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Archive for the ‘My Happiness Project’ Category

August – Love Thyself 

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~ Lucille Ball 

Some people may think that putting yourself first is a selfish thing to do but I beg to differ. I believe that in order to be the best person that we can be, and therefore be able to help other people, we need to put ourselves first. What good are we to anybody if we are stressed out, frustrated or just plain burnt out? This month I am going to focus on me and do all the things I need to do to rejuvenate and renew myself. 

The resolutions to focus on this month:

  • Take supplements every day
  • Floss
  • Improve posture
  • Read
  • Plan an at-home spa day at least once/month
  • Talk nice to myself 
  • Make a positive argument
  • Check in with my emotions

I have broken down my resolutions into three categories: Health (take care of myself), Indulge (pamper myself), and Love & Kindness (love myself).

Health (take care of myself):

Take Supplements Every Day

I am supposed to be taking four different vitamins/supplements twice/day but I’m lucky if I remember to take them even once each day. I know these supplements are for my own good, and they help me to live a healthy lifestyle but I just can’t seem to consistently remember to take them. I really have no excuse as the bottles are sitting right there on the counter and yet time and again I’ll go a day or two without a single pill. Well that stops today. I’m hoping by making this a goal for this month, it will be fresh in my mind and I’ll actually remember to do it.

Floss

You know how at every dentist appointment, the dentist always asks, “Have you been flossing regularly?” Well, each and every time, I blush, look away and say “well…ummm…no, not as often as I should…” aka ”pretty much never, except the odd time I get a kernel of popcorn stuck in my teeth that drives me bonkers.” We all know how important it is to do and yet most of us don’t do it. In preparation for this month, I’ve started to sporadically floss to get the hang of it and I’ve realized that I really hate using floss. My solution: I bought a big bag of those tiny floss picks so I won’t have to wrap the damn floss around my fingers anymore!

Improve Posture

I go to a chiropractor every two weeks. It helps tremendously but I also realize that I’m never going to decrease my appointment intervals if I don’t start doing something on my end too. Needless to say, my posture sucks. Because it hurts my lower back to sit up straight, I slouch at every opportunity. I really don’t want to be that little hunched lady when I grow up so it’s time I start consciously making an effort to straighten up and look my best. Besides, I’m hoping that by standing a little taller and holding my head a little higher, I may just indirectly boost my self-confidence too. 🙂 

Indulge (Pamper myself):

Read

Reading is by far my most favourite thing to do. It involves no exertion, which is terrific when I’m feeling lazy, and it provides big doses of entertainment, laughter, tears and insight. I’ve actually been reading quite a bit lately, as I have a stack of books calling my name, but I’m still not reading as much as I’d like. This month I’m giving myself permission to read as much as I want with no nagging guilt trying to pull me towards a more “productive” task. 

Plan an At-Home Spa Day at Least Once/Month

I have oodles of “spa” stuff from beautifully scented bubble baths, to everything you could possibly want to give yourself a fantastic pedicure, to my own personal microdermabrasion kit and ice eye roller. The problem is, although I love all this stuff, I rarely ever indulge in the awesomeness of it all. It sits, unused, in my closet just taunting me every time I look at it. I’m trying to be realistic here by only saying once/month as I honestly don’t think I can commit to more than that (If I have some spare time, I’ll most likely be reading 😉 ). However, with that said, I will try to use some of my products on a more regular basis but I’m certainly not promising anything. 

Love & Kindness (love myself):

Ok, this is the biggy! If I have any hope of becoming a better, more compassionate person, I need to first be kind with myself. So here goes a month of truly loving myself, unconditionally.  

Talk Nice To Myself

This one is pretty self-explanatory. No negative self-talk. Period. From now on, I will do everything in my power to build myself up instead of stomping myself down. 

Make a Positive Argument

As humans, we have this incredible ability to argue anything. We pull up example after example to support whatever cause we’re trying to push. A unique factor of this ability is the fact that we can usually shift to the complete opposite argument and still come up with examples. With that being said, I believe that I can successfully come up with a positive argument for every negative thought that may pop into my head (although no negative thoughts should be popping up if I follow the goal up above ;)). Here’s a simple example: today, while drinking from my water bottle, I spilled water all down the front of my shirt…again. Negative self talk: “Geez, I did it again! I’m so clumsy. I always spill my water!” Positive argument: “Well actually, I don’t always spill my water. I must drink from it at least 50 times per day and I’ve only spilt it once today. That’s pretty good odds. I’m awesome! :P” 

Check in With My Emotions

When I attended a women’s emotional healing retreat last year, we would all sit around in a circle and “check-in” with ourselves after each break. Our guide would have us close our eyes and lay our hand on our heart and pay attention to our emotions at that very moment. We would then go around the circle and name that emotion with one word…calm, anxious, sad, content etc. It was an incredibly powerful exercise and one I have not done since leaving the retreat. In an effort to become more aware of how I’m truly feeling, I’m going to resolve to “check-in” with myself at least once a day (if not more often).

