My Happiness Project 2011

He looks happy!

Over the past few months, I have been doing a lot of thinking about happiness.  I won’t say that I have been unhappy.  I will say that I have struggled to be as happy as I think I can be.  Some portion of that is attributable to energy levels and work-life balance, but not all of it.  I realized that I am in control of my own personal happiness and I can do things that will improve my happiness.

Last year, I checked out Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project three times before I actually got it read. When I finally did get it read, I was floored.  Here was a happy woman who took it upon herself to try different things that might make her even happier.

Her “First Splendid Truth” of happiness is “To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.”  And so, I have been thinking about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right in my atmosphere of growth.

I know that last year I had some really dark times, especially when I wasn’t getting enough sleep or when I wasn’t proactively working to balance my life.  I had moments when I felt lonely and times when I was overwhelmed by the goodness of my friends and family. I had my fair share of good times as well. I had love and I had heartbreak (and I had Bernadette Peters singing to me, but I digress).

I also know my outlook for this year.  I have a good understanding of where I will be challenged, and I fully expect to be surprised as well, by the good times and the bad times.

I kind of see happiness as a kind of metaphorical muscle.   In the same way that I don’t expect to run a race if I haven’t trained for it, I don’t expect to be happy in the face of difficulties without having practiced it beforehand.

As such, I decided to do my own happiness project this year.  I’ve been reluctant to get started for some reason, but here it goes…

I’m kicking off my Happiness Project 2011 on January 31.

My themes for the year are Simplify and Strengthen.  I’ll follow up on what I think that means to me in a followup post.

My intention is to pick a monthly theme and set weekly goals of things to do every day related to that theme.   If I get ambitious, I will also set a few month long goals as well.

My hope is to document it here on my blog, as both an accountability mechanism and as a way to process what I am learning about myself.  I will try to be honest and not hide myself.  I hope that you, dear readers, will talk to me in person about happiness and how I am doing with my goals.  I can use all of the encouragement I can get.

And if you want, you can join me in doing your own Happiness Project as well.   All it takes is a willingness to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right in an atmosphere of growth.  Do you have that?

5 thoughts on “My Happiness Project 2011”

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I really recommend reading The Happiness Project. It absolutely inspired me to try this. I preordered a copy of the paperback, which should be out in March if you want to borrow it.

  1. “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it…” -Joseph Smith

    Balance, productivity, direction, and getting outside a lot are all keys for me to be happy.

    1. I agree, Ben. Finding the path to happiness is the challenge for me. Getting outside is one of my keys too and I have been depriving myself for a while. Not good!

  2. The six months I was home from the mission…that’s when I learned the things I could do to positively affect my happiness: eat with other people (that was my doctor’s suggestion because I was losing appetite and weight), visit other people, take an art class/make art, read children’s books, eat ice cream in the morning, take a shower, do something new (like go for a swim), go to the temple and other churchy answers, take myself out for a movie, babysit, go for a hike. And, to add one more recent discovery to the list: teach a math class. Really if I hadn’t learned that then, I wouldn’t have been able to get through some rough spots since then.

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