Friday, 30 January 2015

My Happiness Project - January Round Up

I was recently given a book by a friend called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and after hearing about it online and then flicking through the book I was inspired to do my own Happiness Project. If you haven’t heard of the book, it is basically about a lady who was tired of feeling run down and miserable all the time, so she decided to do something about it. She started off on a project that would span an entire year. Every month was assigned a theme, and within these themes she came up with a selection of goals to help her reach the happiness theme of that particular month. It’s a really inspiring and thought-provoking book, so I would really recommend giving it a read if you ever get the chance.

So, I decided that I am also fed up of feeling sad all the time. Having depression makes life incredibly difficult and, whilst I know I can’t cure myself, I can be more proactive in my choices, which in turn could lead to an improved state of mind. Conducting my own Happiness Project seemed like the perfect thing to start, what with it being a new year and all that, so I started thinking about how I could do one for myself. I have decided to use the same monthly themes that are talked about in the book, because I feel I am able to come up with relevant goals for each of them, which are personal to me. Obviously no two happiness projects will be the same, because we all have individual challenges that cause us unhappiness and different things that make us feel happy. But I felt I could relate the themes to my own life and come up with a range of goals that cover all aspects of my life.

I thought I would make a series of posts, over the next year, so that you can experience my Happiness Project with me, and perhaps even join me and do a project of your own. I will do a post at the beginning of each month, detailing the monthly theme and the goals I am aiming towards, and then at the end of the month I will do a brief wrap-up about how I have got on over the last month and reflect on how the project is going.

So we have now come to the end of January and I thought I would have a quick chat to you about how I’ve got on with this months goals, which were as follows:

Go to sleep earlier

I’ve really been trying with this one, and I’ve found it quite hard because I’m naturally a night owl. But on college nights, my aim has been to get to bed by 10.30pm, with maybe a bit of time for reading before going to sleep. Generally I’ve been managing it, although there is always room for improvement. I can’t say I feel any less tired, but then that’s a difficult one anyway when you’ve got a chronic illness. But going to bed earlier does help me relax a bit more and also gives me some proper reading time, which I struggle to find these days.

Eat more healthily

If I’m totally honest this hasn’t really happened this month. I have tried to make little changes, but there’s been so much nice food to eat up from Christmas, plus the fact that I’ve been put on nutritional drinks to replace some of my meals, it’s been quite hard to make changes. However, I have stopped buying processed snacks, so once I’ve finished the ones I have I won’t be eating them any more. And I have now made a plan to start Slimming World once I’ve seen my consultant, so hopefully over the coming year my eating habits will get healthier.

Swim once a week

This is something I have managed to keep up every week, unless there has been a valid reason why I couldn’t go. And I do feel mentally better for going. I can feel really anxious and tense before I go, but as soon as I get in the water I can feel myself relaxing. Has it brought me more energy? I’m not so sure. But it has certainly helped me to relax and just have some ‘me’ time.

Tidy out my wardrobe and Organise my craft unit

I’m not going to dress this up to be something that it’s not – I haven’t done this. However, I have made a start on tidying my room, and the reason I haven’t got onto my wardrobe and craft unit yet is because there were other things that needed to by tidied before I can move on to sorting out those things. So, there is a reason for not achieving this goal, rather than it just being because I couldn’t be bothered. I really do struggle to find the time and energy to tidy up, so I’ve been making a conscious effort to spend a bit of time each week tidying something in my bedroom. My aim is to continue like this and hopefully move on to my wardrobe and craft unit over the coming months.

Go to the cinema once a month

Now this is something I have managed to do – not that it was particularly difficult to go to the cinema once this month! I went with my friend Lilli to see Into the Woods, which we both really enjoyed more than we thought we would. It’s got a great cast list and the music in it is incredibly catchy. It was really nice to get out and spend some quality time with a friend, so this definitely helped to boost my mood this month, which I think is a big part of boosting your energy. We already have plans in place for next month’s film too!

So there we have it. Five different goals I’ve worked on this month. I’ve really enjoyed having some goals to focus my energy on and I’ve found doing it this way a lot more achievable than if I just set myself some general New Years resolutions. If you would like to take part in your own Happiness Project and happen to take any photos as part of it, please use #JensHappyProject so I can check out what you’ve all been up to!

Have you read The Happiness Project? Do you have any goals you’ve achieved this month?

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  1. Great to read about your progress Jenny! It is great that you have kept up with you swimming and going to the cinema! I have just strarted to sort out my wardrobe but only because it is too cold to go out much! I have started reading my book and I can tell I am going to find it very helpful!

    Don't worry too much about trying to eat healthily just now - most people reach for warm comforting food rather than healthy salads in this weather.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Tracy :) I'm really enjoying the swimming and love going to the cinema! I hope your wardrobe sorting goes OK and that you enjoy the book. Thank you - hopefully over time I can sort out my diet! xx