I’m really unsure how this month will progress as most of these goals are completely new to me. But I have hope that everything will work out and I’ll be loving my awesome self in no time!

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Today is the last day of the seventh month of my Happiness Project for 2011.   

To recap, I chose to focus on Doing What Ought to Be Done. My resolutions for the month were to:  

  • Donate blood
  • Register to become an organ donor
  • Donate money to a cause
  • Sponsor a donkey
  • Replace my incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s
  • Buy a collapsible reusable bag to keep in my purse
  • Go vegetarian for one day each week
  • Program my thermostat
  • Get rid of all my excess stuff…responsibly
  • Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
  • Create an emergency kit 

This month proved to be a lot more work than I had initially thought. It sure does take a lot of time and effort to do the ‘right thing’.

Donate blood

It makes me very sad to report that I was unable to donate blood this month. As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I have been battling some sort of cold/flu/crappiness for this entire month. Since I am not allowed to donate while feeling sick and/or tired, I haven’t been able to book an appointment yet. This resolution is very important to me though and I will definitely be donating blood as soon as I feel 100%. 

Register to become an organ donor

This I was able to do and doing it made me feel soooo happy! Although it didn’t take any effort at all, and technically I haven’t really done much (as I haven’t actually saved a life or anything) it was still a huge mood booster! I highly recommend that everyone does this; not only could you save up to 8 lives but you get a fantastic “pat on the back” feeling for doing the right thing.

Donate money to a cause

I took awhile to get to this goal as I couldn’t decide what to do with my money. Do I donate x amount of dollars to one charity or do I divide it between a number of charities? Which charities do I want to support? Obviously they are all worthy causes but what really speaks to me personally? 

Since I already donate to the local humane society on a monthly basis and I gave money to the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada (see below) I felt that I needed to broaden my charities to one that wasn’t necessarily saving animals. After spending hours searching for charities online, I chose to give my donation to Canadian Tire Jumpstart

Jumpstart provides funds for disadvantaged kids to participate in organized sports and recreational activities. What I really liked most about this program is that parents can’t just sign up for it (thus eliminating the possibility of people taking advantage of the program). The kids that get funded are ones that are found through volunteers working through local chapters (ie: Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Canada, YMCA etc). These community leaders discreetly identify financially disadvantaged children that might benefit from the program. Once identified, Jumpstart will grant up to $300 per child per season for whatever activity/sport they want.

I chose this charity over all the other equally worthy causes because of my husbands’ poor upbringing. As a child he had always wanted to play ice hockey but his parents could never afford it. Now at 31 years old, he has finally started playing and is happy as a clam! Because of this I felt that this Jumpstart charity was the perfect cause to support. 

Sponsor a donkey

I am very happy to report that I finally stepped up and made the call to sponsor my sweet little donkey…well, actually, she isn’t technically a donkey, she is a beautiful little mule named Ginger. On Friday I received my official sponsor certificate as well as an adorable picture of Ginger that is now proudly hanging on my fridge. 🙂 

Replace my incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s

As I mentioned in my update, my husband and I replaced 20 of our incandescent bulbs with CFL’s. Although some of them don’t produce as good a quality of light as the old bulbs (we purchased a few “white” lights instead of the “yellow” lights as they were cheaper), I’m still very happy that we will start to save money on electricity and we can carry on with our day knowing that we took one small step to make this world a better place.

Buy a collapsible reusable bag to keep in my purse

I was lucky enough to find an adorable little black polka-dot bag at the Scenic Caves gift shop, of all places. I didn’t even notice them at first but since my observant mom was with me, and reads my blog, she knew that I had been looking for one and pointed it out to me. Now it is living a nice life in the bottom of my purse just waiting for the day it can unroll and spring to life to carry my newly purchased belongings.

