My Hapiness Project

I used to be a naturally happy person, yes, one of those people. But life, shared living quarters, a mixed family, an unfulfilling job, and lack of exercise can make a naturally happy person like me feel, well, simply unhappy.
Last June, I picked up the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin in the airport before getting on a plane to Cuba with my boyfriend and the three kids. I was so miserable at the time that I spent most of our vacation with my son at the pool and away from the others. Since last June, Gretchen has taken me through 12 months of thought and habit transforming resolutions. After trying a week of extreme nice, cleaning out my closets, making a loose ends list to boost my energy leves, and even joining a gym (and actually going), I can say it’s been a productive year!  I picked up the book in June and just put it down last night, July 3rd, a year later; a testament to having taken the time to really focus on my resolutions each month without rushing to the next chapter.
I asked my now fiancĂ©, after closing the book last night, if I seem happier than I did a year ago. He didn't hesitate to say yes. Then I asked if he too was happier, again the answer was yes. However, despite my many wins over the last year, a few things remain outstanding and here they are (on top of having a wedding to plan). My resolutions for the rest of this year are: 
Network - I want to network with women who inspire me.
That's why I purchased two tickets to Hope in the City.  The event is next month and so it also gives me something to look forward to. See my article on the event here: Hope and the City
Relax - I will try to stretch in morning and at night.
I use an app on my phone specifically for moring and evening stretches and then switch over to my meditation app which plays soothing music for 8 minutes so I know when to stop, but sometimes I just keep going because it feels so darn good.


Volunteer
- With all the violence against women that I see on television and in video games, I worry about how will affect the boys growing up today. I always remind my son that it's not OK to call women those names, to hit a women, or to force a woman to do something she doesn't want to do, either physically or with threats. I mean, I don't harp on it, but he knows how I feel about the topic. 
I decided that I wanted to volunteer at a Women's Shelter. I found Halton Women's Place online and got in touch. After chatting with the volunteer coordinator, she suggested that I would be best suited to join their Gala Planning Committee. I jumped at the opportunity! I love planning events and I have plenty of experience in it as an EA. I can't believe my luck. I'm covering a lot with this one: volunteering, networking, planning, and setting an example. I couldn't be happier about it.

Listen
- Don't interrupt people, and make sure to give positive feedback - this is much harder than it sounds. Once I tuned into this, I couldn't believe how much I interruped people when they were talking to me. It takes practice and now I'm also quick to notice when people cut me off when I'm talking. My finace and my son both do it to me! I guess I have to wait until their done talking to remind them to do the same for me.
Read
- She Takes on the World by Natalie MacNeil is next on my reading list. I just ordered it from Chapters, it was hard to get my hands on. Looking forward to recieving it!
- Read other's blogs. Thanks to my new Twitter account I'm now exposed and connected to plenty of great writers.
-Read Happier at Home by Gretchin Rubin (Actually, I'm listening to the audio book and it has helped to reignite some of my projects such as my family tree and photobooks.)

Write
- Blog at least one article per week and send out at least two article submissions per week. 
- Join or start a Writing Group.
It is now September:
I've been blogging and working on a new book. I have not been sending out submissions, but I have been pinning my posts and getting people reading my blog through Twitter. I realized that my blog articles are for my own therapy and I'm happy if they help others as well or give them a chuckle. Once I'm done the new book, I'll start submitting it to publishers to see if there is interest. I'm very excited about it - Not to be paranoid, but I can't talk about it yet because it is such an awesome book idea that I'm afraid it will be stolen. I have not joined or started a writing group - yet.

Sept 19
Mom! I made a new freind! On Twitter. Andi-roo@theworldforrealz is such an encouraging and thoughtful fellow blogger, she is getting me caught up on all sorts of blog related infromation, groups, contests and sharing. She has nominated me for a Liebster Award and now invited me to Bloggiesta. I'm beginning to feel connected to the blogging world. Thanks Andi!




Make Plans
- Looking forward to happy events boosts happiness! So does recalling happy memories so it's a win/win situation!
  • I now have a wedding to plan (see Adventures in Wedding Planning)
  • I'm taking my bff somewhere special for her birthday next week (ziplining!)
  • Hope and the City is next month Hope and the City
  • I'm bringing my son to paintball for his birthday next month
  • I've planned a girls night/pot luck that was something I've wanted to do for years
  • V and I are going to the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic to end off the summer
  • I joined the committee to plan the 2013 Gala for Halton Women's Place (http://haltonwomensplace.com/
September
  • Thanksgiving is coming up and I plan to visit my parents who I haven't seen since the beginning of the summer so I'm very excited about that - plus I have new recipes to try - pumpkin pie cake (pake!) and baked beans (farty!). UPDATE: I didn't get to make the beans, but the cake was excellent!
Tackle Nagging Tasks
- Finish first draft of my novel, "This Too Shall Pass".
- Organize and print my online Photo Albums into books (the kids love the ones I did years ago)
- Finish and print our Family Tree

