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It’s 8:35 A.M. and I have already failed at Day 1 of My Happiness Project.
I decided to do this project after reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project last month.
In it, Rubin studies the various theories of happiness and attempts to use them to make her life happier, in one area and one month at a time. For example, January’s focus could be on Marriage, and February’s could be on Money. Rubin did the project for an entire year, and did, in fact, find herself happier at the end.
I related to the author (she’s an avid reader and writer) and found her organization and execution of the plan very inspiring. It seemed simple: choose twelve themes you want to focus on in your life, and then select four or five actions you will do to be happier in each area.
Since I finished this book mid-January, I decided to only choose 11 themes and wait until February (today) to start.
(Two of my friends are doing this project with me, but they started a week or so ago. I always need to start a big project or resolution on the “right day,” be that a Sunday at the beginning of the week or the first of the month. If it was a REALLY big commitment, I’d probably think it best to wait until January 1, 2014 to start. Just a weird thing I have with fresh starts.)
My February focus is Attitude/Gratitude, meaning I’m going to work on making my attitude more positive this month and being grateful for the things I do have instead of obsessing over what I don’t have. My action items that I will try to complete each day are:
–Laugh at myself when I make a mistake or feel frustrated.
–Drive calmly. No yelling or beeping at drivers who fail to use their blinkers (my pet peeve).
–Use good manners. Don’t head in the other direction when I see my chatty neighbor walking my way outside.
–Deal with my big, rambunctious dog calmly and lovingly. This is huge for me, because battles with my dog can ruin my attitude for the entire day.
–Keep a short daily journal of happy moments and/or things I am grateful for.
It certainly doesn’t seem that difficult when it’s spelled out like that, right?
But yet even with the realization when I woke up that today was February 1st and it was my “fresh start,” I still managed to get frustrated and yell at my dog and snap at my husband. All before 8:00 A.M.
Toby (the dog, not the husband) was running around in a craze because it was snowing AND it was time to go for a walk. Needless to say, he was super-excited. I yelled at him four times to “Sit down!” and he just wasn’t listening.
Then my husband pointed out ever-so-helpfully that I was using the wrong command and the correct command was just “Sit.” And boy did that one comment from him make my blood boil.
I knew that I should just (Rule 1) laugh at myself and walk out the door with Toby. But I couldn’t resist the urge to make a snotty comment back, just so I could “win” the argument before I left.
“YOU always add in extra words when you’re giving him commands…like literally, all the time. And that’s NOT why he’s misbehaving.” Not even a good comeback, but I was satisfied to have the last word so we left on the walk.
On the walk, a light snow was falling and for once there weren’t a ton of kids out waiting for buses or walking to school. The dog was relaxed and I was on my way there, too. I made a conscious decision to forget about the earlier disagreement and frustration I felt and start anew when we got back.
But then I got back and found something else to be pissed off about. All the dishes were still in the sink, with the cereal slowly drying and sticking to the sides (another pet peeve of mine…just put some water in it if you’re going to leave it sitting in the sink!). So I again made a snide comment to my husband and off he went to work. Not the best way to start the day for either of us, and I’m not feeling so great about myself right now.
I have to realize that mornings- when everyone’s rushed and a lot has to get done (breakfasts, dog walked, tidying up, showers, off to work)- I am at my most frazzled. I need to take extra time and extra caution to maintain a calm, happy attitude so we can all at least start our days off on the right foot.
So that was my failed morning of Day 1 of My Happiness Project. Did anyone else read this book or have the desire to try it out for themselves? Or have tips for dealing with unruly dogs and fresh husbands?