As promised, here is my Friday round-up post for the Happiness Project. Before I get into what I’ve done this week, let me tell you a bit about the Project itself.
One day while browsing around Borders (may they rest in peace), I came across a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The cover was bright and colorful, so I picked it up to read the blurb. Here’s the jist – despite having all the things that people assume will bring you “happiness,” Gretchen realized that she wasn’t a very happy person. So she spent a year researching what true happiness was, looking at everything from scientific studies to the words of the Dalai Lama. This book is an overview of her journey, along with tips on how to do your own Happiness Project.
For me, this seemed like a bolt of lightening out of the blue. I too had all the things that was supposed to make someone happy, and yet I wasn’t. I could never understand why I allowed myself to get so stressed or angry over small things. I immediately bought the book, looking forward to the miraculous change it would bring to my life.
And then it sat on my bookshelf for six months.
This year, I decided to go for it. I pulled my mother in with me because I knew she could probably benefit from the Project, but also because it’s always easier to do something when you have a partner in crime. I bought her the book for Christmas, along with a matching journal, and off we went.
The month of January is meant to focus on energy, recognizing all the things that drain you of energy and trying to either change them or eliminate them completely. It’s harder than you would think. So after reading the first chapter, here are my January goals for the Happiness Project.
- Get to bed earlier. I am such a night owl. I could easily stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning, which of course makes me feel terrible the next day. My plan is to try for lights out at 11. That might seem late to some people, but for me, that’s a vast improvement.
- Going along with that sentiment, I am going to try to disconnect myself from anything with a screen starting at 10:30, if not earlier. Studies have proven that having a screen in front of your face (whether it’s a computer, a television, or even a smart phone) stimulates the brain and makes it harder to completely relax. Not what you want when trying to get to sleep. Even though I usually read before bed, I’m including my Kindle in this. At 10:30, I’ll switch to a regular book.
- Walk more. It’s an exercise thing, which I’m not good at, but I want to try and wear my pedometer again. Right after Christmas, I had to run to the local mall on my lunch break and it was actually nice walking around there, looking at stuff. I might try to do that more often, since it’s too cold right now to walk much outside.
- Declutter. This was something that I had never really considered, but having a lot of clutter around the house can zap your energy right out. Especially when it gets so bad, you don’t know where to start to clean it up. You feel hopeless and, since you can’t figure out what to do, you just do nothing. Except feel bad about it. I went around, room by room, and made a list of all the places in the house that need decluttering. It’s going to take a while, but that’s fine. I’m going to start in my office, since grad school starts next week. It would be nice to have a clear, clean workspace.
So there you have it! My goals for January in the Happiness Project. Every Friday, I will keep everyone up to date with how it’s going. Keep an eye on the comments, because my mom might pipe up with her progress too.