Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happiness Project (Month 2)

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a book I read called The Happiness Project. This self-help memoir by Gretchen Rubin, described her quest to become a happier person. (Check out my blog post here. My goal for the first month (April) was to boost my energy. I succeeded and then some. Some of the sub-goals I had set for myself failed miserably, but I learned a lot about myself in the process.

My twelve steps to having more energy in April were:

  1. No electronics after 9:30. I've read that cutting out electronics 30 minutes prior to going to sleep will create a much deeper sleep, but let's be honest... I failed miserably at this. I did this THREE out of 30 nights. I need to fall asleep to a TV show, light music, and/or texting my boyfriend. It's as simple as that. And it's okay because THAT brings me happiness. 
  2. Get up at 6 AM on the weekdays & 9 AM on the weekends. I passed with flying colors. I did this 26/30 days this month and I think that's a pretty good track record. Getting up and starting the day with a little extra time before work has given me a great energy boost and has me going to sleep earlier.
  3. Get ready for bed at 8:30 PM (Sunday-Thursday nights.) I did this 22/30 nights. I found that getting ready for bed earlier in the night trained my brain to realize that this is time to start winding down. Most nights I found myself crawling into bed around 9 because I was all ready and relaxed.
  4. Walk 10,000 steps a day. I strapped a pedometer onto me for 30 days and found the results very interesting. By now I can tell you if I walked 10,000 steps per day or not by the day I've had without even looking at the pedometer. I only completed this 13/30 days, but found almost all 17 extra of those days to be within 500-1000 steps of my goal. Some days I walked as many as 14,000-16,000 steps! By walking at least 10,000 steps a day, you are burning fat all day long. I have found myself squeezing in a few extra steps in little ways, such as parking in the farthest away spot at work or walking a half a mile extra in the morning with the baby.
  5. Strength train 20 minutes a day, 3 times per week. This boosted my energy and has helped me to lose some of my upper arm flab. I have found a good weight regimen a couple days a week and also LOVE going on rocky hikes with the stroller that have my arms doing serious pushing! I completed this 3/4 weeks and missed 1 day in the second week.
  6. 5 minutes of sunshine each day. I did this every day but once this month, and that was a day I worked from sunrise to well beyond sunset. I loved this challenge! My walks with the baby give me plenty of sunshine, but last week when I got my bloodwork results back and my doctor told me how dangerously low my vitamin D levels are, I wondered how even scarier it would be if I wasn't spending time in the sun!
  7. Do what ought to be done. I did it. EVERY. DAMN. DAY. I made to-do-lists and prioritized them. I did things I've been putting off for months! I made a dentist appointment. I made a doctor appointment AND went. I even got my car detailed!
  8. Declutter. This was a difficult one for me because I had just moved back home a couple months ago and did a lot of decluttering then. However, I decluttered what I could! It definitely boosted my energy because I felt a lot more positive without a bunch of junk lying around and weighing me down.
  9. Virtual move. (While decluttering, if you wouldn't pack it while moving, THROW IT OUT.) See above. They go hand in hand. But I threw a LOT away.
  10. Tidy up for 10 minutes at night. I'll admit I was awful about this and I wish I had been better. Some nights I go to bed covered in clothes, stuff I haven't put away from Target, and books because I'm too lazy to take a few minutes to put everything away before falling asleep. And that REALLY cramps my energy.
  11. Make a to-do-list each day. I have always done this (my mom says since kindergarten!) and I continued. I did it 29/30 days this month, and the one day I didn't do it, I felt great! It was nice to have one day where I still got stuff done, but didn't feel pressure to do a million little things. I might start making it a monthly occurrence to have one day like this.
  12. Act with more energy. (Fake it til you make it!) By having The Happiness Project on my mind, I was continuously trying to think of ways to become more energetic. I've been eating better, working out, drinking more water, taking vitamins, and becoming an all around healthier, happier person!
My happiness goal for May is to strengthen my relationship with my boyfriend. I'm very content in our relationship and couldn't love him anymore. However, I know I can be a better girlfriend to him. I've set specific goals on how I think I can complete this goal, and at the end of the month will ask HIM how he thinks I did and what I can do better. Here they are:
  1. Don't expect praise or appreciation, but be sure to give him praise and appreciation where it is deserved. I will not do things because I think it will make him happy, but I will do it because I think it will make me happy too. (For example, I won't just cook a dinner with the attitude that I think it will please him, I will do it with the attitude that I enjoy cooking and love to eat just as much as everyone else!)
  2. Fight right! Don't snap and make repair attempts early on the things I think can become bigger things. Say "Oh well!" to the little things that do NOT need to become big things.
  3. There is only love, so I will show him (not just tell him!) how much I love him everyday.
  4. Remember that my mood affects his mood and no one wants to hear me complain.
  5. I love it when he brings me flowers, so I will learn and do what he finds romantic. I will find out what "his flowers" are.
  6. I will have one week of EXTREME nice. This week will be May 1-8 and I will hope that by having that one week, my niceness will seep into all the other weeks.
  7. I will love him just as he is, for all that he is, and how God so perfectly made him.
I challenge you all on your own quests for happiness. What makes you happy?


"To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth."

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