September brings another year for me. It’s the month I was born. In more recent years this has not been a time of celebration as much as a time of reflection on growth, possibilities, and life. It seems like the perfect time to create a Happiness Project guided by the book of the same name by Getchen Rubin.
Every project needs a blueprint. Plotting a project takes time. You need to look at it from all angles, decide what should come first, and what is the best time for each step. As it turns out, a Happiness Project is no different.
I used four things to generate my blueprint:
- The First Splendid Truth from Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project
- A list I like to call “Things That Make Me Happy” — I know — creative, right?
- A quiz that Gretchen calls How Well Do You Know Yourself? which I would recommend to anyone contemplating a happiness project, or not.
- The Joy Diet by Martha Beck
At some point, I ran headlong into the conflict between what makes me happy and what I think should make me happy. For instance, all the experts say exercising will boost my energy, suppress appetite, and lift my mood. They also tell me if I don’t like exercise, I just haven’t found the right one. I like playing with the dogs, bicycling, gardening, and taking walks; none to the point of exhaustion. I have more interesting things to do with my time. Exercise makes me hungry, tired, and cranky. It’s right up there with doing laundry.
This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to exercise. Moderate exercise allows me to sleep better and keeps my joints mobile. And doing laundry keeps me looking and smelling fresh. Yet I’m never going to confuse either of them with happiness, and if I never had to do them again it would be okay with me!
By focusing on something I think should bring me happiness but doesn’t, I am neglecting something else that actually does. It occurs to me that this is how a Happiness Project works. I will be focusing on the things that make me happy. If I tell you to notice the red things in the room, you will instantly see them, whereas a minute ago you did not realize they were there. As I focus on the things that make me happy and the opportunities to create happiness, those things will appear in places they were once camouflaged.
I like finding myself one year older every September. The temperatures are usually cooling and the humidity is dropping. School busses once again follow their paths, the fruit is heavy on the trees, the garden swells with harvest. It is a good time for me to focus on energizing.
Here will be my daily intentions:
- Get Outside – That sounds simple enough, but some days I’m only outside long enough to walk the dogs and transfer from my car to work or home. I’ll be making a point of getting outside to feel the elements, hear the birds, and smile at someone.
- Music – I want to listen to at least one song that moves me in some way every day.
- Run an Errand – Getting things done energizes me. I love getting to the end of the day knowing I completed some little thing.
- 15 Minutes of Nothing – The first step to joy in Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet. This may well prove the most difficult action of the four.
- My Happiness Project (gonzwy.wordpress.com)
- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and “Happiness 101″ (blbouvre.wordpress.com)
- Joy & Serenity: My Very Own Happiness Project ♡ (joyandserenity.wordpress.com)