Now that I actually have some structure to a happiness project, it feels more real and exciting. I won’t lie – it also seems a little more daunting. What was generally just a passing thought in my day about how I can be happier is now an actual plan. Thankfully I strive on lists, plans and goals, so hopefully there’s nothing to worry about.
Like Gretchen Rubin did, I started by having a theme for each month. Unlike her, though, I didn’t necessary have particular aspects I wanted to focus on. Instead I used alliteration and holidays. Whatever works, right?
August: Turning over a new leaf
September: Self Discovery – Focusing on my Social and Spiritual life
October: Outside the box
November: Be grateful
December: Be present in the season of joy
I don’t want to go overboard and post the goals I have for each month, especially since the ones later on are likely to change. I’ve got my August goals all mapped out, though, and that’s what counts.
The inspiration for this month came from wanting to capture the excitement I generally feel when starting a new school year – having a fresh start, meeting new classmates, organizing my newly acquired school supplies and books. I always love the beginning of the school year and thought it might be something I miss this fall. With the happiness project, though, I don’t think I will given what I’ve got planned—
- Find an organization to join. Just because I’m not in school doesn’t mean I can’t be part of an organization or group anymore. I was tempted to say join an organization, but I didn’t want to join one willy-nilly just to accomplish this goal. I’m already getting information about two organizations, but I don’t want to jump the gun. I want to make sure joining something enhances my happiness, not just adds something to my planner and list of responsibilities. But I definitely feel like it’s time to get involved in my community.
- Start my resolution again. Before vacation and Juneathon, I had a pretty consistent schedule of working out, in part because of my new year’s resolution. That fell to the wayside in late May and it’s time to get back on track. Being back at the gym has definitely boosted my energy and I want to make it a priority for this month.
- Stay current on the news. I’m terrible about this. I studied journalism and still have friends who love journalism. As a result, I’m generally around people who are up on the news and subsequently fill me in on the important stories. It’s not uncommon for me to find out most news through friends and social media. It’s time to tune in for myself. This is even more important considering one of my co-worker’s happiness project goals it to be well-informed this month, too. Ignorance is not bliss.
- Read 3 books outside my typical genre. In other words, try reading something other than romance novels, feel good/self-help books like The Happiness Project and fiction. When I was a senior in undergrad I took a honors seminar science fiction course. I thought I was going to scoff through most of it, but I actually found myself really enjoying a lot of the novels and short stories we read. It’s time to try something new. Does anyone have reading recommendations or suggestions?? I’m open to any and all!
- Make my room a retreat. Like I mentioned a few weeks back, walking into my room often leaves me feeling overwhelmed. There’s stuff on desk, on my bed, on my shelves. When I was journaling the other day, I just looked around and couldn’t even focus because it’s so distracting in my room. I’ve worked through de-cluttering the content, but I feel like there’s ways to make my room feel more relaxing. I want it to be a place that calms me down and gives me a chance to relax.
- Develop my bucket list. I know I mentioned this would be done before my sister got here next weekend, and it probably could realistically be done by then. But after the conversation I had with my mentor last Monday, I don’t want to race through things and be over-ambitious. I want to take the time to figure out what should be on my bucket list and how to start accomplishing some of those things.
So there you have it. I have other small goals I’m trying to implement as well, but these are the six main areas I want to focus on this month in order to have that sense of newness and energy that August and early September usually bring for me.
And although I’m big on organization and planning, I’ve opted not to have a daily calendar or checklist to make sure I’ve done something everyday. I want this to be about the process and experience, not an opportunity to be over-ambitious and controlling. Instead once a week I’ll assess my progress and see what’s working and what’s not, much like I did with my weekly Juneathon recaps.