was ill. Every other day, I got up like I had all those many years, dressed, put on make up and fiddled with my hair so that I was presentable. Though our virtual meetings were scheduled, we never knew when a supervisor might plan a surprise virtual one on one. I could not let that happen and not be prepared. So that is on my calendar this month to change. This is January 4th as I type this and I will admit, it did not happen today. Tomorrow is another day and I will do better. To do my part to help make these changes happen, I have written down a step each day that addresses each of these areas in my planner. As I do them, I can cross them off. I will see what works and what doesn’t and share my results. I have a feeling that even if I don’t make all the changes, I will see improvements that will make me happier. Again, progress not perfection.
What do you do at the beginning of each new year? Do you set resolutions or goals? If you do, please feel free to share them. Have you heard of this book and maybe tried this yourself? If so, was it successful?
Well lunch is calling me. May 2021 bring us all more happiness. Unless this project takes a weird turn and I abandon it, I will follow up monthly with updates.
Until next time…