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Getting Started in January

January 7, 2016

I’ve noticed that people are resistant to New Year’s Resolutions–or apologetic at best. Somehow we make up our minds that we won’t follow through, so what’s the use? I’ve found, though, that when I have projects to last a year, broken down into increments that are doable, I not only CAN follow through, but I feel so good when I do.

Last year, I read The Happiness Project for the first time all the way through, and even though I was sometimes tempted to read on into the next month, I didn’t. As I read, however, I always wished I had someone reading along with me. I enjoy any book more when I can talk about it. This one begs to be shared.

If you’re along for the ride this year, simply plan to enjoy it.  As I suggested in the last post, get a notebook, a real one or a virtual one, and keep notes.  I’m taking her “Twelve Commandments” and “Secrets of Adulthood” from the prologue and tweaking them as I go along.

Today, for example, at a morning meeting with some of my writing friends, we talked about how that sometimes we find we’re solving the wrong problem (See Commandment #7). Kelly suggested approaching problems as an engineer would. I think #1 should be “Be ________” with your name filled in. Happiness is not one-size-fits-all. Even as a teacher I learned that some of the teachers I admired had styles that would never work for me. How liberating that discovery turned out to be.

Under her “Secrets of Adulthood,” when she says, “Most decisions don’t required extensive research,” I thought of Occam’s Razor: The simplest solution is often the best one (or, as I heard it said, “When you hear hoofbeats, don’t look for zebras.”)

We need to remind ourselves, too, that happiness is not only a worthy goal, but it’s not such a selfish one. One thing she discovers through her year was that she was happier when the people she cared about were happy, and when she was happy, the people around her were more likely to be happy too.

Ch. 1: January: Boost Energy

After you read through the chapter, please share your tips for the following areas:

Getting enough sleep
Developing a regular exercise plan
Creating order (or eliminating as much disorder as you can)
Avoiding procrastination of bothersome tasks.

Note: when you comment here the first time, I may have to approve your post. Please jump in and share–and introduce yourselves as we get started.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2016 11:36 pm

    I ordered the book as soon as you asked me if I wanted to participate; however, it’s a bit slow getting here. But . . . because I ordered the hard copy, I could get the Kindle version immediately for just a little more. So, I’m really enjoying reading, but I want a copy in my hands, one that I can take real notes in. I”m curious about how this is going to work out, but I’m game!

    • January 9, 2016 12:10 am

      I wanted the real book so I could write on it too! I’m not doing so well yet on getting enough rest. In the battle of pillow vs. crick in the neck, I’m the loser.

      • January 10, 2016 8:43 am

        Maybe you need a My Pillow, as advertised umpteen jillion times a day on TV. They’re only $100. I’m writing this at 1:40 AM on Sunday, so you see that I’m not getting much rest either. Woke up about an hour ago worrying about whether or not textbooks will get to Lovington in time for the presentation . . . as if I can do anything about that right now. Hope you find a cure for your crick!!

  2. January 10, 2016 10:06 pm

    I’m joining you and I’m getting my girls the book too! I’ll let you know when I get the book. I think I’ll order from Amazon. Love you! So happy you are moving to N’ville. I can drive there!

  3. January 17, 2016 4:05 am

    Hi all – I’m laughing at myself. I quickly looked at the blog headings and moved to “Private Writing” and mhmmm … thought … ooh jumping to Chapter 3… Wait? What are all these enticing journal questions? … Oooooooh … noticed date as 2014 … wrong year .. wrong group. Okay… I’m back on board. Will be back to post on the Happiness Project. ❤ ❤

  4. January 17, 2016 4:18 am

    Well hello there… I began reading the book immediately …. and immediately found myself tremendously irritated at this young woman… an attorney and a writer with a young child living in Manhattan who wanted to optimize her life – how dare she? Moments later I realized that this case of quick-envy and run its course and I was back on track…. just in time to acknowledge that I have been the tiniest bit depressed albeit rather “happy” especially given the implications of happiness in this book. Third try to get back on track… had me realizing that prior to this project over the course of the past year or so I had intentionally been focusing on some of the issues raised here in the book… For example during the past eighteen months:
    I have boosted friendships
    I have stopped making it more or less a practice to stay up until 3 or 4 am
    I began training at the gym and taking a weekly gym class a few months ago

    Since reading Chapter 1.

    I found the impetus to declutter which again I began doing but found myself stalled… Since the reading I have… poured a stack of papers and a small carton of papers and the dreaded “miscellaneous” flotsam into a larger rubber maid tub – which I WILL go through. I recently found a hint somewhere that talked about only saving things that give JOY in the present which I am finding helpful.

    My second huge task was to organize my computer files – especially my poetry … Imagine my JOYFUL surprise when I realized that the MAC has all my files grouped according to years making this task virtually done.

    I went into my IPhoto and created 4 photo albums from a bunch of family events

    4. Following the mantra of “Do what needs to be done”
    I found a local dentist immediately when a crown fell out and when I wasn’t pleased with him as a long term replacement (my dentist relocated last year!) … I went to a second and a third dental consult. Found a dentist… needed to have an tooth extracted and an implant inserted and did this within ten days!

    Alright there folks… I am energized … Oh I did order a hard copy of the book so I can mark it up… I also started doing the Times crossword again (oh boy that was humbling after so many years of letting that go!…)… At this point will return to Chapter 1. and create a list of virtues for myself to add to the DO IT NOW … which I find immensely helpful.

    On to the next stage of happiness.
    (we won’t talk about the extraction and implant – or the side-effect of a sore palate and tongue from the antibiotics I still need to take for another 5 days!)…

    Interested in what you other gals (and guys?) are doing???

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