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Posts Tagged ‘resolutions’

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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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 fifth month of my Happiness Project for 2011.

To recap, I chose to focus on Peace & Spirituality. My resolutions for the month were to: 

  • Sit in complete silence for 10 minutes each day
  • Attend a meditation class
  • Unplug after 6pm
  • Breathe
  • Create a gratitude journal and write in it each day
  • Explore the outdoors for 10 minute every day
  • Visit a Buddhist Temple
  • Visit the First Unitarian Congregation
  • Read the Bible 

I really feel like I slacked off a bit with this month. I did most of the things I had committed to but I didn’t do them with full enthusiasm or interest. The purpose of this month was to learn to bring peace into my life as well as find some sort of spiritual connection but I really feel like I was just going through the motions, checking off the next item on my to-do list. 

Sit in Complete Silence for 10 Minutes Each Day

In the beginning of the month, I did my best to make this a priority but as the month went on, and I didn’t really feel like I was getting any real benefits from this exercise, I considerably reduced the frequency of my solitude. Although most times I would feel much more relaxed after the ten minutes were complete, I didn’t feel like I was getting anything else from it. 

I’ve always heard that meditation has all these huge benefits; it reduces stress, releases anger and fear, and helps you to develop more kindness, compassion and gratitude. It is a remarkable tool for self-reflection. It enables you to look within and see more clearly, witness your deepest thoughts and reduce your self-involvement. All I received from my time alone was an increased relaxed feeling – from all the breathing, and a slight increase in my frustration levels from constantly (unsuccessfully) eliminating the distracting thoughts and attempting to ignore the surrounding noises. 

I think I may need to get some expert advice on this whole meditation thing. Perhaps I am simply putting too much pressure on myself. Maybe this particular way is not the right way for me. Maybe I just need to stick with it a bit longer until my mind becomes more trained. I believe I went into this with high expectations, assuming I’d come out of it with these huge insights. Perhaps there is no ulterior purpose to meditation. Maybe the only intention one should have is to just be there, in the moment, without trying to achieve anything in particular or get anywhere. Maybe there really is no right or wrong way, simply being present and being aware is the only objective. 

Attend a Meditation Class

I finally found a cool meditation class – one without all the weird chanting and flower child attire and acoustic guitars. I found a meditation class that is instructed by a very peaceful, serene Buddhist monk. The class was an hour and a half long and involved over 45 minutes of silent meditation (and I thought 10 minutes a day was tough!). The teacher guided us through a breathing meditation and then changed our focus to one of positive intention. Apparently, if you bestow a positive intention to each of your meditations it becomes much more powerful. The teacher then stopped the meditation to discuss some Buddhist values and teachings. She talked about Karma and then focused the talk around anger and how we can effectively deal with the anger in our lives (we certainly don’t want to have an outburst and create bad Karma for ourselves! 🙂 ) She ended the class with another silent meditation where we again concentrated on our breathing, created a positive intention and then spent a few more minutes focusing on anger and what we can do to deal with our anger and become a much more patient and peaceful person. 

I really enjoyed this class for three reasons. The first was because it forced me to sit there in silence for a really long time. The second was because the teacher was awesome and taught me a lot about Buddhist tradition and creating more patience and peace in my life. And the third was the fact that we were told to specifically think of a thought (how we can deal with our anger to become more patient). This was key for me. During all of my at home solitude sessions I would try my best to clear my mind from all thoughts but in this class we were actually encouraged to focus on those thoughts. That, I believe, is where the real self-reflection and insights will be found. 

Unplug After 6pm

For the most part, I found this goal pretty easy and quite calming. Other than the two nights when I had to go on after 6pm to upload my daily blog post, I have managed to stay away from the computer. It sounds weird but knowing that I could not go on it led to a very calming, peaceful feeling. I no longer have all these distracting thoughts of what I should go search for or check up on. I simply don’t care. 6pm is my time now to do what I want without having that nagging timewaster hanging over my head. 

Breathe

I’ve done pretty well with this. I wouldn’t say it has made a big difference in my life but having it as one of my goals at least reminds me every once in awhile to just stop and take a few deep breaths. 

Create a Gratitude Journal and Write In It Each Day

My gratitude journal has been really good for me. It encourages me to live in the moment and to become more aware of all the things I have to be thankful for. I did noticed a lot of little things before I started the journal but I feel that I really fully observe and engage myself in the simple pleasures now.  I literally stop to smell the roses and pause a moment when I see a bird singing in the trees. I allow myself to completely delight in the silly things and fully appreciate all the beauty we have in this world. 

