I’ve already talked a lot about my attempt to reclaim my free time in order to achieve some sort of balance but the more I tread into these foreign waters the more i’m realizing that it’s going to take a lot more than intention to actually make that happen. I can schedule my heart out all I want but i’m going to need to develop better habits in order to actually get the most out of my time.
So enter the happiness project by Gretchen Rubin! I’ve recently gotten into listening to podcasts and Rubin’s Happier has really gotten me to focus on my smaller habits and how those add up to my overall happiness throughout the week and it got me thinking. I used to make happy lists all the time when I was in high school and college. Mainly on the back of receipt tape as I would compile them during lulls while I worked my cashiering shifts. But sometime between graduation and now i’ve stopped and I don’t exactly know why.
I started thinking about how to reinstate this smaller habit of mine and how to start setting smaller goals as I really began working on this planner i’m creating in earnest. I’m trying to create a system that isn’t just a planner but it’s also going to be a journal and goal planning work book. And there’s only one probelm with that: I’m creating a system to help me do stuff i’m not exactly great at. I’m figuring out what works as I go. So this new blog feature will be step one for me. It will help me chronicle these goals, the creation of these small habits, and catalog the small things that make me happy along the way. These two new weekly features will be the online version of the paper product i’m creating and i’m hoping it will help me iron out the details i’m missing in this system.
Every Monday i’ll record my happiness list, the little things that are currently getting me through the day, the bright areas, the moments of triumph. In addition to that i’ll record my mini goals for the week and talk about what i’m hoping to accomplish and which main area of my yearly intentions i’m hoping to address with it. In addition to these hopefully regular Monday posts i’ll also be posting each Friday as sort of a weekly reflection of how those goals turned out, the effect they had on my spirit, and what i’ve accomplished since Monday. These posts will be accompanied by some life shots from throughout the week and weekend as i’m also trying to visually record the things that make me happy as well. I don’t think that holding myself to a #100daysofhappiness instagram challenge is exactly what i’m looking to do, but i’m intending to just document those things more often. SO HERE WE GO!
- Fresh flowers from the rose bushes on the side of our house and from the new Trader Joes that just opened
- Three extremely affectionate dogs that were excellent bed warmers while Mando was out of town
- Listening to Brandi Carlile all day every day
- Seeing tiny tomatoes grow on my new plants
- Thriving lithops in my kitchen window
- Actually using my living room now that our magic rug has suddenly made the furniture arrangement work.
- A return to driving with the windows down and opening all the windows in the house after a week of 80 degree days broke back into the 70s
- My new Keurig which is giving me the ability to use all my super cute mugs even more
- Tons of new books on my Netgalley shelf and rediscovering how cool my kindle is
- Taking time for myself to reset on a long holiday weekend
- Knock off birkenstocks from Target
Weekly Goals 4/6-4/12
- The One Minute Rule: This is something I got from the first episode of the Happier podcast and it’s already started helping me even though I haven’t been trying to implement it much yet. Basically the one minute rule is this: If it can be done in less than a minute, do it now. Don’t wait. Rinse your cup and put it in the dishwasher. Hang up your jacket. Put your pants in the laundry basket instead of leaving them on the floor. Just the small everyday things that tend to pile up and bury us.
- Bedtime Alarms: Getting enough sleep is a constant problem for me. I don’t ever go to bed on time on weekdays and because I have to be at work by 7:10 in the morning it’s not like I get to sleep in very long in the mornings. I mean, I push it as much as I can and wake up at 6:30 more mornings than i’d like to admit (thank god I live close to work!). Rubin mentioned in her podcast that setting a bedtime alarm is helpful for sticking to and maintaining a consistent bedtime. Since i’m supposed to get 7 hours of sleep a night i’m going to try and have lights out by 10:30.
- Nightly Chores: This kind of goes along with the previous two because most of these nightly chores are things that would honestly be solved with the one minute rule. Things like clearing all surfaces that junk has accumulated on, wiping down the kitchen counters and sink, and preparing things for the morning. I’m setting an alarm for 9:30 and one for 10:00pm. 9:30 tells me to stop whatever leisure thing i’m doing and check off my to do list for the night before it’s time for bed. The 10:00pm alarm is to tell me that I should be done with chores now and instead I should go read a book. Which brings me to…
- Finish One Book: A piece of me feels like this is a cheating goal because I finished 3 books last week (one was a comic so don’t feel too jealous). But I need a goal I know I can finish because I need to feel accomplished pretty early on in order to keep going. That’s kind of the beauty of these daily goals though, because they’re each pretty small tasks that add up over a long period of time.
So there you have it. This is what’s going to keep me going this week. This is the measuring stick by which I will measure my success. I already know that these are going to be a tish hard to stick to this week because I already have two late days in my schedule. BUT i’m going to be forgiving and lenient with myself and know that these are just guidelines that I should do if possible.
I’m also going to keep listening to only NPR and podcasts while in the car for the third week in a row because it has honestly helped me feel so much happier. Not only am I learning things but because i’m picking the content by picking the podcast I don’t feel bored when i’m commuting. I no longer feel like driving is such a waste of time and i’ve gotten lots of conversation pieces out of my NPR listening too!
These small goals have already helped me as I did this in my paper planner for the past week. I was being mindful of how I used my time and how much I could actually accomplish in a day. The daily reflections i’ve built into my planner have also been great at keeping me accountable and seeing what works. Remembering to do things for myself, which this week was mostly reading, was especially nice because even though I did end up having a pretty rough week emotionally, I didn’t tank as hard as I normally would have because all the to-dos in my life were being taken care of pretty consistently. Had I been as unorganized as I usually am and overbooked as I usually am I don’t think I could have bounced back like I did. I took a weekend off to decompress, reflect, and spend some time with myself and I found it was much easier to let go and focus on what was bothering me than normal. When everything else is balanced it’s easier for me to just fix the one thing that’s out of whack rather than trying to fix EVERYTHING.
So i’m not saying this is going to be what keeps me super happy all the time, but I think it will help keep me from bottoming out at least. So here’s to new happy beginnings!
Until next time,