Thursday, January 29

Boost Energy / The Happiness Project

For those of you who do not know, I have decided to read the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and follow along on her journey to find Happiness right where we are in life. I will be posting every month in response to the chapters topic that are set up in her book. You can follow along in my journey here.
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January : Boost Energy

Right from the beginning of this month, I found that my energy levels were so low and my willingness to partake in this project was non-existent. I always feel this way in January: like I need to hibernate from the world and just "recover" from the previous year. The only reason I even picked up the book was because of the challenge that I set up for myself in December. I opened up my copy of the Happiness Project and giggled to myself when I found out that the first topic to focus on was the boosting of energy. How appropriate for the way I was feeling. Knowing that I needed to improve my energy levels and hoping that this book would somehow fix all my problems, I dove into it and rapidly took notes.

1. Go To Sleep Earlier
"...a bad night's sleep was one of the top two factors that upset people's daily moods." 

This is, without a doubt, the hardest one of this months challenges for me to do. To be honest, I still don't go to bed as early as I should. I have the habit of going to bed late, because I believe this is the time I can be most productive and feel most energized. I don't know how I got like this. As my husband pointed out to me a couple of weeks ago, I am not an early bird (I love to sleep in) and I am not an night owl (if I am up after 10:30, I turn into a major goof or get cranky). I am wasting so much of my day on sleep. Realizing this, I have declared out loud to my little family, that something needs to change. Since I sleep when my child sleeps, I started with cleaning up Bug's schedule. She had started wanting naps later and later in the day (because we were sleeping in) which lead to even a later bedtime. We started giving Bug an earlier bedtime, and not only has she chosen to sleep through the night, but she wakes up ready for the day anywhere between 7:30-8:30am. This means I HAVE to get up. I still choose to do a lot of things in the evening and I haven't quite managed the relaxation needed for an earlier bedtime. However, I feel confident knowing that since Bug is now in a pretty good schedule, and with my husband also wanting to get up earlier, we can do this together. Change is hard, but at least we are inching forward. 

Personal Goals: 
- keep the tv to the minimum
- try to get chores done during the day
- relax with a book

2. Exercise Better
"... exercise is an effective way to snap out of a funk."

I have always had a love/hate relationship with working out. I love the feeling I have after I work out and I love it when I seen the results of my labor, but I hate starting. Always have. I know that its a great way to change my mood, especially during the dreaded winter blues, but even still, I would drag my butt to get started. In talking with a friend about this, she introduced me to a program that was just starting up on Facebook, Bikini Body Mommy Challenge. I took to it right away. The way Briana sets up her workouts made me excited for the next day's challenge. I haven't met the daily challenge but I am not letting that stop me. I know that the energy boost I get after working out benefits my entire day and I know that I always feel happy afterwards, even if I am on the floor trying to catch my breathe. 

Personal goals:
- buy a pedometer.
- start running again
- do yoga every day

3. Toss, Restore, Organize
"... nothing was insurmountable if I did what I knew ought to be done, little by little." 

I really enjoyed this section of the book because it was the first challenge that I could actually see the results of right away. One of our hotspots (the motherload of our chaos and disorder) was our bedroom. The main reason our bedroom has become the room to store everything, was my closet. Since my clothes lived wherever they landed in my room, rather than hung properly or put away, it was so easy to just add more stuff to the already crazy mess. "Company's coming? Clear the floor, throw it 'there', I'll deal with it later." This was the first place that I knew I needed to organize. With the help of my husband, I tried on every single piece of clothing that I owned. I made a pile of things that didn't fit; that I thought would work for my body shape but really weren't flattering, or that I thought was my style but wasn't. The pile soon became large and I easily cut my wardrobe down by half! HALF! The awesome part of this experience was that there was nothing that I was sad about getting rid of, nothing that I hesitated on. It felt so amazing to go through and get rid of the things that I did not use. I am so excited to be recycling them to a thrift store. We have storage issues and boxes to unpack from our move but my choice to eliminate my clothing chaos has been rewarding and encouraging to tackle other areas of our home. 

Personal Goals:
- continue to toss/organize the rest of the rooms in my home.
- join Flylady
- "Don't postpone any task that can be done in less than one minute." 

4. Tackle A Nagging Task
"... sometimes the most difficult part of doing a task was just deciding to do it." 

I find that this section of the book really goes hand-in-hand with how I feel about organizing my home, working out and treating myself better. There are so many things that I choose not to do during the day that, come evening, they weigh on my mind. It could be something as simple as not making a phone call or answering an email, or being disappointed in myself that I didn't workout. I think this is a mind frame that I have to get over. The choices I make today will change my life overall. Obvious, but true. If I make the appointments I need to right now, then I don't have to continually remember to do it. If I workout today, than I don't have to hear the nagging voice of how I failed my body. 

Personal Goals:
- just do it
- don't postpone any task that can be done today!

5. Act More Energetic
" ... act the way I want to feel." 

I have noticed a huge change in my energy levels this month when it comes to playing with Bug. I don't want her to feel my exhaustion or my "I don't really want to play" attitude that I sometimes have. Since reading this chapter I have understood completely that action and feeling go hand in hand. When it comes to Bug, I want to make the effort of having more energy than I actually do, and as she is giggling because I am running around the house with her, I find that I am having a blast. I am giggling, I am happy, and even though I am puffing from all of the running, I feel better. I am slowly trying to incorporate this strategy into every other part of my life. I want to be more energetic, so why not move. No time to wait. Just do it.

Personal Goals:
- act more energetic
- just do it

Overview

This has been an exhausting, but amazing month full of learning, relearning, organizing, and attitude change. Some of the tasks that we covered in this chapter left me immediately feeling happier, while others are more on the "its a lifestyle" approach. However, I am sensing a theme. Change starts now. It starts with the attitude that I carry, it starts by the little moments of 'just do it' and how I take care of myself. I am creating healthy steps that will allow myself to breathe easier day to day, as the chores won't stack up on me anymore and as I find that I have the energy to run with Bug all day. I cannot believe this is only the beginning of the book. I love that I am dealing with tasks that I have been putting off and how I am changing the way I act. I love how this whole project is not about how fast I can learn it all or how well I will succeed at it. Its about the willingness to take these changes and apply them to my life; making them lifelong goals. Its about adjusting and learning, about being open to the idea of change and the idea of living a happy life. 
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I would love to hear from you, readers comments and discussions are always welcome. Have you read this book before? What are some of the things that you found challenging or easy? What was your favourite thing to learn? Without even reading the book, have you discovered these challenges in your own life? 

Even though we are a month in, it is never too late to start a happiness project. If you would like to join in on it with me, I would love to hear about your journey. xoxo 

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