I’m currently listening to Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project. If you are not familiar with this book I encourage you to check it out. Gretchen chronicles a year of personal growth where she takes on a new focus area each month all in the pursuit of making a good life even better.
I don’t think it is by accident that I started a similar journey at the New Year just prior to learning of this book. Although my focus has been finding the spring in my step and living more intentionally to not get swallowed up by a big season of change, the similarities and winning formula are too great to ignore. I’m adopting her approach and am excited to join the community of Happiness Project bloggers out there.
Here is my list showing what I will focus on each month. This schedule aligns to key activities and events and is not prioritized. They are all very important and I know none of them truly standalone anyway. They will be interwoven into each day let alone each month. You get the idea.
January – Energy. This fits the best with the work I’ve been doing.
February – Marriage.
March – Work.
April – Family.
May – House & Garden.
June – Friends.
July – Money.
August – Fun.
September – Faith.
October – Motherhood.
November – Health.
December – Celebrating.
I have been focusing on finding energy this month and it is working! I keep noticing that I’m not dragging myself to do things. The funny thing is, I started doing many things at once, right after Christmas so I’m not sure if one item is delivering more energy than the next or if it is a combination. So I need to keep them all up! Here is my plan for the rest of the month:
- Eat clean. Avoid junk food and processed foods. Lots of vegetables and protein. Stick close to the earth. I’ve got work to do here, but I see the cleaner I eat the better I feel. Telling myself I’m allergic to things really does help. Will power just isn’t enough for me, but when I can physically feel the difference after ingesting something full of sugar and empty calories, it is a strong deterrent. Incorporated into this should be my Diet Coke addiction. I’m committing to cut back for now, but I’m not ready to give this up. I don’t drink coffee, this is my morning routine.
- Take vitamins and medicines every day and on time. I’ve recently started taking a brain function blend vitamin and have renewed my commitment to my adrenal support regimen. My brain fog is lifting and I’m connecting more dots at work. Color me pleased.
- Get enough sleep and allow for snooze time in the morning. I have been having trouble getting out of bed in the morning because A. I’m Exhuased and B. it is so dark where I live now. I find if I set the alarm for 30 minutes before I actually have to get in the shower, I can do some prayer, take my time getting up and embrace the day with the right mindset.
- Don’t overreact. I have been diagnosed with adrenal problems which means I have overused my fight or flight instincts and they are out of whack. In other words, sometimes my body overreacts and I have a very intense physical response to something that shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Did you know it can take up to 4 hours for your body to return to normal when this fight or flight mechanism gets triggered? I can usually control this with a lot of prayer, deep breathing, re-framing my thinking and quieting my inner critic. Staying on top of this is key to maintaining good energy levels.
- Walk the walk. I’m addicted to my Fitbit and my target of 10,000 steps per day (70,000 per week). I’m parking farther away, taking the stairs, walking the dogs and hitting the gym. I am feeling better physically than I have in months. Everything I read about adrenal support recommends gentle exercise like walking or yoga. In the past I have resisted this as “not good enough” and elected to do something more intense that I couldn’t keep going for very long. Now with the Fitbit, I’m embracing the gentleness of it all and feeling great.
- Blogging as a reward. Having a bunch of incomplete tasks hanging over my head is draining. So I make sure I accomplish what needs to be done at work and at home before I dive into blogging. Whether it’s reading or writing. I don’t get to do this until I’ve done all my must-haves for the day.
- Minimize inbox attacks. Another huge monkey on my back is the overflow of my work inbox. The culture at my company is to stay on top of it, so I can’t just ignore it until tomorrow. I don’t mind responding to emails at night but there have been times when I get upset (fight or flight!) by email grenades and I’ve let that ruin my evenings or weekends. This has been a tough one, but I have recently developed some new habits that find me happy to check email versus dreading it. First off, I’m unsubscribing to any retailer emails or anything not work related that shouldn’t be filling up that box anyway. Sometimes just seeing 100 new emails are in there can freak me out so I need to stop feeding the beast. Second, I’m making it a habit to send out seed emails that will yield a wonderful, warm response. I regularly send out great job!, you are special because, thought you might like this or just thinking of you emails. People are genuinely touched by my outreach and send back the nicest replies.
- Fake it until you make it. You hear this one all of the time and now I know why, it works! The best way to find that energy I wish I had is to just pretend like I have it and press on. Next thing I know, I’m over the hump and I’m not faking anymore.
- Write things down. My memory just isn’t what it used to be. My new practice is write everything down and save myself the stress of not remembering or not being able to find what I need. OneNote is great for this and I’m becoming a power user. I’m taking detailed notes and tracking my actions and my delegations. I’m capturing my blog ideas and articles and Bible verses I want to reference. It is a big relief to unclutter my mind in this way. I’m finding that without the clutter I’m actually doing better on my recall.
- Turn that frown upside down. A big drain on my energy is thinking negatively or being around others who are negative Nellys. Another great bit of advice out of the Happiness Project is to remember, these are the good old days, this is the fun part. Whether I’m at work trying to get our team to solve a difficult problem or I’m stuck in parking garage traffic with my husband on date night: we are lucky to be here! These are the salad days! Let’s reframe the situation and have some fun.