Monday, January 16, 2012

The Happiness Project

Inspired by a friend of mine, I have started my own Happiness Project. The Happiness Project is a book/idea by Gretchen Rubin, and (as far as I can tell) is more or less a way of creating resolutions and attempting to complete goals in the effort to improve one's happiness.  The book, which I'm about halfway through, doesn't really give one a how-to (at least not yet) explaining how to go about creating one's own Happiness Project.  Regardless, I hopped on over to her website and created my own toolbox and personal resolutions. I've sort of taken the same approach as Rubin, in more or less focusing on one area of life per month (e.g. family relations, creativity, etc). As a recently graduated, unemployed, unmarried, childless, single young woman, however, I could not totally relate to her experiences as described in the book. I also found that I have goals which, while they may contribute to happiness in the long run, are more concerned with my overall wellbeing, in terms of physical, spiritual, and financial health.  I also focus on more than one area of my life per month, at least thus far, as I have a lot of time on my hands right now, and my resolutions thus far are not that time consuming. 

For the month of January, I resolved to work on "career development" (aka getting a job) by aiming to look for/apply for jobs at least 2 hours a day Monday through Friday. I have followed this resolution pretty well for the past two weeks. I don't necessarily time myself, but I figure if I've spent a substantial part of my afternoon or morning looking for jobs and have put in at least one or two applications, it's been a productive day.  I started this process a few weeks ago, and have put in over a dozen applications so far. No responses yet, but I remain hopeful.

My second resolution has been a bit iffy so far. I resolved to spend at least 30 minutes a day doing some form of writing (not related to job applications). This could be anything from writing about my day, free-writing, blogging, or actively doing some fiction writing. I've not done so well on this goal: I tend to either blow it off, or I don't write for as often as I should.  A lot of times I end up staring at my computer screen, unable to jump in and do anything. I've started revamping my NaNoWriMo plot ideas and coming up with a tentative outline/brainstorming list. From there I have rewritten a rough introduction, and figure that I can jump around in my outline based on my ideas and motivation. Outlines have not worked real well for me in the past when it comes to creative writing, but I'm hoping that maybe now it will.  I have to continue to push myself to follow my goal of doing this daily; one great personal commandment I've stumbled across is that "waiting for perfect conditions means you will never get anything done" (or something to that effect). Sometimes I'm going to just have to push myself to produce something, even if it's painful, even if it's terrible.

I've been giving some thought to what other resolutions I want to make; I figure I'll add a few come February. I find that all my goals are somewhat cliche, like "exercising more" or stuff of that nature.  I WOULD like to get back into an exercise regimen; I have gotten lax on that since finishing school. Improving my spirituality might be another goal. How? I've thought about studying other religions or forms of spirituality, creating a prayer schedule or goal for each week, pursuing more opportunities within my church, etc. I've just felt spiritually "dry" lately.  One would think that after having so many things go well for me as of late, that I would be on my knees thanking God and feeling so blessed. Instead, I've felt sort of...."meh." Perhaps I attribute more of my improvements to my own efforts.  This may not be such a bad thing after all, as a number of people in my past have mentioned to me my tendency to sell myself short. I think I'm becoming a little bitter too, struggling with personal doubts and all the Christian assholes I see in the media opposing basic human rights. It's become really exhausting to deal with, and I've gotten to the point where I don't know exactly where to go, or what to do. Turning to the Bible doesn't always provide any insight. I try to avoid taking scripture out of context, or treating it as a self-help text (which is something I think I've been guilty of in the past). Yet despite all of this, I feel the need to hold on, and avoid making any rash decisions. I'm sure my frame of mind is affected by my present state of near-constant boredom and repetition. The development of new hobbies or activities might have to be placed on my agenda as well.

What about you all? What resolutions or goals are you working on, and how are you progressing?

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