At the beginning of last year I dipped into a bit of a low point. I'd experienced the grief of losing someone dear to me, had recently been dumped and was living with an undesirable landlord. I had a choice. Wallow or wrench myself from the gutter. Sink or swim.
I did a few things to get myself back on my feet: I found little things to get me through a bad day, I relied on my wonderful friends, and I went onto Amazon and ordered a whole score of books of the 'Eat, Pray, Love' ilk, one of which was the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. After a brief flick through, the books laid dormant on my bookshelves for several months, and it was only when I began contemplating my new year resolutions that I dipped back in.
Gretchen Rubin's year-long happiness project saw her delving deep into her life and asking the question 'what truly makes me happy?' It's been a valuable tool for me as I decide what I want out of the coming year. Instead of following my usual routine of thinking about things I'd like to do, or feel I should do, the premise of this book made me explore what truly makes me happy, and how can I turn that into an action plan for the year.
Gretchen's strategy was to pick 11 themes or areas of her life that she'd like to focus on, one each month, with December being a 'boot camp' where she attempts to practise all her resolutions at once. She broke down each theme into a few, measurable resolutions that she could work on each month.
So what is it that makes me happy? When I initially asked myself, I thought "easy: food". But I realised that if I were to hedonistically eat what I wanted for a year, the happiness would be shortlived. I would merely feel unhealthy, guilty and disappointed.
And so I had to delve a little further, coming up with my own 11 themes to work on throughtout 2013. Mine are energy/vitality, work, love, money, friendships, leisure time, health/beauty, passion (blogging), London, attitude and knowledge.
For January (energy), I broke down the theme into five resolutions that I'm attempting to put into practise using Gretchen's own as a guide:
- Declutter my home
- Take care of nagging 'to dos'
- Get better sleep
- Exercise better
- Take vitamins every day