My Happiness Project

For my mom’s birthday back in June, I bought her a copy of The Happiness Project. When I was home for Thanksgiving, she lent it to me and I started it last night. I only got through a few pages, but I started to really think about it. I wouldn’t consider myself an unhappy person, but, like Gretchen Rubin, I’m not as happy as I should be. I have a pretty sweet life – a husband who loves me, a great dog, a 3 bedroom house, a pretty cool job, why don’t these things make me happier?

I came up with a list of things that I can do to enhance my life. Of course, I have put it in handy dandy bullet form.

• eat better
• work out regularly and don’t, as Jillian Michaels is fond of saying, phone it in at the gym
• limit alcohol
• keep the house cleaner

1. As I briefly mentioned in last night’s post, for the past 2.5 weeks, I’ve been really focusing on eating better. I haven’t had any diet coke and I’ve really limited the amount of processed foods that I’ve been eating. I don’t know if I have more energy. If I do, it’s a negligible amount. But, I have noticed that I’m not craving dessert after dinner as much and not craving as many sweets in general. Since I don’t eat that badly to begin with, I don’t know if making any dietary changes is going to do anything physically. But mentally, I know it will. I just feel better about myself when I eat better.

2. I’m pretty good at working out regularly. I go to the gym at least 4 times a week, if not 5 or 6. But I am guilty of not giving it my all while I am there. If I’m running, I will, but I’ve been known to half-ass an elliptical workout and not lift to exhaustion when I’m lifting weights. Yes, it’s easier, but it’s sort of like I’m wasting my time at the gym when I do that.

3. I’m a shy person for the most part. I think I started drinking because it helped me come out of my shell. And that was fun for a long time. But, it’s not so fun anymore. After a night of partying, I always get really, really upset with myself and feel horribly guilty. It’s just not worth it to feel that way. Plus, hangovers suck when you’re in your 30’s. Trust me.

4. Once a month, at a time that happens to coincide with when I might get PMS, I get really upset about the state of the house. It’s just so damn messy all the time. Jason and I are both messy people, but we need to find a way to reign it in. The messy house really does add lots of unnecessary stress to my life. It seems like an easy thing to fix. Well, maybe.

I just realized that I pretty much laid out New Years Resolutions without meaning to. If we’re on the topic of New Years Resolutions, we might as well add another one – yoga. I think that adding yoga to my fitness routine will be helpful in many ways. It makes me feel good and hopefully, it will make me a faster runner. I don’t really believe in starting resolutions on the first of January, so I started tonight. I went to a hot yoga class and enjoyed it. I really just need to keep going.

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15 Responses to My Happiness Project

  1. Lol…nothing wrong with making a few resolutions extra early! I always start thinking about mine during this time too.

    I’d like to read that book!

  2. Nothing wrong with thinking about resolutions extra early! I always start thinking about mine during this time of year too.

    I’d like to read that book!

  3. No reason not to get started earlier, and they all sound very attainable.

    I gave up diet soda last winter because I didn’t like whatit was doing to to my teeth. Man, that stuff has some addictive properties! It wasn’t until just recently that I stopped getting cravings for it.

  4. You and I must be on the same wavelength lately.

    With the energy — I noticed that I felt more energetic/less lethargic when I cut out the breads/pasta/etc.

    With the house cleaning – and I know I have more able bodies than you do – we did a ‘reward system’ for chores. For example, we all have 5 chores we ‘must do’ every day. Each one is worth 1 point. 80 points in 2 weeks = $50 blow money (for adults, less for kiddos) Then there is a list of “bonus chores.” It’s the stuff that needs to get done, but never seems to (wiping down kitchen cabinets, sweeping the front porch…) those are worth BONUS points that can be saved to purchase “special” items (weekend off of all chores, etc…)

    Just a thought! Good luck!

  5. I’m already thinking about changes for next year too. These are all very attainable, you’ll get back on track in no time.

  6. I know what you mean about the house cleaning. I feel like we clean every weekend and then it gets messed up a day later. Clutter definitely makes me stressed out, but after work and working out I have no energy to clean. I think doing a once a week big clean up + daily “15 minute, clean as much as you can” approach with 2 people is probably the best way to keep it up all week. Please let us know if you find a strategy that works for you guys!

  7. I LOVE your “happiness project” and that it’s now morphed into your resolutions for 2011. How awesome! Great changes, smart ones too.

  8. Dang, you sound pretty together to me! I am frustrated with things right now and I have no control over them. I have a great family, an incredible husband, a great house, we are all healthy…I just need work. I am exhausted trying to find something for me to do to take the stress off of Tony. I love that you have set out a list and you are actively working at it. That is a step in the right direction. I need to work on dealing with frustrations I have no control over. Maybe yoga back in my life would be good. I liked this post Lee! I hope you have a great day!

  9. Its always good to layout goals. And yours are fab! Especially putting in more effort at the gym- I think sometimes we all have a tendency to just…go through the motions! I need to focus on sleep!

  10. I think that is such a great idea to think about resolutions now! I bet they are more effective….and I say that because I usually don’t follow through with them if I wait until January 1. :-)I’m going to start thinking about mine…hmmmm….

  11. I agree with you about yoga! I like your list and reasoning. It makes a lot of sense!

    I read the happiness project and I liked the premise. I found her to be kind of whiny though.

  12. Good luck with all your goals! I really relate to the cleaning one. We recently realized how unorganized we are. We went through our closets and took so much to Goodwill. The amount of space we actually have is awesome!

  13. I want to start yoga in 2011 too. I bought a groupon for Atlanta Hot Yoga for 1 month unlimited sessions, but I think I am going to wait until Feb or March to use it so I don’t have to cram in there with all of the new years resolution-ers. What yoga studio do you go to?

  14. sister – i wish we lived closer – we are way too much alike! point by point, i feel your pain and share your thoughts!!! i have no doubt you’ll do well making yourself even more happy over the next few months – because you are smart, and you know you are so lucky to have what you’ve got :)

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