Monday, October 1, 2012

My Happiness Project

I couldn't wait to get my hands on Gretchen Rubin's newest book, Happier at Home.  As I read the forward, I knew this book was right up my alley.  It's as if Gretchen is in my head and is perfectly communicating the thoughts and feelings in my mind - something I've never had the ability to do well.  So reading what someone else has written that corresponds to my thoughts is reassuring.  As I'm nodding in agreement throughout the book, I find myself getting frustrated with myself that I had to read someone else's work to realize what is really going on in my head.  I don't beat myself up too badly though because not everyone has the same talents.  I am not a writer, a poet, or a lecturer and I'm okay with that.

Halfway through the book, I knew I wanted to embark on my own Happiness Project.  I had previously read, "The Happiness Project" and contemplated doing one then, but I never took the time to do it.  I internalized many of her suggestions and mantras but without writing them down, I realized I kept slipping and had nothing to hold myself accountable to.  It didn't take me long in this second book to realize I had dropped the ball the first time around and I vowed to not let this second opportunity pass me by.  

Not being one to overtax my brain, I took the easy(er) way out and used her subject topics as an outline.  I figured if I was nodding in agreement with her findings and misgivings, I could probably benefit from similar tactics.  As a way to hold myself more accountable, I decided to post the Project on here and to report back periodically with my progress.  I have high expectations for myself but I refuse to expect perfection.  I know I'm human and my unhappy side will rear it's ugly head from time to time.  That will only indicate growth, not imperfection.  I want to do this not only for myself, but for my family and those around me as well.  

For those of you unfamiliar with Gretchen's books, she divides her ideals up by month.  My plan will be similar to that, starting this month!  I had hopes of posting my outline for the year but I have so many thoughts running through my head right now, I think it's best to take it one month at a time, while reflecting on the upcoming month.  I chose to start with Parenthood because that's foremost on my mind these days and I want to address it sooner, rather than later.  

My plan is to start each month with a brief overview about what I hope to accomplish that month and then to give a few month progress reports along the way.  Without further ado, here's the plan for October.

The Happiness Project

  • Breathe - I often act hastily when someone misbehaves, only to regret my actions 2 minutes later.  I want to allow myself a moment to walk away from the situation, take a deep breath, collect my thoughts and come back to hopefully address the situation better.  Gretchen says you can't inflict your happiness project on others, but they can learn from your actions.  Colin has been struggling with dealing with his feelings and hasn't learned the proper way to communicate those feelings.  I'm hoping by setting a better example, he will, in turn, learn how to better deal with his feelings and emotions.

  • Be more playful - I have a picture in my head of what a perfect family looks like and I want that picture to become reality.  However, I feel like a cat chasing it's tail because I can't seem to achieve that lofty goal.  The truth is, every family has it's issues and we're no different.  That doesn't mean that I can't work towards what I hope for an desire.  Part of what embodies the "perfect family" in my eyes is a quiet, calm, creative aura.  I would love for the boys to play quietly and nicely together, while I cook dinner, pay bills, do projects around the house, etc.  The mothers out there are likely laughing right now and with good reason.  On the rare occurrences that my children actually are quiet and playing well together, I worry.  Has one of them suffocated the other and is trying to cover his tracks?  Have they both fallen off some piece of furniture and are laying unconscious somewhere?  Boys will be boys and I need to better embrace that.  I want to play more.  I want them to think of me as a cool mom, one who doesn't mind getting her hands dirty or breaking a sweat.  I will definitely have to learn the way boys play but I think it will bring me closer to them, which will bring me joy and happiness.
  • Monthly adventures - With the return of school, our daily routine has set in.  Who am I kidding, routine is my middle name, school has nothing to do with it!  While I think children thrive in routine-oriented settings (and often require it), I want to throw in a little element of surprise.  Colin has already started saying he doesn't want to go to school.  Call me crazy but I thought I had at least a few good years before that phrase set in.  I feel like he needs some excitement in his life that allows him a chance to have something to look forward to.  The anticipation would surely transcend on his daily mood and behavior, which we would all benefit from.  My thought is to start having bi-monthly adventures with him - one with me and one with Wes.  Some of them may be out of town, some may be in our backyard.  This will not only be fun for him, but will force me out of my comfort zone as well and let me utilize some of the creative juices that often lay dormant in my head. 

  • Hug and kiss - I already do both of these things but sometimes I let Colin slip out the door in the morning without a hug or kiss.  I want to stop what I'm doing, give him my full attention, and give him a meaningful hug and kiss.  He has struggled with giving and receiving affection as of late, so I'm hoping by creating a better routine, he will accept it as well.  I know my children know they are loved, but I want to that to be the last thing they remember before leaving the house and the first thing they think of when entering the house.  We will hug and/or kiss every time we leave or return to the house (and before going to bed).

What about you, are you interested in starting your own Happiness Project?  Or perhaps you already have one in place.  I'd love to hear about it!  I love getting ideas from other people that perhaps I wouldn't have thought of on my own.


1 comment:

  1. I love this! I'm just finishing her book and want to start my own happiness project. I think I'm going to start in November (since it's my birthday month)!