My Happiness Project

I have become addicted to the RealSimple website and magazine. They offer such great, down-to-earth advice!!! I was reading an article about happiness. So, I tried to look at my life from the outside in…that’s when I realized I was not very happy. I couldn’t identify one specific thing but various aspects which weren’t pleasing to the palette if you will. It was then I instituted the “Happiness Project”.

I read a number of articles on about motivation, inspiration and the like and came up with a list of where to concentrate my efforts:

I think the biggest step would be to realize and identify the activities causing the most harm to your happiness. Mine was griping constantly at the boys to behave, pick up after themselves, etc. Another source of contention was the lack of a relationship with my hubby.

Two of the basics of this project are to get a decent amount of sleep and eat when you’re hungry. If not, it compromises all the other activities taking place.

I am trying to stop complaining about every little thing; this includes nagging. The amazing thing is I finally hear myself; before it was just as though I was thinking of other things while I was talking, so I truly couldn’t remember what I said when someone asked for me to repeat it. I take time to think about the words I’m about to say and the way they will be interpreted, especially by our children. I will leave hints, limit myself to one word, or just do it myself (just add it to my exercise for the day!). I try to take all the little things I would have bitched, whined and complained about to bed with me. That way, they will all be gone by morning!

If I’m not truly happy on a particular day, I do what any good woman does…I fake it!!! It’s amazing how if you “trick” yourself (and others) that you are actually in a good mood, you end up forgetting why you were in a bad mood! I guess it’s all the laughter and silliness that comes with being happy.

I’ve always been something short of a perfectionist at everything I do. Not by my own accord, I’m losing the battle with this and I’m finding it is a good thing. You don’t have to be right as long as you have fun being wrong! The amazing thing about being right is you really don’t learn anything, but if you’re wrong, you end up learning why you’re wrong as well as the right answers! Have fun failing – it’s kinda like practicing to make a baby!!!!

Speaking of perfectionism, learn to find the “good enough”. I’m one of those who research a new purchase to death! This takes a lot of time, effort, brain power, spreadsheets, etc. Make a list of criteria for your new purchase defining the basic item it MUST have for you to be happy…and be truthful!!! Does the new TV really have to be a 60” LCD wide screen with surround sound, sleep mode, and coffee maker? Not usually. Describe necessary features, the highest price you are willing to pay, etc. The first one you find meeting these criteria, BUY IT! Don’t keep searching for the next bargain. Call it a day and spend the remaining time doing something fun!

Also, speaking of making babies, sex is a multifaceted part of the Happiness Project. Not only do you improve your relationship with your partner (YAY!), but it is also exercise you LIKE to do. Would you rather spend an hour in the sack or an hour on the treadmill, hmmmmm???? Exercise boosts your mood with all those lovely chemicals it releases, well, sex adds to those too. It relieves stress, brings you closer to your partner, and no expensive equipment to buy (OK, you can if you want!).

Don’t use shopping, eating, or sleeping as a way to be happy. If you can’t get it from the intangible things in life, forget it! If a cookie makes you happy, you’re always going to be eating cookies then you get fat and start a whole different kind of unhappiness. Instead find an outlet, whether it be laughing children, a specific song, or even standing on your head. Choose something you can do anywhere at anytime.

I’m also trying to reduce forgetfulness. I hate when special days or events pass me by without even a glint of consideration. I implemented a do it or write it policy within my project. I carry a pen and piece of paper with me everywhere. So if I remember something I want (or have) to do, I can have a little reminder to do it. However, keep only ONE place for all of these, if not you’ll lose your lists and be just as bad off as you were before.

I am also trying to be more conscientious about the environment. Like last night I put a panel of fabric in the washer so I could start cutting it out today, however, as I was going to sleep I remembered I didn’t put it in the dryer (of course, I wrote this down by my bedside). I used this as one of my sustainability items for today; I try to do at least four things a day to help the environment. Isn’t of putting it in the dryer this morning, I laid it out on the ironing board. I saved energy from not using the dryer as well as the iron since it would have wrinkled by staying in the dryer all night. I have also instituted a recycling day. We already have library day (Tuesdays), but this will provide us a scheduled time to collect our recyclables from the week and take them to the University’s Center for recycling (Thursdays).

I’ve put little reminders around the house, work, my car, even my calendar. The good thing is I’m forgetful, so when I open my calendar every morning and the little funny face man I drew on July looks at me, I just have to smile. I’ve used funny pictures of the boys, crazy little animal pictures I found on the internet or just jokes that catch me funny. Whatever works!


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