And here it is! A new month in a New Year. I’m not given to New Year’s resolutions, but unfortunately, this is the time of year that courses tend to be launched and I do like a course. I’ll admit that I’ve signed up for some howlers in the past, and so I now set a limit on how much money I am prepared to spend and also tend to stick to people that I have followed for a while, or who have certified credentials. I also like people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
So, this brought me to Gretchen Rubin‘s Happiness Project Experience. A twelve month programme aimed at identify what makes you happy and increasing the amount of happiness in your life. I’ve listened to Gretchen’s Better podcast for a while now, and have read her books, Better than Before and the Four Tendencies and much of what she discusses makes sense and is practical in nature. I can understand how I could easily adapt some of her strategies in my life.
The Happiness Project Experience is based on her book The Happiness Project, which charts her own experiments with increasing the levels of happiness in her own life. One aspect of my personality which I would love to change is the negativity. I can place negative spin on to absolutely everything – in the blink of an eye. It’s incredibly wearing for me, so I can’t imagine to understand how waring it is for those around me. So when I saw this project I decided to give it a try.
The year is divided into 12 different topic areas – which I will discuss in detail each month as they pass. The key objective is that in analysing each of these 12 themes you should have fun – this is about bringing more happiness into your life, more positivity so there is little point in introducing something that may well make you miserable.
So the theme for January – Self-Knowledge. Use the month to explore things to reflect on the type of person you are, the types of things you might like to try “one day”, who am I and what truly makes me happy?
I had a list. A very long list of things that made me truly happy, which I discussed with husband, and which we concluded was, in fact, a list of things I like doing. That’s not necessarily what makes me truly happy. I found it a really difficult question to answer. Partly because I’ve never really considered what makes me truly happy, life tends to get in the way, bills, mortgages, going to work a whole list of things that you should do and are probably right to do, but don’t necessarily make you happy.
After a lot of thinking and also questioning what I would do if I didn’t have to go to work (I don’t have to go to work, but bear with me) I settled on the following:
- Learning. About anything, but primarily history and astronomy
- Doing things with people! I’ve had a great month doing more things with real life people and have thoroughly enjoyed myself.
- Health and well-being. Exercise is very important to me, as is alternative medicine and finding ways to be the healthiest version of me (within reason – who’d want to give up chocolate) that I can be.
- Making things. I love crochet, sewing, making cards – you name it I enjoy making it and the time just disappears.
I wasn’t too sure where to put music – but it can reasonably placed into all 4 categories, so decided it was covered!
I’ve also spent the month re-reading ‘Better than Before’ to help me best understand how I can introduce new habits into my life, with the possibility that I might actually stick to them. In addition, I’ve started to use the Gratitude app, which does what you’d imagine! There are loads of different ones to choose from. Each day I’ve written a few things to be grateful for in a day, or things that have made me happy. The reason I picked this particular app is because I can add a photo memory of the day too.
So, all-in-all, I’m looking forward to a happier and more positive 2019! There are no big goals, no resolutions, just a commitment to introduce small habits aimed at improving my overall happiness and well-being.