If you do nothing else. If you can’t do anything else. Do this:
write a gratitude journal.
I have been doing it everyday now since the beginning of January. I have tried before, but like with everything I have done in the past, took it too far. Tried to write a page full of things. In pretty handwriting. BIG things. It doesn’t work like that (well, not for me anyway.)
In my bullet journal I have a really teeny tiny slot to write down three things everyday I was grateful about. And for the first time yesterday it really paid off!
It had been quite an exhausting week (and weekend), mainly because I was still not completely recovered from my flu and suddenly my hubby got a gout attack in his foot. If you are familiar with gout, you’ll know the infection will make a person completely immobile until it’s cured. I missed some nice appointments I had made with friends and so on.
In the past the clear signs of a sinus infection that appeared last night would’ve been the last straw.
Instead I did this:
I took out my bullet journal and wrote my three lines (and I will make an exception sharing these with you now):
– My sister-in-law took our daughter to a friend’s birthday party (so I saved a trip on the subway and bus with two kids).
– My goddaughter (in lack of a better word) came over to play and the girls played so sweetly together it was a joy to watch
– Hubby’s foot is possibly on the mend (as he can actually sit for some time and bear SOME weight on the foot).
And as I was writing my list I was filled with joy from the past day’s events and actually had a good and worry free night of sleep.
Concentrate on the good, do not dwell on the bad.
One of my guidelines for the year will be the same as Gretchen Rubin’s: “Let it go”. Applies perfectly here too.
So the usual resolution making in my case looks something like this (picture in your head, if you will):
Resolution: “I want to exercise more.”
Approach: “Must exercise five times a week.” (And of course if I don’t, I’ll consider it a failure and start eating ice cream.)
Reality: Went from zero exercises in a week to five. Lasted for a week. Body couldn’t handle the sudden strain and didn’t have enough time to recover. Also have a full-time job, a husband and two small kids, so should be home every once in a while too.
Conclusion: I suck. If I can’t even exercise correctly (ehm, what?) why bother at all.
Pretty soon I have “failed” but only because my goal was insane to begin with.
That was – or is supposed to be- the old approach. But if I was ever going to succeed in making 12 months worth of realistic resolutions, I needed to come up with a better plan.
To ensure that I wasn’t going to get tired of my happiness project during the first week of January, I put down as my first two guidelines (these are what Gretchen Rubin calls her twelve commandments):
“have patience “and “have mercy”.
I’m telling you folks, it has not been easy. I am such a weird mix of perfectionist and short temper, I’m always getting in trouble with my plans.
There is one thing to being an overachiever though. As Rubin points out in her book, I like “my gold stars” too.
This has meant that tracking my resolutions has been helping me keep them (well, the ones possible when your fever is sky high)!
I was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s task lists (she has made printable copies, in case you’re intrested) and Ryder Carrol’s bullet journal and made a habit tracker to my journal for the first month.
Look for #bujo #habittracker hashtags in social media and you will get the idea.
– Theme: Boost Energy. I had absolutely no reason to disagree with Gretchen Rubin on this. To have any hope of achieving my goals for this year, I would need energy.
Gretchen has good starting tips in her book and blog, and one revelation came from her idea of nagging tasks. I didn’t put that on my list, instead I knew what really made me feel miserable and because of that, was very energy consuming.
On the list it went.
Number 1 habit to track: play with kids.
This may sound weird to some, but with a list of errands and a full-time job it is really not self-evident that this happens every day. And it makes me feel really bad.
Number 2: SLEEP. Kind of self-explanatory? Well of course not everyone is troubled by this, but when I’m stressed, sleep is the first thing that goes. So, sleep.
Number 3: Eat better. I also tend to eat stupid stuff when I’m stressed. And the stupid stuff makes me feel even worse. Out with all the diets! (No, doesn’t mean you are allowed to eat only pizza and candy!)
Number 4: Exercise. I’m totally aware that I become mind- numbingly boring when I sit still for too long. It doesn’t necessarily mean that regular exercise has been part of my life lately. I want to make it so again.
Number 5: Organize your living space. I can’t even… Every unfinished job in our apartment drives me insane and drains my energy. I try to cope and “have patience” but too many loose ends are just too many. Fixing it.
Number 6: Last but not least. Write. Anything, anywhere, I don’t even care. As long as I’m finally writing again!
I realize people usually ask about resolutions during the first days of the new year. But by the end of January it’s typical to forget about them. I challenge you to think: Did I make resolutions? Were they truly worthy and achievable goals? If they were, have I followed them? If not, should I make new ones?
Life has a way of throwing curve balls at you when you think you have finally cracked something. I haven’t been very successful with many of my resolutions due to being sick since 10th of January.
But I’m not kicking myself because of it and totally plan to continue on my path when I get my health back. Perhaps I’m already learning…