Posted in Happiness Project

Blueprint of Happiness Recap #2

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.

10238463774_373da92bb6_oDoing 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:

  • Fix
  • De-clutter
  • Desire

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


Trying to make sense of it all and . . . for the most part . . . doing it.

6 thoughts on “Blueprint of Happiness Recap #2

  1. Jean, I loved this post. I needed this post. The spreadsheet you set up is a grand idea. Did you get it from one of the books? It’s a great way to look at your progress. I especially liked ” I am a realist, leaning toward pessimism.”
    Yup, that’s me. My writing teacher asked if I always saw the glass half empty. I told her no, it was half full but someone kept shooting the damn glass full of holes. I think I will borrow a page from your book here and see if I can’t fully excavate my desire. So many of my dreams shriveled up and died and I’m struggling to find new ones so I don’t give up altogether. You are doing a good job here leading the way. Thanks.

    1. Thank you so much. I spent all week writing this. Writing and deleting and writing and deleting. I am so glad you gleaned something from it!! It seemed disconnected in some ways, but sometimes good enough is just the best we can do.

      You might want to check out Martha Beck’s books. This one is The Joy Diet, but she also has one called Finding Your North Star or something like that. The Joy Diet is going to get scarier as I go along, but each step builds on the next one. It is meant to be done in one-week steps, but she says you may use it at your own pace, and so I am working it into The Happiness Project and using 10 months. I think I really need the 10 months!! ha!

      Quite the visual — shooting the damn glass full of holes. I may use that too! I don’t think I’ve ever really had dreams. Sometimes. A few, I guess. I dreamt once that I would be a wife and mother and lead a traditional life. I’m still a mother, and will ever be one. Not sorry for that in the least.

    2. Oh . . .PS The spreadsheet I saw on someone else’s blog — she posted her daily checkoff sheet of how she was doing, so her readers can look at it at any given point to see if she is completing her tasks every day. It’s a more private journey for me, and so I shared how I thought I had done at it. If you actually saw how often I did my intentions, you might grade me differently 🙂 The book does suggest using charts and online Gretchen has spreadsheets you can download for that purpose.

      1. Thanks for all the info Jean. I have Martha Becks book “Finding your North Star”. I didn’t finish it and may go back. Have Gretchen’s Happiness book. You have given me new tools. I’ll look for Martha’s Joy book. I subscribe to her newsletter. Now I need to put in the time and work. Thanks for all the help.

      2. *sigh* It is work, isn’t it? We aren’t those people for whom this comes naturally. So there’s a newsletter? I’m off to find that. Thank you for THAT tool! . . .

  2. The quote by Shaw is one of my favorites. It’s good you have found habits you are enjoying and I for one enjoy the posts that have been coming from your walks 🙂

    What’s with the popularity of talk radio in the morning? I never got it. I am not a morning person so I want music to help me get moving and awake. You are right, most of what they discuss isn’t to my taste either.

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