Go vegetarian for one day each week

I have been sticking to this for the whole month (even sometimes going vegetarian for two days out of the week). Although my meals still aren’t all that creative (egg salad sandwiches or toast with peanut butter for lunches and pesto pasta, grilled cheese or vegetable fajitas for dinner) I’m making a point to include a vegetarian option when buying groceries each week. I can’t say that I’m feeling any healthier but I do feel that I’m making a conscious effort to take a step in the right direction.

Program my thermostat

Hmmm, well I can honestly say that although this was a good idea, I really shouldn’t have resolved to do this. I knew at the time I didn’t feel like looking for and reading an instruction manual but I believed that setting it as a goal would make me do it. I was wrong. I’m so not a manual girl, I don’t like reading technical stuff nor do I want to learn how to program a thermostat. So for now, until my husband (hopefully) does it for me, I will just keep the temperature set high and suffer in the heat in an effort to save some electricity.

Get rid of all my excess stuff…responsibly

I still have a bit more stuff to physically get rid of but I have made a lot of progress on this goal. Between friends, co-workers and strangers on Kijiji, I have been able to give away a lot of “stuff” (PS2 games, DVD’s, CD’s, a lamp, a teddy bear, scrapbook magazines etc). I have also donated 5 pairs of old glasses and sunglasses to One Sight, a big box of “construction” stuff to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and a bunch of old dishes to Goodwill. I also recycled some old electronics responsibly by dropping them off at an official e-waste recycler. I still have more stuff to get rid off but I’m currently just waiting and watching the Wanted section of Kijiji hoping to find someone in need of what I have.

Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

I looked everywhere for one of these darn stickers. I couldn’t find any online that would ship to Canada, our local humane society didn’t carry them and I had no luck at the first two pet stores I tried. However, the third pet store did carry a Rescue magnet. It’s not as good or as big as the Rescue Alert sticker I wanted, plus I had to add “x2 and a cat” in black marker after “Please rescue my dog” but it will do the trick.  

Create an emergency kit

I don’t know if any of you out there have created an emergency kit for yourselves but it’s a LOT of work! I can’t believe how much stuff you’re supposed to keep available. Just for my husband, our pets and I, we are supposed to have over 24 liters of water (plus an additional 12 liters for cooking/cleaning). Add that to the 3 days worth of canned food, can opener, flashlight, batteries, candles, matches. radio, blanket, keys, cash….plus all the pet supplies, it makes for a very, very large kit. I don’t have the kit fully constructed yet but I do have the basics ready to go if an emergency did occur. We’ll be happy little campers eating our cold Zoodles and Beefaroni for the next 72 hours. 😛

Although this month was aimed more at getting certain tasks done instead of creating new behaviours, I still felt that these goals gave me a big boost of happiness. Most of these definitely took work and time but the good you feel from doing the right thing is definitely worth the effort.

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It’s now half way through my Do What Ought To Be Done month so here is an update on how I’m doing. (Look here if you need a reminder of my goals for July.)

I’ve anxiously been waiting to donate blood but I seem to have caught some sort of cold virus. I haven’t been feeling well these last couple of weeks and I know that you must feel great in order to donate blood. I will do my best to get better and hopefully I will still meet my July 31st deadline. 

After catching a commercial on TV about organ donations, I immediately went to the website and signed my husband and I up to be donors. For something that can possibly have immense positive effects, it was such a simple process. I really don’t understand why more people don’t do it. Below you can see why organ donations are so important, and you aren’t going to need them when you are gone anyways so why not take the two minutes to sign up?

The website states that “One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation, and enhance the lives of up to 75 others through tissue donation. Every three days someone dies in Ontario waiting for a life-saving transplant. There is a chronic shortage of organs and tissue in Ontario and the need for organs and tissue continues to outweigh their availability. More than 1,500 Ontarians are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and thousands more are waiting for a tissue transplant. Organ donation saves lives. It is often the only treatment option for people with organs that are damaged through injury or disease and who would otherwise die.” 

And even if you die in such a way that disqualifies your organs, they can still usually get usable tissue from you so it is still very important to sign up and let your wishes be known!

I have not donated any money or sponsored a donkey yet. I have my credit card limit set very low and it’s currently near the max point after paying for my next Adventure day and some theater tickets. I need to wait a few more days before the balance is paid and then I can get all over my donations. 🙂

My husband and I joined forces and spent an evening replacing 20 of our incandescent light bulbs with those neat-o spiral CFL bulbs. We replaced every single “standard” light bulb that we had. The only bulbs left now are some weird globe shaped ones with small connector ends in our bathrooms and a number of halogens up in our track lights and spot lights. Eventually I’d like to replace the halogens with energy-efficient ones but they are $17.99 for a two-pack and we have over 15 bulbs.

