I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I wanted to recommence/continue the “happiness project” I was attempting last year. Part of this was to improve my accountability I think, set goals that I could chip away at, and hopefully improve the chances of their longevity. This year I want to do the same, only I’m hoping with fewer distractions I will be able to maintain my consistency.
My new years’ resolutions were primarily to get on top of my time for myself, but I would also like to add a few things, like being more mindful of certain things. So I have decided the month of January would be about making time for me, even if that’s a little time for reading, sitting on the verandah watching the storm (like I did tonight), going for a walk, to the gym (as this helps me organise and spend some time with my thoughts), or whatever I feel like doing at the time. Additionally, I want to be more present. I have decided that means I need to implement some strategies around my approach to other people, I want to be more patient, calm and on a personal level I want to be more laid back. This will mean I have to identify when something is making me feel stressed, anxious or impatient, and implementing strategies to manage and de-escalate before I react. As easy as it sounds, I don’t think it will be that easy.
I have done a lot of reading around anxiety and happiness in the last 6 months or more. I read Gretchen’s book “The Happiness Project”, my inspiration for this idea, and the reason I decided to start a diary to track my progress. I started one last year but it sort of fell away, so this year I want to make regular entries about my plans and progress, a reference for me to look back at. I was thinking about extending it to writing about my concerns as this seems to help me psychologically, allowing me to deal with things and move forward with a clear and uncluttered headspace. I also thought this would help to identify triggers and look at how I have dealt with things, enabling me to make plans for following months or even projects if this gets that far.
I have been reading Sarah Wilson’s “First, We Make the Beast Beautiful”. Although I wouldn’t have thought I suffer from anxiety, after reading a little over half of the book I am looking at some of the experiences she describes and wondering if I don’t have a little in some areas myself. I find this realisation has enabled me to identify some areas I struggle with, and I am hoping to address them this year. I find the book interesting, and I am learning quite a lot about human interactions and reactions, something I have been interested in more recently. I want to be nicer, be less stressed, more patient and relaxed, therefore I have been reading books to provide me with some more insight, the only way I know how to learn about things. I don’t do as well watching, searching on youtube, I enjoy reading, and learning from the research and others experience. This is the first step for me in making changes I am yearning for, I need to identify what they are, and realise what could help me manage them.
If I have learned anything, it’s that we can’t change other people. Well, we can I guess a little, it’s what happens in a defacto relationship or a marriage. We combine our lifestyles, we share an existence, that requires one or both of us to change, either to the other person’s ideas or to meet in the middle. For instance, I never ate breakfast for such a long time, I usually have brunch and dinner, however, when I met my (now) husband I decided it was rude to cook him breakfast and not eat with him, I didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable. So I started having breakfast. I’m sure that was not the main cause, but I ended up gaining 6kgs. I have since found a way that he can eat his 3 solid meals a day and I have gone back to my usual routine, but I made the effort to change for him, it didn’t work out for me, now he makes his breakfast and me a coffee first thing in the morning, then we have lunch and dinner together. Additionally, he was against cats, he hated them, said he would never have one and thought they were horrible creatures. He ended up buying me one, which he grew to love, and recently he decided we needed a cat to keep our original cat company, and now we have 3 new kittens. I know those examples sound like he’s always changing to what I want to do, but additionally, he is a mad fisherman and I will make the time to pack a picnic, chairs, blankets whatever it takes to go with him because he wants the company. We work together, we have both compromised and find it works well to combine our routines.
Which leads me to January’s rules:
- Take at least 20-30mins daily where possible to be present – this will assist with patients
- While every action has a reaction – reassess, and ask yourself is this important? What was the intention here? Take a breath and then respond.
- Do something kind
- SLOW DOWN! Stop rushing, take the time, and don’t overbook your time
- Take time out for a social appointment – aim for once a week. Anything from a date night/brunch with the partner, to a coffee with a friend
- Spend less time on social media
These goals might be ambitious for the first month, but I believe some of them are important to others. I want to spend less time on facebook, on my phone and more time being present with people. I want to be less cranky, impatient and rushed, so I think engaging in things that make me present are a great idea, being with friends, exercising and reading/sewing is a great way to try to start chipping away at this idea. ‘/