September:
-This Too Shall Pass is temporarily on hold due to another book idea I had, but I will get back to it as it's my life story.
-I found our old photo albums and now just need to find the time to make the new ones. It's October and I just finished a really cute album of our vacation to Cuba in 2010 using Blurb.ca Now I just have 2008-2012 to edit, put into an online photobook using Staples (which I can pick up right from the store) and press order. I like the idea of sererating our vacation photos and making a little booklet for each vacation so that also leaves the 2011 trip to Cuba and the 2012 trip to Dominican to put together and order. Now that I've started, I'm enjoying reliving the memories while I make them into something that my kids will enjoy looking at together, maybe in time for Christmas. Sidenote: I'm missing 2009. I think 2009 is on my old dead laptop so I have to bring it into the electronic store to see if they can retrieve the memory for me. Fingers crossed that's where 2009 is, how did I lose an entire year? I don't drink that much wine.
- I have now updated my son's family tree, using Family Echo in combination with Ancestry.com, with information from his grandmother on his Dad's side. My son is Brittish, Scottish, German, Irish, and Jamaican. I have a feeling, once I do a little more research, I will find that he has Italian or Spanish in his background as well based on his father's last name.
Be Grateful
- It sounds easy, but it takes practice. I started last night to say grace before eating dinner. My son was surprised, but took the time with me to say thank you for the food and our health before we dug in. I'm also trying to get back into the habit of saying bedtimes prayers with him as well. We have expanded our prayers to include what we are grateful for.
Give
- It really is better to give than recieve. Part of me just wants to earn eternity points, if I'm being honest, on top of being a good example for my son.
  • I have to keep taking iron pills so I'm not turned away the next time I try to give blood - something I've always wanted to do but never got around to before now.
  • My son has agreed to give his netbook and game cube, which he never uses but is reluctant to part with, to a child with Lukemia that came by our garage sale last year. I took the mother's information in case we had more things to give them in the future as her son is just a few years younger than mine. My son was even willing to give him his Lego collection because, "It's time that I grew up a bit," he's only 11! I told him to keep his Lego for his own kids someday since he saved up to buy it and that stuff aint cheap.
Modest Splurges
  • I purchased an amazing black dress last night that was on sale from $200 to $40 for Hope and the City
  • I'm going to try out Lulu.com to print one of my old novels for the novelty of it! (Blurb.ca also offers this service)
  • I decided to purchase a slightly more expensive pair of sandals because I'm tired of my feet hurting all the time. It's hard to find a nice looking pair of supportive shoes, I found out. The ones I did finally find have arch support and look and feel great! They were even on sale.

NEW RESOLUTION - Get Promoted
- Money isn't everything, but it sure is nice to have. I made a desiscion this year that will send my career on a different path. With a lot of praying, I'm talking on my knees, soul searching kind of praying, obstacles have miraculously been removed and opportunities have presented themselves. God will provide, all you have to do is ask nicely. Now, I just have to prove myself to a new division and push for a timely promotion. I already have a mentor and a VP in my corner. Writing will always be a part of my life, but it doesn't come with medical benefits. Maybe I will find myself in a role where I can use my creativity on the job.

Be Me -  No matter what. I feel like I've finally come of age at 35. I want to put myself out there, learn new things, meet new people, challenge myself mentally and physically. Maybe I'm just bored, but at the end of the day, all I can be is Me.
The best thing about resolutions, as Gretchen explains, is that they are ongoing. Unlike goals, which once accomplished can go no further, resolutions are something we resolve to do every day going forward without limitations, without hard feelings, and with more chances for success. Resolutions to me, are a way to create new habits in a positive atmosphere of growth.
By the way, my happy is back :)
My new mantra is "Just Keep Going". It gets me through the ups and downs of resolution reaching. I don't get upset when I stumble, I lovingly tell myself to just keep going. 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY
  • TIME WITH MY SON
  • TIME WITH MY HUBBY
  • MEDITATING
  • WATCHING MOVIES
  • TIME WITH MOM AND DAD
  • TIME WITH FRIENDS
  • WRITING
  • DECORATING
  • HELPING
  • LOVING
Please leave your comments, I'd love to hear your story.


Good luck out there,

JB


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1 comment:

  1. OMG - lovelovelove this post! Very much enjoyed seeing where you were, where you went, & where you are now. And excited for you to keep it up while challenging yourself to grow even more. What awesome fun inspiration! So glad you shared with me on Twitter!!!

    I really like the title of your book, so I hope you go back to it some time. I bet it's a great read!

    Knowing you're a writer, I had a thought --- not sure if you've heard of A Round of Words in 80 Days (#ROW80 on Twitter) (LINK: http://aroundofwordsin80days.wordpress.com/). You report in once or twice a week to update progress on your WIP. I only do the Wednesday check-in, because I'm a slacker, but if you're looking for regular inspiration & accountability, that website is one to check out.

    Good luck! I will follow your blog & hit you back on Twitter! :)

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