I have not yet found a collapsible reusable bag but I have been more conscious of using the bags I do have now. I have not even attempted the thermostat program either but I do still plan on getting it done before the end of the month (plus, in the meantime, even though the air conditioning is on, I have it set quite high so it’s still fairy warm in here – saving energy).

I have successfully gone vegetarian for one day each week. I replaced my meat/fish sandwich with an egg salad sandwich and I made pasta each night for dinner. I know it’s not all that creative but it was easy and contained no meat so my mission was accomplished. 

Getting rid of all my excess stuff responsibly has been taking a lot longer than expected. It requires a lot of research and organization, which I don’t mind, I’m just not as far along as I would like though. I have mostly gone through everything that I want to get rid of and have sorted it somewhat into different boxes and have been giving away little bits as I go along. I have yet to go through the majority of my no longer wanted clothes but I plan on doing that tomorrow (I want to wash everything first and I need to wait until the weekend to do that) 

So far, I’ve been able to find new homes for a big scented candle, some hot chocolate I can’t have, a brand new box of coffee filters and a lamp. I have also donated my old glasses to onesight and just found out that they also take non-prescription sunglasses (I have a few pairs of these that I will have to drop off). I have managed to organize and set aside a bunch of old PS2 games for a friend and/or the game store, some colouring books & crayons for a school/daycare center, a ton of great stuff for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a bunch of coat hangers that I’m going to bring to a dry cleaner, some dishes for Goodwill, an old alarm clock and DVD player to be recycled at FutureShop and a bunch of other random stuff that I haven’t found a place for yet (computer games, scrapbook magazines, a brand new teddy bear and some girly stuff – perfume, body lotion and brand new hair brushes). I also have all my clothes and shoes to eventually drop off somewhere too once it’s washed.

I had read somewhere that you could order a Rescue Alert Sticker online for free but I haven’t been able to find any places that ship to Canada. I discovered a few different ones on amazon.com but they don’t qualify for the free shipping and I don’t even want to know what the shipping cost would be. I’m going to hit up a couple of pet stores in hopes that they might carry some. Worst case scenario, I make my own and tape it to my window. 😛

I have started getting bits of my emergency kit together and I have cleared away a spot in our closet for it when it’s all done. I can’t believe how much room you need though, there is a lot of stuff! For just two people, and two dogs, we need over 2 cases of water plus 3 days worth of food for each of us on top of all the other extras (flashlight, candles, can opener, first aid kit etc.)

Surprisingly, the tasks I have completed so far have made me really, really happy. Not only am I clearing the nagging tasks from my to-do list (and mind) but I’m doing something really good for other people, the environment and the world. I love this month!

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July – Do What Ought To Be Done

“I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

~ From The Book of Good Cheer : A Little Bundle of Cheery Thoughts (1909) by Edwin Osgood Grover 

You know all those little things that we all feel we should be doing but never quite get around to doing them? Well, this month I am going to do all those things. I will be knocking off a number of nagging tasks as well as boosting my happiness as a result of doing the right thing.

The resolutions to focus on this month:

  • Donate blood
  • Register to become an organ donor
  • Donate money to a cause
  • Sponsor a donkey
  • Replace my incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s
  • Buy a collapsible reusable bag to keep in my purse
  • Go vegetarian for one day each week
  • Program my thermostat
  • Get rid of all my excess stuff…responsibly
  • Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
  • Create an emergency kit

Donate blood

I have never donated blood before but I would like to. I was told, due to my lasting, long-tern sickness that I was unable to donate as my blood wasn’t healthy. However, after 10 months of a considerable diet change, exercise and positive thinking, I am now feeling fantastic! My energy levels are up, I’m no longer tired and weak all the time and my blood is a-okay! My doctor has recently given me the go-ahead to donate blood so I’m not going to let this opportunity pass me by.

Register to become an organ donor

I’ve always said that I’d like to be an organ donor; I’ve told my husband time after time that I’d like to give my organs to someone else in need if the circumstances arose but until recently I didn’t realize that you can actually officially register to donate. I am going to take the time to fill out and mail the appropriate paperwork to ensure that my wishes are taken care of in the unlikely event that a bus hits me.

