Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Happiness Project

Nearly three years ago I was in a funk, so as I browsed the shelves of the bookstore, I noticed a book called The Happiness Project.  I read the description & it really seemed to be something that pertained to me so I decided to buy it.  

I read part of it, but I tapered away from it for whatever reason.  Now that we're facing the end of a year & the beginning of another, I decided to pull it off the bookshelf & start over.  It's a good time for a fresh start with the new year & the fact that we've moved into a new house.  One of the lines in the book that I think about a lot is, "the days are long but the years are short."  This is so true, especially when you have small children.  Some days, especially when they're whiny & needy, the days seem to drag on & on & I keep looking at the clock wondering if bedtime will ever arrive.  But then as the birthdays whiz by, you can hardly believe how quickly it's happened.  So, I'm reading this book to try to help me take steps in making the most of my life.  I really fear getting old & looking back on my life with regret.  Especially feeling like I didn't truly realize just how great it was until it was over.  And like the author, Gretchen Rubin, I am happy, but maybe I'm not as happy as I should be.  I find that I'm very easily annoyed, I let other people's moods affect my own, I have a hard time relaxing on weekends since I'm so wound up, I buzz around cars while I'm driving, cursing in my head for their lack of turn signal, slow speed, etc.  And I often wonder why I feel so angry at the slow driver in front of me.  Where is it stemming from?

So, it's not as if I'm thinking this book is going to cure me & turn me in to an entirely happy person, but I'm hoping it will at least help. The book is broken down by months, starting with January which is all about boosting energy.  Part of the boosting of energy is having an uncluttered life with less, more organized belongings.  I've come to accept that fact that I will literally never ever be a person that can relax when my house is in disarray.  I can try to fight it, but why?  I may as well accept it & work with it.  I have an advantage with organization since we recently moved into a house that's more than twice the size of the one we moved out of.  It's so much easier to be organized with more space.  Plus, I'm not a hoarder by any means, so I have little sentimental attachments to my belongings & easily toss things away.  January also focuses on going to bed early, getting plenty of rest & exercising more.  I'm working on getting myself to bed earlier since I'm getting up for the gym before work three times a week.  It's not easy to pop out of bed at 5am when it's pitch black outside, but I know there's not a chance I'll go to the gym after work.  When the house is finally quiet & I actually have a moment to do what I want to do after the kids are in bed, I tend to make myself stay awake.  Having that looming early wake up call helps me get my butt in bed since I know I'll feel like crap the next day if I stay up.  Energy level does have so much to do with attitude & happiness.  The main thing I need to work on in January is tackling a nagging task.  There are dozens of little things that clutter my brain that I need to just knock off my to-do list.  For instance, I need to get to the dermatologist for a skin check.  I also need to work on my continuing education hours to maintain my credentials.  These are the things I think about in the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep.  Some of thing things that nag at me are tasks that take only minutes to complete.

I'm not at all into New Year's resolutions, but oddly enough I'm being interviewed tomorrow by the local paper about resolutions for weight loss & healthy eating.  I'm way more into realistic, long-lived goals since I hate setting myself up for failure.  I'm going to try my best to use this book throughout the year in hopes that it improves me as a person.  I'm such a sucker for self-help!  Are you planning on doing anything differently in the New Year?  Any resolutions you might have?

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  1. I really enjoyed The Happiness Project. I also really enjoy resolutions though I try to look at them like goals (easily attainable). Happy new year to you and your family!

  2. I think I need to buy this book! As always, I can relate Allison.

  3. Sounds like an interesting read! I may have to pick it up!

  4. It's a good, smooth read so far. I think it's great to constantly review the way you're living your life & try to make little tweaks to improve things.

  5. Sounds good! You may also consider balancing energy with the help of an acupuncturist.