I have made a multitude of goals for this month in my quest to be well. I realized I have absolutely no way to evaluate my efforts. Am I sticking to my goals? What’s working for me and what isn’t? And, most importantly, am I happier?
Exercise at least 30 minutes a day: of all of the goals I made for this month, I am most proud to say this is the one I have stuck to without cheating! Yay for me! While for the active people reading this it may not seem like such a big deal to get 30 minutes of exercise a day, to my recently developed couch potatoe-ness, it truly is an accomplishment. I have not skipped a day since I began my happiness project three weeks ago and I’ve reached the point where it is a part of my everyday routine. The greatest benefit so far is this enormous burst of energy I have. I have energy to live, to have fun, to enjoy my life. To do projects! I feel rejuvenated and it’s a priceless feeling. What’s even more fantastic is I feel like this renewed energy in my life has been infectious to those around me. It is so great to have conversations about my happiness project with friends and family and see that it is inspiring them to make changes to their life and take on some of the same challenges I’ve taken on. What’s more is I feel like because I am happy, its making people around me feel happier too.
Attend one group fitness class a week: I have one thing to say. I HATE GROUP FITNESS CLASSES! I have now attended two: TRX Challenge and Express Body Pump. And that is two too many people. Even the thought of attending group fitness classes any more makes me not want to go to the gym, period. I wish I could be that gym-going maniac person who loves to hurt myself and make my body burn, but I’m not. I already dislike working out and my whole purpose of exercising to be well was to enjoy the experience, you know, the process. And I’m not when I’m in a group fitness class. For two weeks I could not fully extend my arms. That’s not fun nor is it enjoyable – that’s torture. I have to be true to myself and If I’m honest, group fitness classes just don’t work for me. I enjoy the eliptical. I enjoy walking. I enjoy hiking. I do not enjoy group fitness classes. So guess what? I’m not going anymore. And yes, that DOES make me happier!
Read the newspaper and share an interesting story every day: so for awhile I was stealing the St. Louis Post Dispatch from the Executive Director of my organization (who has no idea why on earth I keep taking it and gives me funny looks, haha). But again, if I can be honest, this wasn’t working for me. I tried to start reading the newspaper on the internet everyday but really that wasn’t working for me either. I felt overwhelmed with all of the information in front of me that I ended up skimming everything. I wanted thought provoking, write in the margin type of information and skimming didn’t let me do that. Discussing my dilemma with my coworker, whose goal is to also be well informed this month, she suggested I start listening to NPR on the 30 minute commute to work and home. I thought this was genius. So, although I altered my goal a little bit it has actually been great. I have spent the last week listening to NPR on my way to work and home and I definitely feel more informed and aware of what is going on on the domestic and international fronts. Liz makes a great point: although being well informed might not seem like a way to finding happiness, ultimately it is for us. It makes us more aware and for me (and maybe for Liz too), it makes me feel more legitimate. Legitimacy feels good. Feeling good makes me happy.
Bite my tongue and don’t complain: I challenged myself (and then challenged you all) to stop complaining for the week. Overall, I think I did really well, but damn, this was so HARD for me! The challenge was worth it though. I never realized how much I complained about minute nuances in life until I took this challenge and forced myself to be conscious of the things I was saying. Biting your tongue is not always the easiest thing to do, but what I noticed is the less I complained, the less others complained around me. When I would catch myself at the beginning of a complaint, I made myself stop. Again, it’s one of those infectious challenges and so much positive energy comes out of it. For those of you who took the challenge with me, how did you guys do? Was it hard or easy? Tell me about it!
Three weeks into my happiness project, I am making great progress. I’m finding things that work for me and things that don’t. I’m finding that the process of being happier is just that – a process. It doesn’t mean every day is going to be easy or happy or without disappointments. The goals I’ve set for myself have made me more aware of my mind and body. I feel in tune with myself for the first time in the past six months and I truly do believe my efforts thusfar have contributed to making me happier.