Donate money to a cause

I usually always give money when asked by the cashier at the grocery store or retail outlet and I will often support others when participating in a charity fundraiser but I don’t often donate to a cause just for the sake of helping out. This month I will research a worthy cause and just give money for the sake of doing what is right.

Sponsor a donkey

One of my favourite charities is the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada and for the last year or so I have been meaning to sponsor a donkey but I just haven’t gotten around to doing it. I even have the donkey, or in my case, the mule chosen already. I visit with her and take her picture as if she’s already *my* donkey but I haven’t actually made my donation yet. I think it’s about time I put my money where my mouth is and make that very important call.

Replace my incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s

In my previous house, most of the lights and/or bulbs needed replacing so my husband and I had stripped all the light bulbs in the house and replaced them all with the cool energy efficient spiral bulbs. However, when we had our current house built, it already had all brand new lights and bulbs in it so we never got around to replacing the bulbs. Although all of our bulbs are still burning bright, I think it’s time we do what’s right and replace them with their energy efficient friends.

Buy a collapsible reusable bag to keep in my purse

We always, always use reusable bags when doing groceries and I even keep an extra bag in my car for the short mid-week trips for those forgotten grocery items. My problem is that I never remember to bring that bag in with me when I do any other shopping that’s not at the grocery store. Those quick trips to Wal-Mart result in too many plastic bags and don’t even get me started on the number of stupid, unusable bags I get when wandering around the mall. I figure the best way to ensure I always have a bag with me is to purchase one of those bags that fold up inside itself to form a little strawberry or something. That way I can leave it in my purse and it will always be ready to use when needed.

Program the thermostat

A few years back we bought a programmable thermostat. We had it set up to decrease use during the day while we were at work and during the night while we were sleeping. It was great until one day the program reset itself and we haven’t been able to reprogram it since. We can’t seem to find the manual and the darn thing is proving to be much too complicated to figure out on our own. This month I am going to look high and low for that manual or else I will try to look it up online. Either way, I’m going to figure out how to program that silly thing and start saving some energy.

Go vegetarian for one day each week

I would love to go vegetarian every day if I could but it’s just so hard to do when a) my husband loves meat b) I really hate cooking so the easier the meal, the better for me (chicken fingers are definitely one of my go-to foods when I’m feeling lazy) and c) I have no clue how to cook any of those vegetarian foods (tofu, really?). So since I’m not willing to commit to a life of eating meatless meals, I’m going to do what I can and go vegetarian for one whole day each week. 

Get rid of all my excess stuff…responsibly

I have a lot of junk I’d like to get rid off. The easy way would be to load it all up in my car and drop it off at the local Goodwill. That’s all fine and dandy but what if the Goodwill has no use for it? Why make them sort through all my junk when I could do it for them? That’s just what I’m going to do. I’m going to join Freecycle and see if there is anyone out there that actually wants some of my old stuff. I’m also going to break all my stuff into piles and take specific stuff to different charities or stores. Why take old colouring books to Goodwill if I can bring them to a neighbourhood daycare center. Why throw away old Playstation games when I can take then to the game store. The way I figure it, if I can take some extra time to sort my stuff, a lot of people could benefit and get what they want instead of overloading the Goodwill with more heaps of junk to sort.

Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

I have two dogs and a cat and my biggest fear is there being a fire when I’m not home. I’m going to try to track down one of those rescue alert stickers to place in my front window…just in case.

Create an emergency kit

Every year I get a paper from my region with loads of info on emergency preparedness. Each year I read it and say “I should really do that” and then I recycle the paper and forget all about it. Well no more! This month I’m going to actually get off my butt and make a little emergency kit for out home.  

This month isn’t going to be like my other project months, there will be no personality changes nor repeated daily exercises, however, I feel that getting these specific items done is still a step on the right direction. If I don’t add these to my Happiness Project, I really fear that they will never get done. So for the sake of my nagging brain and the happiness of myself and all the people I can potentially help, here goes my July Happiness Project month!

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Today is the last day of the sixth month of my Happiness Project for 2011. 

To recap, I chose to focus on Prioritizing Playtime. My resolutions for the month were to:  

  • Lighten up
  • Enjoy the process
  • Avoid time-wasters
  • Begin to paint at home
  • Resurrect my sketch book
  • Complete two scrapbook pages
  • Sit on the deck and take pleasure in my surroundings
  • Canoe the Grand
  • Attend Donkey Day
  • Go for a picnic

This month has definitely been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to keep up these goals for the rest of the year (and beyond).

