“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” – Benjamin Franklin.
Since reading The Happiness Project, I’ve been Gretchen’s fan. What I loved most about the book is that she wasn’t looking to make a drastic change in her life, she was just looking to be happier. And so she focused on creating habits that made her so. For example, in January, her resolution was to Clear Her Closets (to boosts her energy) and her micro-actions for January were to: Clear her closets, Tackle a Nagging task, Keep a food diary, Restore, maintain, organize, use her to-do list, Identify the Problem, Follow the “one-minute rule,” and Observe the evening tidy-up. When she completed her tasks, she would get to tick-off her resolution chart. After thirty days of boosting her energy, she was ready to tackle her second month of resolutions which was to Quit Nagging (work on her marriage). Her micro-actions for February were: Quit nagging, Don’t expect praise, Take time to be silly, Fight right, no snapping, Don’t make Jamie my dumping ground, Give proofs of love, Think of small treats of courtesies, and Leave things unsaid. And on went her entire year, in which one of her resolutions was to start the Happiness Project blog and that got her a book deal, and now she’s a happiness guru that many people follow and listen too, including me.
I test-ran my own happiness project during December 2011 and the results were eye-opening. I suck at having a routine during vacation. Most of the time, I don’t exercise (In New York during Christmas, I exercised TWICE); I don’t eat well, as I’m not cooking and I’m going out; I don’t take time to read blogs I care about; I don’t write or draw. In spite of having a blast, I don’t do any daily habits that bring me contentment. I’m partially a fan of this as it makes me realize how much I love my everyday, but one of my primary goals for 2012 is to keep my habits while traveling. I also learned that doing 150 squats/day was not going to happen, so for January, I cut that down to 10 squats/day and that’s become manageable. Aside from the failures, I learned that I love making the effort to complete these small tasks that bring me so much enjoyment. I also don’t mind staying up late and sacrificing some sleep to journal, read, and write. I completed each of my daily 10 December Tasks during 13 days of December. Given that it only takes 21 days to make a habit, and that I traveled to New York and Barcelona during December, that’s a pretty good ending to an amazing year.
My themes for 2012 are: failure and presence. I want to fail, fail, and fail and enjoy every moment. My top priorities for 2012 are: loving, traveling, embracing my creativity, becoming healthier and stronger, and paying off credit-card debt. We welcomed 2012 in Barcelona and will be visiting Paris and Munich in January. With the above thoughts in mind, I began my 2012 Happiness Project on January 3rd. For a month, I am focused on completing the below tasks. I already failed one day, but I got back up, stronger than ever.
- Send a post card to my loves
- Eat vegetables, don’t have rice, pasta, bread, cheese, chocolate, or alcohol (this is in an effort to go paleo)
- Read a health blog (my go to site is the nyc crossfit blog)
- Read a book (Currently reading Incendiary by Chris Cleave)
- Reduce follow-up emails; I tend to flag my work emails and the list just keeps growing and growing and…growing
- Draw and Journal
- Real El Tiempo
- Be tight; exercise; 45 bridge holds; 45 walking bridge holds; 45 good mornings; 10 wall squats; work on arm strength. (this is to be stronger at Crossfit)
- Market Blog and Mi-Bra by social media and by commenting on other blogs
- No clothes shopping and Cook breakfast
- Spend five minutes working on my novel
- Push myself
- Help market my brother’s start-up
- Call my grandmothers
- Call my parents twice
- Don’t use plastic bags
- Learn Chess
- Swahili Practice
- Do one guest post
- Sell one freelance article
At the end of January, I’ll post any lessons learned, my success rate, and my daily habits for February. This will be a year of marvelous change and challenge and I can’t wait!