Explore the Outdoors for 10 Minute Every Day

Unfortunately I did not succeed in this department at all. I’m going to use the record amount of rainfall as my excuse. When it was nice out, I did make sure to get outside, usually for at least half an hour to a full 2-3 hours. However, on those frequent miserable dreary days, I tended to shy away from the outside world and submersed myself deeper into my comfy, dry house.

Visit a Buddhist Temple

Last Sunday I attended a Buddhist Center. I wanted to go to one of the big temples in my city but I couldn’t find any info on them, all I could find was the addresses and the emails I sent out requesting info were ignored. This particular Buddhist Center had a fabulous website though, with lots of info, so I gave it a shot. The Sunday “class” was very small, with just three other people in it. It was held in the upstairs of a building, above a store, and was certainly nothing like the big old church I was expecting. We started with a prayer (played to music), did a 20 minute silent meditation, the monk talked for a few minutes then proceeded to play another musical chant-like prayer for world peace. We had another short 5 min meditation, played another musical prayer then had tea with the monk. It certainly wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t a bad experience by any means but I don’t think I will be going back. I have my Buddhist meditation class now that is similar in the teachings and meditation but lacks the (slightly annoying) musical prayers. 

Visit the First Unitarian Congregation

I attended the First Unitarian Congregation a few weeks ago and had a really great time. I was quite nervous as I had never been to a real church before but this place put me completely at ease. The people were all really nice, the place was very casual (jeans & t-shirt kind of apparel) and it wasn’t at all preachy and religious. I started by belting my heart out to “Lean on Me”, listened to a story about Winnie the Pooh, participated in a few minutes of silent meditation as well as music meditation to a live band and got to hear a really awesome sermon about making decisions. The overall impression I got from this congregation was not one of God, religion, sacrifice and commandments but one of community and non-judgmental togetherness. It was a lot of fun and I will definitely go back again in the future. 

Read the Bible 

I must admit, I’ve pretty much let this goal fall right off my priority list. To be fair, I have refused to pick up any other books in the meantime, in hopes of inspiring myself to pick up the Bible but I just couldn’t spend my free time reading it. It is just so very long and boring (well, compared to my exciting murder mystery novels I like to read anyways). I have read some of it (the book of Matthew, Mark, and John) but I haven’t made it all the way through. I do intend on finishing it eventually, as I do still feel it’s important for me to have at least read it once, but I think resolving to read it in its entirely in 31 days was too big for me. 
 
I certainly don’t think this month was a waste in any sense but I am definitely not as happy with the outcome as I had first presumed. I’m very glad that I found a few more things to get me out of the house each week as it’s now been proven that being extroverted is very beneficial to my happiness. I really enjoy my gratitude journal, it does provide me with a lot of happiness, but I really don’t feel any more at peace as a result of these goals. I intend to continue with them as best as I can and see what the next few months bring my way.

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

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

  • Show up
  • Make time for someone important every day
  • Express appreciation
  • Stay in touch
  • Celebrate birthdays
  • Listen, engage, stop talking!
  • Join 2 social groups
  • Enroll myself in a class
  • Make 1 new friend
  • Act friendly

Strengthen Friendships:

Show up

I can proudly say that my calendar has been very packed this month with new adventures and plans with old friends. I haven’t backed out of anything that I have agreed to and I tried my best to show up to as many things as I could. I must also admit that although I was hesitant to leave the comfort of my home, I did in fact have a lot of fun getting out of the house and will continue to “show up” in the upcoming months.

A side bonus I received from this resolution is a new appreciation for the nights that I do stay home. I was really taking those lazy nights for granted because they happened night after night. Now, when I do have a free night, I don’t waste it away playing on the computer; I fully embrace the free time and have spent those nights hanging with my man or catching up on all the books I’ve been meaning to read.

Make Time for Someone Important Every Day

I’m pretty sure I have done this most days. I haven’t consciously made the choice to go out and find someone to talk to every day or anything but if someone has stopped by to chat, I have tried my best to stop whatever else I’m doing and give that person my full attention when possible.