Lighten up

This has been a constant and wonderful mantra that I often repeat to myself. I am actually finding it quite easy to lighten up and to just go with it. There are so many simple, ridiculous things that do not need to be analyzed, fretted over or made into a big deal. It is so much healthier, and it makes me so much happier if I just lighten up and laugh about it. I honestly feel that I have laughed much more this month than any other and a huge part of that has to do with this particular goal. 

Enjoy the process

I think I’ve done really well with this. At first I had to often remind myself to ‘enjoy the process” (like I did at the walk-in clinic I mentioned in my update) but it eventually became a new, permanent thought in my mind. I seem to just be naturally enjoying my days now. If I’m stuck driving somewhere, I look at it as an opportunity to jam out to some tunes. If I’m stuck doing chores, I look at them as opportunities to do some physical work or to relax and focus on my thoughts or breath. Overall, I am living more in the moment, instead of focusing on the next thing to be done.

Avoid time-wasters

In the beginning of the month I was having a bit of trouble with this but as the month has gone on, I think I’ve really nailed this goal. I now make sure to do everything I need to do (exercising, chores etc) before I go on the computer each day so that I don’t have a ton of time left over to browse nothingness. We have also recently been put on time-of-use billing for our hydro so instead of putting the computer on sleep mode all day and night, I now turn it off completely when I’m done my once a day Facebook/email check and blog update. Without the easy to “wake” sleep mode on, I am no longer able to easily, quickly check updates so I just don’t bother. I’m really enjoying this new method and I really don’t miss checking my Facebook or email at all.

Begin to paint at home

I have painted one 16×20 canvas at home but I haven’t completely finished it yet. Frankly, I’m a little afraid to finish it as I’m unsure what to do next. I always have my painting teacher within a few feet of me during class so she can always help me when I need it. At home, I’m on my own and that’s a little frightening at times. I know it’s only a painting but the perfectionist in me really wants to make it the very best that it can be.

Resurrect my sketch book

I have successfully dug out my old sketch book and have completed three pages. I drew a fun little cartoon boy, a turtle, an elephant, a goldfish and an adorable goofy little monkey. I hope to sign up for a drawing class in the next few months to improve my ability and learn some new techniques.

Complete two scrapbook pages

Epic fail. I have done nothing. Nada. Zilch. I’ve tried; I really intended too; I even read through a few of my old scrapbook magazines but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually pull out all of my supplies. Scrapbooking is something that, for me, requires inspiration. It is not something that I can just do on the spot because someone tells me to (even if that someone is myself setting a goal). When I’m not inspired, I just can’t do it. I’ve gone months and months without scrapbooking but then I’ll turn around and complete and entire 25+ page album in four days. Unfortunately, this month was not an inspirational month.

Sit on the deck and take pleasure in my surroundings

As I mentioned in my update, I gave up on this goal. It was not happening for me. Much like scrapbooking, this was a goal that I couldn’t do simply because I was supposed to do it. I need to be in the mood to sit out on my deck, I need to want to be out there. Funny enough, this week I have sat out there for 2-3 hours each day but it had nothing to do with my happiness project, I just wanted to get outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.

Canoe the Grand

My husband and I spent nearly four hours paddling down 20km of the beautiful Grand River. The weather was just perfect for a morning on the water. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze and the scenery was spectacular. I got some much needed fresh air, saw a bunch of neat wild life, spent some quality time with my husband (and best friend in another canoe) and got a fabulous free intense workout (which I love!). This was a lot of fun and I will definitely be making this a routine hobby of mine from now on.

Attend Donkey Day

My “little sister” and I attended Donkey Day on June 12th and had a terrific time!  We had fun watching the very entertaining dog agility competition, we got our picture taken with Marci the miniature donkey, we ate some delicious chip wagon fries (yum!), played some carnival-type games, bought some used books to support the sanctuary, shopped at the donkey store (I bought an adorable donkey figurine for my desk at work) and visited with the donkey’s. It was a wonderful day and I hope to go back again next year.

Go for a picnic

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to go for my picnic yet. We were rushed for time after canoeing and I haven’t been able to get my “little sister” the last couple weekends to go with her.  I thought about going by myself this week while I’ve been off but I just couldn’t bring myself to picnic all alone. I’m still planning on going for a picnic sometime soon, it just won’t be in the month of June.

Even though I didn’t have great results with a few of these goals, I still feel that this has been a very successful month. I have certainly had fun and as a result I have been a lot happier. 🙂

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It’s now half way through my Prioritize Playtime month so here is an update on how I’m doing. (Look here if you need a reminder of my goals for June.)

