What comes to your mind when you read the word “Happiness”? 

I immediately think of my son and how blessed my life is.  I have a wonderful husband who loves me to pieces, the most precious baby boy who is, unfortunately, growing up faster than I can believe, a great job, friends and family.  So how could things get any better? 

Maybe it’s the smaller things…This winter I became a member of a book club. My friend, Vivian, was part of a book club but it kind of fell apart.  They had to kick a woman out because she always got drunk at the meetings and I think it just wasn’t fun for Vivian anymore anyways, so she started her own.  This book, The Happiness Project, is our 3rd book.  From the very beginning, it caught my attention and got me thinking the same question the author asked herself when she started, “Am I happy?”  “What do I want from life?  To be happy.”  It became interesting to me trying to think of things that would make me happier, especially since I already feel happy 90% of the time.  The author decided to devote each month of the year to a new goal.  They are as follows:

  • January (Vitality): Boost Energy
  • February (Marriage): Love
  • March (Work): Aim Higher 
  • April (Parenthood): Lighten Up
  • May (Leisure): Be Serious About Play
  • June (Friendship): Make Time for Friends
  • July (Money): Buy Some Happiness
  • August (Eternity): Contemplate the Heavens
  • September (Books): Pursue a Passion
  • October (Mindfulness): Pay Attention
  • November (Attitude): Keep a Contented Heart
  • December (Happiness): Boot Camp Perfect

It’s not your normal list of resolutions, which is what was appealing about the whole thing.  So, naturally, I decided to try it out for a bit.  I decided I wasn’t going to go too overboard with the whole thing but to just start with a few of my own goals.  One I was able to apply to my life immediately–Put your folded, clean laundry away that day.  For some reason, I don’t mind doing laundry, but I hate putting it away.  Grant and I (but mostly me) are notorious for letting our clean, folded clothes sit in the basket for a week or until it’s time to do laundry again.  It’s ridiculous, really.  So on Sunday, we started our usual ritual of doing the laundry, but this time, I folded my clothes and took them straight to my closet and hung it all up.  And let me tell you, I felt so happy afterwards!  I felt such a sense of accomplishment, which is pretty funny when I think about it–that such a simple task could make me feel so good.  I love a clean, tidy house, but it’s hard for me to get psyched up to create a clean, tidy house.  By the time I get home from work, I just want to take a nap or play with Donovan–but the house, dinner, etc calls my name!  My second goal is about the frequency of “an activity,” (shall we say?) between me and Grant… and I think I might just leave it at that…

So those are the first couple of changes I am making for the month of March.  Like I said, I wanted to start with somewhat simple tasks at first.  Am I happier?  I’m not sure.  I’m certainly not unhappy.  Is it selfish to try to make myself happier?  Maybe partly, but not necessarily.  I think me being happy can translate into others being happy.  Take the laundry.  I know it makes Grant crazy when I just leave my clean clothes in the hamper, or tossed over the foot of the bed.  When I put my clothes away, not only do I feel good about my accomplishment and the fact that our room looks less cluttered, but I’m almost certain Grant appreciates my crap not being all over and out for him to see all the time, which in turn, makes him feel good.  Right? 

I’m anxious to come up with more goals throughout the year.  Unclutter will be my big one for April, but I may need your help in coming up with some others.  If you were to do this project yourself, what would you strive for?