Happy New Year! I LOVE making New Year’s Resolutions? Lists-good. Goals-good. Positivity towards the future-good.
This year, a dear friend invited me (and our entire Pathways Group/Women’s circle) to try something new regarding our resolutions. She asked us to identify one word that sums up our goals for ourselves for this year. When my friend first posed this question, all sorts of words flew around my head. “Peace,” because I want to take more time to meditate and relax (like actually use my Spa gift cards…). “Trust,” because I sometimes feel lost on the path I’ve taken. “Friendship,” something I always strive at which to be better. Nothing seemed to resonate as I sat with these ideas for a few days.
Then I landed on it. My word was Happy.
I want more joy in my life. I want to laugh more, and to savor this time in my life. Sure, it’s not all roses and gumdrops, but there is plenty that I need to celebrate more. This year, I’m resolving to be happier. Or at least recognize that I actually am already pretty happy.
I recently read a book called, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (I’ve mentioned it in a post before). In the book Rubin embarks on a challenge of researching happiness (exploring literary, scientific, and and common sense
theories), and resolving to implement changes in her own life to see if she really can be happier. From page 4, I wanted to embark on a similar journey myself.
Like Rubin, I have a feeling that I should be much happier than I am. I’m married to a wonderful man, I’m blessed with financial means to afford a nice home, food, and even some luxuries (can you say Starbucks?). I have 3 beautiful and healthy children. Even though my own health record has some splotches (dare I say scleroses?), I’m lucky enough to feel pretty good right now. I have a supportive group of friends, loving and generous parents, in-laws, and siblings, and an incredible extended family. On paper, it seems like I should be on cloud nine.
In reality, I have a bad temper. I snap too easily, and I complain way too much. I dwell on the past, focus on the bad parts of my day, and always am looking for something better. I know depression, and am lucky to say I’m not talking about depression. I’m just talking about going through the motions without stopping to notice the scenery.
This year, I plan on creating my own happiness project. Rubin encourages this in her book, and even provides downloads to the resolution charts and other files she created to organize her project (do you see yet why it appeals to me so much? It’s like academic research “lite.”) Rubin makes a resolution chart for each month (modeled after Benjamin Franklin’s virtues chart), and focuses on a 4 or 5 resolutions coordinating to that month’s theme. For example, in February she focuses on her marriage, and one of her resolutions is not to nag her husband.
Each month I’ll let you guys in on my own resolution chart and coinciding theme.
For January I want to focus on these resolutions around the theme of generosity. If I think of a time when I was happiest it was when I was volunteering, doing random acts of kindness, and minding my often biting tone. This month I want to be generous with my time, money, words, and affection.
Broadly, this month I aim to:
- Set up a gathering between our town’s toddler play group & our town’s senior center
- Buy someone’s coffee at Starbucks or DD once a week
- Send presents, pictures, and cards to family and friends that I missed this Xmas
- Hug more each day
- Say yes more often
- Donate toys, clothes, food, and money to the food bank, the local women’s shelter
- Think about organizing a “Mom Prom” to support MS research
Research says people who make others happy are more likely to feel happier themselves.
Here goes nothing.