I recently read Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, and I’ve been conducting a project of my own. After reading the book, I wrote my own commandments, which have already produced good results. Now, I’ve identified the areas of my life that I want to work on for the next seven months.
My original thought, when I set out my plan and deadlines, was to identify ten or twelve aspects of my life that I want to improve. However, since I’m doing this project in seven months, rather than twelve, I’ve decided to focus on seven aspects – one per month. (That would be me putting Commandment No. 5 – seek simplicity – into practice.)
I have come up with the following categories:
- Cleansing (June)
- Health (July)
- Faith (August)
- Finances (September)
- Attitude (October)
- Community (November)
- Goals (December)
I could have gone lots of directions with this, both in terms of aspects and the order in which I plan to tackle them. I think my rationale makes some sense. First, I’d like to clean out my body, my house, and my car, all with a mindset for starting anew and, hopefully, keeping things clean. Then, once stuff is cleaned out, I’d like to focus on good sleep, exercise, and nutrition, all of which I hope will lead to better energy. Then I’d like to establish more of a routine for prayer, Bible study, and my writing. (Yes, I put my writing in the “faith” category because (a) it’s that important to me and (b) the belief that something good will come of it is an act of faith.) After I’ve re-established a rhythm of looking upwards, I’d like to think about money – how I spend and save as compared to how I should spend and save. With my proverbial house in order, which I believe largely will be the case if I stick with this plan, I’d like to focus on my attitude – specifically on not complaining, on being hopeful, and on being joyful. Once I’m done dealing with my space and being, I’d like to focus on my circles of involvement – family, friends, and commitments. Am I serving each well? Am I in the right ones? Do I need to make changes? And finally, in my birthday month, I want to look back on the goals I set for 2011 and see how I did, and I want to establish my goals for 2012.
I think this project makes sense for me.
What I love in thinking about the Happiness Project effort generally is that no two projects need to be alike. Gretchen’s made sense for her. Mine is specifically for me. If you’re doing one of your own, yours will look different, as it should. I think it’s exciting that the concept is adaptable and functional and utterly personal.
If you’re doing your own project, I’d love to hear your categories and your rationale. And I hope you’re excited about what you are doing. I certainly am.