If you’ve been paying attention, and you actually do the math, at some point you’re going to realize that anyone who designs a Happiness Project with a minimum of three intentions per month, will have 33 new habits at the end of the eleven months. The twelfth month is dedicated to reflection on all of them.
Having 33 new habits would be a piece of cake (and I can’t tell you how happy cake makes me), if I didn’t already have about 102 other good and bad habits that I do every day. I know few people who could fit that many more things in their already packed schedule. Presumably, some of these happier habits are meant to squeeze out the ones that don’t add to my life, and I will be pleased with the results . . . like having to toss your old furniture when you bring in the new stuff.
Using a letter grading system on the frequency of practice, the quality of my practice, and the satisfaction I get from it, I rated myself. My report card looks like THIS.
And how is this affecting my other habits; the good and bad ones I already had?
Getting outside is by far the best intention I have made so far. It lifts my spirits, grounds me with my community and nature, and makes me move a little bit. This is definitely better than being inside.
Finding decent music on the radio during my twelve-minute (yes, twelve minutes — don’t hate me) commute isn’t always easy. The morning shows are all talk, trying to be funny, but coming off as negative, sarcastic and cynical. Eventually I can usually find a station playing some kind of music. Getting my groove on may not be a life-altering behavior, and certainly isn’t replacing any other, but it puts a bounce in my step that the morning joe can’t match.
Doing nothing for 15 minutes, or eating mindfully doesn’t replace other behavior as much as it requires you to ignore distractions. This is what creates the challenge, and thus the lack of frequency. Sometimes finding the right setting, away from diversion is key.
Pausing to stop, look, and listen replaces a habit of mindlessly walking from here to there. It acts like a camera where you look through a lens and see the everyday world in a new way.
This month has its own challenges as the days are shorter, and have me driving home with headlights. The shivery temperatures, and lack of sunshine bring me down. It’s a good time to focus on the home, fix what is broken, throw out what is unused or unappreciated, and make room for new ideas.
My intentions for the month of November are:
I think defining aspirations must come easy for some people. They always know exactly where they are heading, even if they don’t know where they will end up. I am not one of those people. I am a realist, leaning toward pessimism. If the grass looks greener on the other side, experience has taught me that it isn’t. Even if it is, I’m well aware there are also dandelions, stickers, and possibly a wolf. No, I’m the kind of person who keeps her sites set firmly on this side of the fence and makes the best of it. Exploring my true yearning is going to be a challenge.
The two books I am working with, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and The Joy Diet by Martha Beck, truly work quite well together. I can begin to see pieces of my desire by looking at which intentions come easily and what gives me the most satisfaction.
There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.
— George Bernard Shaw