Well, I must admit that I haven’t been completing the tasks on my list as quickly as I’d like but I have certainly been having a lot of fun this month.  

I think I’ve been doing pretty well with my “lighten up” goal. I’ve also been trying really hard to enjoy the process. I continuously remind myself of that goal anytime I start to get bored or annoyed with something mundane. I am trying to change my perspective on the really dull things, like last week when I was at the walk-in clinic waiting forever for the doctor to see me. Instead of getting annoyed that I had to wait so long and could be using my time a lot more effectively, I decided to change my perspective and enjoy the process. I told myself that instead of wasting all this free time, with zero distractions, I should take advantage of the situation. Since I couldn’t leave the room and I didn’t have access to anything other than the items in my purse, I decided to meditate. I didn’t close my eyes, as I didn’t want to look stupid if the doc did walked in, but I sat there with a straight back, focused on my breathing and enjoyed the time I had to wait.

I still have a ways to go with avoiding my time wasters but I think I have discovered a trick that will help me out. When I get home from work I usually go right to the computer to update my blog. Well, one thing leads to another and before I know it, I’ve been sitting there for an hour or two and I haven’t gotten anything else accomplished. Since my treadmilling has really suffered lately (because I just run out of time) I decided to jump on the treadmill as soon as I got home yesterday before I went on the computer. And you know what? I was still able to get everything done on the computer that I wanted to get done after I exercised. It seems that if I have spare time, I will waste it looking through random things on the net but if I only have a limited amount of time, I seem to get everything important accomplished. My new eliminate-time-waster-trick will be to exercise and do whatever other important things need to get done first, before I sit down at the computer (and since I can’t go on after 6pm, I won’t get too carried away). 

I have only made a bit of progress on my indoor hobbies as the weather has been just delightful lately and I don’t want to waste in indoors. I spent a few hours one morning painting my first at-home, unassisted painting and I have done a couple of drawings but I have yet to pull out any of my scrapbooking supplies. 

Sitting on my deck enjoying my surroundings has not worked out so far. For some reason, whenever I make a goal like this (or like last months goal to get outdoors) I seem to completely rebel against it. I think this is because I need to want to go outside or sit there enjoying the atmosphere; I can’t just force myself to sit there and enjoy it. I need to be in the right mood and frame of mind and that is just something that can’t be enforced on a daily basis. If it’s a warm afternoon, I’ll go out there for a bit and relax and watch the birds or if it’s a quiet morning, and my husband is still in bed, I often find myself on the deck, wrapped up in a blanket, enjoying the quiet. But to add it to my already busy schedule is just something that isn’t going to happen.  

I have made reservations to Canoe the Grand on Sunday the 19th. If I don’t end up packing a picnic for our canoe adventure, then I will definitely be making plans to go on a picnic next weekend with my “little sister”.  

June 12th was Donkey Day and I am happy to say that my “little sister” and I had a terrific time!  The weather wasn’t the best when we first got there but the sun eventually came out and warmed us up. We watched the very funny dog agility competition, got our picture taken with Marci the miniature donkey, ate some delicious chip wagon fries, played some carnival-type games, bought some used books to support the sanctuary, shopped at the donkey store (I bought an adorable donkey figurine for my desk at work) and visited with the donkey’s. It was a wonderful day and I hope to go back again next year.

I may not have completed as many tasks as I would have hoped by the mid-way point but this month has definitely been filled with a lot of playtime. On top of the happiness project goals, I have also gone horseback riding, attended another mediation class, gone out to the movies (and watched a few at home), I’m going to Toronto tomorrow to watch the funny “Woman Fully Clothed” and I’ve spent a lot of time reading. I have been focusing a lot on fun this month and I am positively happy! 🙂

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June – Prioritize Playtime 

“At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.”  ~ Jean Houston  

For the last few months, in an effort to enhance my happiness, I have been focusing much of my energy on correcting my destructive behaviours and eliminating the negative feelings in my life. Reducing the negative is very important in boosting ones happiness but I think we can all agree that participating in activities that immediately and directly amplify your happiness is another great way to improve your life. This month I will reconnect with my creative side, learn to lighten up and participate in a ton of fun and pleasurable activities that make me smile. 

