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In 2009, Gretchen Rubin published The Happiness Project, detailing her year-long experiments in being happier. I didn’t hear of it until November 2013, when my friend Shannon wrote about it at her blog Salt Lick Lessons. And then it took me more than a year to actually read the book…
…because, honestly? I believe deep down that my pursuing happiness would be selfish.
Doing more for others? Sure, that’s fine. Doing more to change the world? Absolutely! Putting energy into a big project just to make myself happier? WHAT?! If I want to be happier, clearly I should just work harder, use that energy to help other people, and have a more grateful attitude.
But it’s hard to do that when you’re worn out and borderline miserable. Which, due to various events in the last few years, seems like my permanent state of being. I need to change all that. What I’m doing isn’t working. For me, or anyone around me. (You can ask them!) I want to get back to the gal who volunteers, supports her friends, and keeps her promises.
So I’m starting my own year-long happiness project. Rubin had a small handful of items she focused on each month. I’ve decided I can manage just one. And I can’t wrap my head around planning all twelve months of it right now, but I’ve got January and February figured out.
January is for Routines. We’re re-establishing household routines that collapsed in the fall, and making them work better so they won’t break so easily under pressure. We’re making some things into routines that were basically handled as afterthoughts to our schedule before. (Like housecleaning and cooking. Yeah, I know, that’s bad.) I’m using HabitRPG to track and nurture my positive behaviors. And I’m hoping my anarchist-spirited husband doesn’t feel completely suffocated by this at the end of the month.
February is going to be for Decluttering. There is so much STUFF in our house and garage. As I told Boy Detective, me trying to run my life with this much clutter is like him trying to do multiplication while someone’s running the blender. He hates the blender. (But he loves smoothies, so it’s a hard life.)
If I do those two, I’ll be in a better state to figure out what the next 10 months should be about. That’s the theory, anyway.
Wish me luck!