Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happiness Project: Identify Your Aims

According to the Happiness Project creator, Gretchen Rubin, the first task of starting the happiness project is to "Identify Your Aims." On her blog, she has included a toolkit with the "Get Started" Section that poses the following questions:
  1. What makes you feel good? What gives you joy, energy, fun?
  2. What makes you feel bad? What brings you anger, guilt, boredom, dread?
  3. What makes you feel right? What values do you want your life to reflect?
  4. How can you build an atmosphere of growth—where you learn, explore, build, teach, help?
I thought I would tackle each of these questions - one per day. If I try to answer more, I will feel super stressed out (ooh, something I can add to the second question, but WOAH, I am getting ahead of myself).

1. What makes you feel good? What gives you joy, energy, fun?

I feel good and feel the most joy and energy when I am:
  • With my family
  • Experiencing new things with people, and being around people in general
  • Playing with and helping children
  • Discovering new places
  • Tasting and cooking new food
  • Studying and not just reading my scriptures
  • Feeling connected with my husband
  • Praying regularly 
  • Going to church, and serving in the temple
  • Organized
  • Swimming
  • Reading
  • Serving other people
  • Writing
  • Around people that motivate me
  • With people who like to have stimulating and intellectual conversation
  • Using my job-related skills to help people
  • Gardening
  • Completing a project...implementation and closure are my favorite things to do. Call me the closer baby!
  • Feeling valued
  • Watching British shows
  • With other people who have energy
  • Learning something new in a class
  • Given more responsibility
  • Listening and offering (hopefully) meaningful advice to close friends 
  • Being funny, when people laugh at my idiosyncrasies that they find endearing
These are a lot of things that make me happy, and I loved the exercise that helped me identify and put it on paper. 

Even though I haven't started the Happiness Project in full force, I started doing some other things differently that have absolutely helped me on this journey.

1. Do it now! Often times I think of people during the day, and think it would sure be nice to connect with them sometime and let them know I was thinking about them. At the moment, the thought is nice, and I can't wait to call that person when I get off work. Then the day happens, and ultimately, the good intention becomes an unrealized intention. I decided I would rather connect with people. I moved away from Utah, a place that I grew to love. More than anything, including those incredible mountains, I fell in love with those amazing people in my life. While being away isn't killing me, I miss them - bottom line (I MISS YOU!). It is the same with people I care about, my family, my besties (you know who you are), even people from my hometown. All these people have played an incredible role in my life and I want to honor them by keeping in touch.

A couple years ago, I went back to visit Sierra Vista with my family. I loved being able to see people who have touched and influenced my life on such a large scale. I was sad that we only had 2 days there, and wanted to have a party so I could catch up with everyone. The only day we would see most everyone was on Sunday at church, and you know what...all those people I care about were there to go to church. Imagine! You can certainly imagine my consternation when people didn't I was able to talk with some of them, but most I saw from a distance and that was tough. *Sigh

When we left, my parents noted that it was nice to see everyone, and how everyone is getting on with their lives and they didn't feel a particular affinity to keeping in touch, really. I asked my parents if they missed living in Sierra Vista and missed the people. They said, sure...but it wasn't something they felt like they needed to be a part of anymore. While I understand this sentiment, because they too have moved on in life, I loved so deeply reconnecting as much as I could.

Lately, I noticed that I have lost that connection with so many. While it may be darn near impossible to keep up with everyone, I want to try to reconnect anyway. Therefore when I am thinking of someone, I let them know it, NOW.

For example: Just three days ago I had a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream with round candy sprinkles. This is a favorite past time for me and my sister. We would stir our ice cream until it resembled cold, gray soup, and crunch those sprinkles until there weren't any left in our bowls. And yes, we would lick our bowls too.

As this memory pervaded my thoughts for at least one minute, I took out my phone, snapped a pic of the ice cream, and sent a text to Jamie saying "Thinking of you." And you know made me super happy!

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