Express Appreciation

As I mentioned in my Happiness Project update, I had a hard time with this one. I expressed my appreciation to a few of my friends but I found it very difficult and awkward to express my feelings freely. I do feel this is a very important thing to do though so I will continue to force myself out of my comfort zone and say what’s on my mind.

Stay In Touch

My main problem to resolve this month was my tardy response to friend’s emails and Facebook messages. For the most part, I did pretty well with this. Of course there were some days when I truly was too busy to email someone back while I was at work but I really did try to respond as soon as I could.

From an initiator stand point though, this resolution didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped. Two key components of my Happiness Project are to increase the good feelings in my life and to decrease any bad feelings. Unfortunately, on a number of occasions, reaching out to others and trying to connect only increased the negative feelings. I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one that has difficulty responding to messages. During this month, I have reach out to a few different friends and have received no response in return. So instead of reconnecting and boosting my good feelings, I just feel rejected and disappointed.

Celebrate Birthdays

I have successfully compiled one grand list of all my good friends, family and favourite co-workers birthdays. I have also purchased a ton of birthday cards and have slowly been handing them out as the birthdays pop up. There haven’t been many birthdays during this month though so I’ll have to wait for the upcoming months to really celebrate.

Listen, Engage, Stop Talking!

Epic fail. This is just something I cannot seem to get through my head. Don’t get me wrong, I do listen when other people talk but I am also eagerly waiting for a break in the conversation so that I can speak up with my latest news, opinion or advice. Although I am going to continue working on this, because I really would like to become a better listener, I think I am going to have to surrender to the fact that I enjoy talking. I can only cross my fingers and hope that my friends don’t mind and that maybe some of them are even friends with me because I talk so much.

Build Friendships:

Join 2 Social Groups

I’m happy to report that I have joined 2 groups I found on meetup.com!

The first is a social group for positive people who meet up once a month to hang out and discuss awesome, happy things.  I have attended one meeting so far and had a blast! Although I was the youngest person there, and probably won’t make any solid girlfriends-for-life connections, I still met a lot of great people and had a lot of fun.

The second group is a book club for women aged 25-40. I haven’t attended a meeting yet but I think this will be a great group for me. Not only do I love to read, and am very excited to have new book suggestions, but I also think that there is real hope for some great friendships to come out of this group.

Enroll Myself in a Class

Thanks to a recommendation from a wonderful woman I met at the first social group meeting I attended, I was able to enroll in a fantastic painting class. I had a ton of fun at my first class and can’t wait for the next! I also attended a meditation class which was…unique. I don’t think I will become a regular there but I may drop by once a month for their group potluck and meditation session. 

Make 1 New Friend

I have met a lot of people over these last few weeks but I wouldn’t say I’ve made any solid friendships yet. I believe friendships take time, and exposure, so I will have to see where all these groups and classes lead me. However, the main purpose of this goal was to get me to put forth a little effort and I do believe I have done that. 

Act Friendly

I have definitely been very friendly and have actively opened myself up to others this month and have felt great doing it. I’m really not sure why I was always so shy in the past but I’m going to continue to speak up, smile at new friends and engage others in conversation.

This month was an interesting month for me. My biggest accomplishment was taking all the steps I took in building new friendships. I am very proud that I put myself out there and conquered some of my fears. I must now admit defeat and give the glory to Gretchen Rubin. I did not believe that introverted people become happier by being around other people, but after this month, I have to agree with Gretchen on this one.

This month also put a lot of my current friendships into perspective for me. There are a lot of people in my life that I took for granted and really didn’t realize just how awesome they are. On the other hand, I also realized that there are a lot of people who I no longer connect with. I tried to pursue a better friendship with them, or I had convinced myself that the relationship was better than it was, but the truth is, I was fooling myself. People grow apart and friendships fade but that’s ok. I’m just happy that I did this project and figured out which ones are worth keeping. 😀

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Happy First Day of Spring!!!

Last week I attended a fabulous meetup group filled with very positive, optimistic people.

The agenda of the meeting was to ‘Spring into Action with Seeds of Intention’. It was such a fun exercise so I thought I’d share it with you.

1. Choose the seed

For the first step, you need to choose your intention (your seed) for the spring. This will be your goal/focus for the next 90+ days. Some examples to get you started are: exercise, experiment with new hobbies, make new connections, organize your house/spring cleaning and save money.

