#thehappinessproject

I have been gone for too long. To be honest, this is the first time that I actually sat in front of a computer since my last blog post last December. Talk about a crazy schedule!

Just a quick update: as I type now, I am away on an island, listening to silence, or rather, to the soft snore of my husband. We eloped during the weekend. It was a very private thing, attended only by both our families.

KIDDING.

Seriously though, I lost 6 pounds in a week. NOT KIDDING.

So here’s the thing. I have been working a lot on my happiness project. I really really wanted to post something about ending the year right or a goodbye 2013 post last December, but my schedule did not permit it. Also, it was only in January that I had time to sit down and put much thought about my New Year’s resolution. Because yes, I am part of the 40% of Filipinos who still makes them (and deliberately forgets about them come the second week of January).

So what is a happiness project, you ask? Actually, it’s from a book called The Happiness Project (duh) by Gretchen Rubin. It is contemplating about the different aspects of my life, identifying my problem areas and actively doing positive changes in these challenging areas. I get to tackle one aspect of my life that I want to improve per month. So I started with one aspect on January, and add another aspect on February, and so on. Because I was unhappy for the past year and obviously, nothing is happening. This unhappy feeling started December 2012, on my birth month. Come December 2013, I was still freaking unhappy. Here are four things that I learned from my own happiness project so far:

1. That it is not unhappiness that I am/was experiencing, but not being content with my life in general.
2. That happiness entails a lot of work, like everything else in this world. It is not something that will come down from heaven and land on my lap on a silver platter.
3. Do not underestimate what you can do in 15 minutes.
4. If you want change, you need to have a holistic approach to it. You cannot just change one aspect or one small habit because these are integrated to each other and make up the whole you.

Knowing these things, I called up my best bud and decided to have this geeky activity with her: talk over dinner and write down all our personal goals for the year – physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, financial, skill-based, intellectual, and environmental. I want to write all of them here, but I fear that it would take me forever to list everything down, and forever and a day for you to go through each item (that long)! Anyway, after listing down all our personal goals, we proceeded with doing a timeline and a Resolutions Chart. I segregated my list into three columns: Daily Goals, Weekly Goals and Monthly Goals. Mind you, I was able to list down 64 goals under my Daily Goals. For example: Smile more often, Brush your teeth as you wake up, Jog for 20 minutes, Appreciate others, Forgive easily, Make more time, Sleep early, Wake up early, etc. There are things that I need to do on a weekly basis like going to Quiapo once a week or doing a DIY project with the kids (this week’s DIY project is creating a segregation bin which is connected to one of my environmental goals as well). Still there are goals that I only need to do once every month like learning a new dish or reading a new book. I take time every night to check out all the goals that I made during the day. I am looking forward to the end of this year to compare and see how a fared out with my happiness project.

Doing this happiness project made me happy and productive again (erm). On my lazy day, I am able to: attend mass, wax and sweep the floor, change the sheets, cook, wash the dishes, fix a broken kitchen ware. On a normal day, I am able to: attend mass, pray, pray the rosary, read the bible, meditate, jog, attend a parent-teacher conference, read a book, sweep the floor, wash the dishes, cook lunch, do my laundry, write a blog, fix our utensils cabinet, change the sheets. No wonder I have no time to sit in front of a computer for a whole hour to write a blog or, say, be on Facebook and wait for notifications!

This happiness project also gave me the motivation to fulfill my dreams. I contemplated on the quality of life that I am living for the past year, and I think I became too complacent. I have a job, I was doing what I want to do, and that’s it. I forgot to give myself challenges and goals so that I will have the motivation to live, to GROW as a person (not physically though!). Making small progress each day is like taking baby steps towards a bright future ahead. Jogging for 20 minutes and doing yoga for a week (without starving myself to death) actually slashed 6 pounds off my holiday weight. That is no small feat!

As I am going through my happiness project each day, my family began noticing the small changes. The clean floor. The small efforts like taking the garbage out each night. We don’t really talk about it. They don’t know about it. But it seems as though the more I try, they also try. We became less angry at each other. Stopped pointing at whose turn it is to wash the dishes, but actually doing something without being told because they see their sister doing more than enough of her share of chores. Then, seeing the house so clean gives me that high moment, and I crave for more. I’m tired but I want to find something else to accomplish, because finishing another task makes me even happier. There’s initiative. There’s harmony. Less chaos. Less blaming. Less stress. More happiness. Only love.

If you are discontented with how you are living your life, I challenge you to try the happiness project and be the happiest version of your self this 2014! Happy New Year indeed, friends!

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