The resolutions to focus on this month:

  • Lighten up
  • Enjoy the process
  • Avoid time-wasters
  • Begin to paint at home
  • Resurrect my sketch book
  • Complete two scrapbook pages
  • Sit on the deck and take pleasure in my surroundings
  • Canoe the Grand
  • Attend Donkey Day
  • Go for a picnic

(there are so many more fun things I’d like to do but I only have so much time in one month…)

Lighten Up

I like to think of myself as a pretty easy going person but I know there are times when I get a little cranky over the little things. I also feel that sometimes I am “too cool” for my husbands jokes and comments and will usually just ignore them. As part of increasing the fun in my life I am going to make a big effort to just lighten up already! Life is much to short to take seriously so it’s time to crack a smile, give a giggle and just let things go. 

Enjoy the Process

The more I work on my happiness project the more I am realizing that the everyday things, the process, the journey, is it! This is life! We all seem to buzz around so quickly from one thing to the next that we never seem to enjoy where we are at this very moment. We’re too busy focusing on the finish line that we don’t notice the objects at our side. We see the final destination of our actions but we don’t open up our eyes to the magical journey we are taking to get to that destination. From now on I am resolving to slow down, live in the moment and enjoy the process.

Avoid Time-Wasters

Since my “unplug after 6pm” was such a big success I’m going to start eliminating more of my time-wasters. I’m not sure what this will entail quite yet but I’m sure I can figure out some ways to decrease my Facebook time, reduce the amount of TV I watch and fine-tune the web sites I spend my time on. 

Begin To Paint At Home

As part of my March Happiness Project month I joined a painting class. I have never enjoyed anything more in my life! It is relaxing, creative, and very rewarding. I am still enrolled in the class and will probably continue to attend for the rest of the year but I’d like to do even more. I’d like to see what I’m capable of creating on my own. In preparation for this goal, I have purchased my very own easel, a couple canvases, three paintbrushes and oodles of paint. Now I just have to pick up that brush and begin… 

Resurrect My Sketch Book

I have always enjoyed drawing but I never, ever make the time to do it. Since I began my painting class, I have been thinking more and more about my dusty old sketch book, sitting untouched in the back of my closet. I think it’s finally time to dig it out and add some blocks of drawing time to my schedule. 

Complete Two Scrapbook Pages

Scrapbooking is another one of my hobbies that has taken the back burner to more important things. I have so many ideas and so many products that are just waiting to be used up! This month I have decided to complete at least two pages (I’d like to do more but since scrapbooking is such a time-consuming activity, I will keep it realistic with just two pages).

Sit on My Deck and Take Pleasure in My Surroundings

If the weather continues to co-operate for the rest of June, and the rain can stay away, I’d like to make a point of sitting out on my deck each day for some quiet reflection. Too often we will read a book, have a conversation or busy ourselves with chores instead of just sitting peacefully in the moment. In anticipation of continuing with my journey towards peace, and fulfilling my May requirement of getting outdoors, I will be spending a good portion of my afternoon taking pleasure in my backyard surroundings. 

Canoe the Grand

A few years ago I went on a canoeing adventure with some co-workers and although I had a really fun time, I have never made the effort to go again. This month I am determined to pick a day, pack a lunch and I will canoe the Grand River. 

Attend Donkey Day

One of my most favourite places in the whole world to visit is The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. It is a wonderful farm that takes in donkeys, mules and hinnies who have been neglected or abused, or who can no longer be cared for by their owners. They are a not-for-profit charity, funded entirely by private donations so I am more than happy to pay my fare to visit with these incredibly gentle, beautiful animals. 

Each year they host a Donkey Day to raise awareness (and money) to support their tremendous cause. I never seem to hear about this event until after it has passed though so I’ve never been able to attend. Well this year it is happening on June 12th and I will be going for sure! They will have musicians, a dog agility demonstration, a donkey & mule interactive learning center, donkey ‘n u photo, donkey tattoos, face painting and wagon rides. I am so very excited to see all the donkey’s once again and as a bonus, I may just be able to get my face painted too! 🙂 

Go For a Picnic

How many of us say we should go for a picnic? How many of us actually do? Well I am that person that always plans on doing it but never quite gets around to accomplishing it. This month I am going to make some sandwiches, collect some snacks and head out to the park for a playful picnic with the ducks. 

I think this month is going to be fun! Let’s just cross our fingers that the weather co-operates for my outdoor adventures and I can enjoy my playtime with the sun shining and the bird singing. And on those few undoubtedly rainy days, I’ll kick into creative mode and paint, draw and scrapbook my afternoons away!

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