2. Plant the seed

Next, take some time to visualize the end result. Imagine the seed you have planted as a full, healthy, mature plant. It is glowing with health because it has been cared for so consistently and lovingly. Picture your own future at the end of those 90 days. What will it look like to lose weight, have meaningful connections or a clean house? How will you feel?

3. Nurture the seed

How will you nurture your seed? List specific daily actions you can take that will feed this seedling (intention) and let it grow. Examples include: Walk for an hour every day, attend workshops/meetings you wouldn’t normally attend, clean out one cupboard/drawer per day, put away $5 every day.

4. Believe in your seed

You must have faith that your specific daily actions will take root in great habits and new, healthy, personal growth. Visualize the growth of your plant every day and see it taking shape.

5. Enjoy the beauty

Time to celebrate! Envision yourself reaching your goal and think of something that you will do to celebrate after the 90 days are complete. Will you buy yourself something special or will you have friends over for a BBQ to show off your clean, organized house?

My seed of intention is to challenge myself every day and to get out of my comfort zone. Some of my action items are to participate in the Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone challenge as well as do one thing that scares me each day. I will be more open to trying new things and will try to say yes instead of always saying no with a list of excuses. As for a celebration after the 90 days, I think that no longer being consumed by my fears and having experienced a ton of new things will be celebration enough! 🙂

One more important thing – to help you stick with your intention, why not actually plant a seed and watch it grow? It can be your constant reminder each day to stick with it. Stick it on your desk at work or next to your bed and let it be your silent cheering section to keep you on the right tract. At the meetup I attended, the organizers were kind enough to hand out little biodegradable pots filled with soil and packets of seeds (I chose a sunflower seed). Each pot also came with a little stick to write your intention on. I just love this idea and I hope that by sharing this, I might have inspired some of you to plant your own seed of intention today, on the first day of Spring!

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Half way through each month I thought it would be a good idea to provide a little happiness project update so I can share how things are going and where I might be having difficulty.

Look here if you need a little reminder of my goals for February.

Sleep

I am totally rocking this whole sleep thing! I am usually a big drowsy zombie by 8pm but I used to always try to stay awake until at least 9pm or 10pm so I didn’t appear too lame. Now with my new resolution, I actually have an excuse to go to bed early, so I am regularly all tucked in by 8:30pm and loving it!

I have skipped all my favourite shows that are on after 9pm and have just caught the replay on another day at an earlier time. Since I now just relax, read a book or watch non-dramatic tv before, I am falling asleep right away.

I have investigated Restless Leg Syndrome and some natural treatment methods suggested are: exercise regularly and reduce caffeine, alcohol and tobacco use (check).  Do stretching, pacing, walking, or jogging (check).  Apply heat or cold to your legs (I have yet to try this).  And finally, when you’re lying in bed at night, try to lie on your side with a pillow between your knees (usually I have my big dog lying between my legs). I continue to wake up a few times during the night but I’m still a little skeptical if it is in fact Restless Leg that is waking me.

Act Energetic

I think most days I am able to act pretty energetic and I’ve quit talking about how tired I am. I must admit though that there have been a few days when I have felt completely exhausted, and as much as I told myself to act energetic, I just felt too darn tired to do it. I will keep working on this.

Exercise

I knew I had to make this a big priority as I really wasn’t getting any exercise in my day. I know that if I ever hope to feel energetic and back to my old self again, I have to get up and start moving.

10,000 steps in a day are much harder to achieve than I had first thought. Most days, by the time I get home from work, I have only reached 4000-5000 steps. It’s a very good thing that I bought my sweet treadmill because I usually need to walk on it for an hour each day just to reach my quota. I am enjoying the treadmill so much though that even on days when I’ve reached 7000-8000 steps; I will still walk for the full hour (which is between 6200-7400 steps depending on the speed).

To my surprise, I have actually stuck with my yoga resolution, but I must say, I think five times a week is a little much. I will stick with it for the remainder of the month but I may decrease it to three times per week after that. I haven’t really noticed a big difference in my ability yet, but I am not pushing myself too hard either (Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good).

I am definitely feeling happier and more energetic from these resolutions! Sure, there are still days when I wish I could just lounge around or crawl into bed. But then there are those other days, those wonderful energetic days, when an hour of hard, fast walking on my treadmill just doesn’t seem like enough and I don’t want to stop!

I’m very excited to keep focusing on these for the next two weeks and I really hope that I can stick with all of these resolutions for the upcoming months. These are all very important goals and they definitely need to be a priority in my life.

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