Back in October I started my own happiness project, based on the book by Gretchen Rubin. Five months later, I have decided that I have accomplished more than I was hoping to achieve. I originally thought that it would take me a year to get through everything, but I realize now that I've already gotten much more out of my happiness project than I had ever expected.
Here are some of the things I have been able to do while pursuing my happiness project:
I'd say that's a good amount of things to accomplish in less than half a year! Overall I am pleased with the results and I feel good about investing my time and energy into being happier.
I can hardly believe that this is the 20th week of my happiness project! How did that much time go by already?
For the month of February I am going to focus on learning new things. Last week I decided to listen to some podcasts from Stuff You Should Know. This week I am changing it up and moving on to documentaries. I did some looking around on Netflix and found a few documentaries that looked interesting. The one I am definitely going to watch this week is called I Am. Here's a summary from Netflix:
"In this contemplative documentary, filmmaker Tom Shadyac conducts in-depth interviews with prominent philosophers and spiritual leaders -- including Archbishop Desmond Tutu -- about what ails the world and how to improve it."
It sounds very interesting, so I am looking forward to watching it. Next week I will highlight some non-fiction books that I've recently added to my to-read list.
Are you a fan of documentaries? Leave a comment letting me know which one is your all-time favorite.
For the second week of February I will continue on with my goal of learning as much as possible. Last week I talked about signing up for an email where I'd receive an interesting random fact of the day. I found two sites worth checking out. The first one is called TodayIFoundOut.com and the second one is called MentalFloss.com.
Here are some of the facts that I found interesting:
And for this week I am going to spend some time listening to podcasts from Stuff You Should Know on HowStuffWorks.com. I am already subscribed to their podcast, so I've got a lot of options to choose from.
Here are the ones I'm thinking of listening to:
As you can see, there is a wide variety of topics to listen to. Now that I've picked out seven different podcasts, I have something to listen to every day!
If you've ever listened to the Stuff You Should Know podcasts, let me know what some of your favorites are. I'd like some recommendations for future listening!
For the end of the fourth month of my happiness project, I am wrapping up my focus on health and wellness. I am proud to report that I lost almost 8 pounds in January, which is a great head start on what will hopefully be a lifelong journey of being healthy. Even though the month is over, I plan on continuing the good habits I developed last month in hopes of continuing my weight loss and improving my health even further.
Now that February has started, it's time to shift my focus to another aspect of my happiness. This month I will be spending time on learning. I have always enjoyed learning new things and in February I am going to make an effort to add learning to my every day routine. The first thing I'm going to do this month is to sign up for a daily email of random facts. I am hoping to learn all kinds of interesting things and also have cool tidbits to share with friends and family. I'll follow up next week and throughout this month with some of the most interesting things I learn!
I haven't decided where to find a daily email of random facts, so if you know of a good one let me know so I can check it out.
In this month's Self magazine there is an article starting on page 74 with a two-week clean eating plan. The plan starts with these "7 Diet Rules to Live By":
After laying out these rules, they give you a full week's worth of meals so that you already have an idea of what to eat. Here are some of my favorite meal and snack ideas:
Even though I couldn't eat all of their meal ideas because I'm a vegetarian, I was still able to get a lot of great ideas and it definitely gave me a head-start on my grocery list for the week!
To check out more information on this plan, visit www.self.com.
Where do you go when you're looking for health and wellness inspiration? Do you look at health magazines, find ideas on Pinterest, or something totally different?
For the fourth month of my happiness project, I am going to focus on health and wellness. Like most people at this time of year, I have made a resolution to get in better shape. Other than the wish to become healthier, I also have a cruise coming up and I'd like to be in good shape so I can be comfortable wearing a bathing suit at the pool.
In order to get my health on track, I've decided to use an app that will allow me to track my calories. The app is called My Fitness Pal. You start out by entering your current weight, your goal weight, and how many pounds per week you would like to lose (either 1 lb., 1.5 lbs., or 2 lbs. per week). At that point the app calculates the amount of calories you should eat per day.
Using the app on my phone is fairly easy. At every meal I add the foods I've eaten and it tells me how many more calories I have left for the day. Once the day is done, it tells me how much I would weigh in 5 weeks if I keep eating the same total of calories as that current day. It's gratifying to see how your hard work will pay off down the road if you've eaten well for the day. It's also good to see how your weight loss will slow down if you haven't stayed within your allotted calories for the day.
Over the last week, the app has helped me get a good idea of how much food I should be eating each day. Even though I've been given a fair amount of calories a day, it's been difficult at first to stay within my allotment. I've been trying to choose healthier foods, but I still feel hungry most of the time. I'm hoping that my stomach will shrink a little bit so that I can start feeling fuller and for longer.
I will check in next week and let you know how I am progressing.
The December portion of my happiness project has been focused on spirituality and faith. I am trying to focus on the quote above that says, "If it's meant to be, it will be." Basically, that is my way of remembering that God has a plan for me and all I need to do is accept that and try to follow whatever direction I receive.
Like I said in my last post, I don't want to disrespect anyone else's beliefs, so I'm not going to go into too many details about how I'm working on my spirituality this month. I just wanted to give everyone an update so you know I hadn't forgotten about this blog or my happiness project.
Next month I'll be working on my health & fitness. I figured January is the most popular time to work on these due to the common New Year's resolution to lose weight.
I am looking for some recommendations for bible studies. The last one I did was by Jennifer Rothschild and I enjoyed it. I'm looking into Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer as options for my next bible study. If you've tried one that you would recommend, please let me know in the comments!
For the month of November I have focused my happiness project on finances. So far I have worked on setting a budget, making charitable donations, and eliminating debt. For this last week of November, I am going to finish out the financial part of my happiness project by focusing on savings.
Most people would agree that it's important to have a savings fund set aside for emergencies. I've heard a lot of advice about how much to save and it seems to vary from 3-6 months of living expenses. It's pretty overwhelming to think of saving even 1 month of living expenses, and especially overwhelming when you think of 3-6 months.
I've decided to start small and set up a recurring transfer to my savings account each paycheck. Once the money is in the savings account it will be un-touchable unless there is an emergency. I've heard the experts say that this is the best way to grow your savings account because you can get the money straight into a savings account and try to forget about the money all together. The automatic transfer makes sure you stick to the plan and then you just have to exercise self-control and not touch the money.
So that's it for my financial happiness. I feel better now that I have gotten a good look at my budget and have laid out a plan for paying off debt as well as beefing up my savings account.
Next month's focus will be working on my spirituality. I don't want to push my spiritual beliefs on anyone, so I will keep the posts relatively short and non-denominational.
This week for my happiness project I am going to focus on eliminating my debt. Like most Americans, I have fallen into the rabbit hole of credit card debt. I thought I'd turn to one of the experts, Suze Orman, in order to figure out how to get out of my credit card debt.
I went to her website and followed the links to find her "Paying Off Debt" advice. Here are her 10 tips to paying off debt:
Now that I know what steps to take, I am going to implement her advice and make my own debt repayment plan based on her steps. Next week, I will start looking towards the future and make a savings plan to follow.
"No one has ever become poor from giving." I've seen this quote attributed to both Anne Frank and Maya Angelou. Whoever said it was entirely correct. As part of the focus of this month's happiness project, I've been thinking a lot about money and finances. I truly believe the quote above and also think that the way to become truly rich, in terms of living a fulfilling and abundant life, is to give to others.
That is why I've decided to add a charity donation to my monthly budget. I have many causes I'd like to give to, so I've decided to spread the love and give to a different charity every month.
Here are some of the places I'll be donating to:
All of these places have touched my life in one way or another and I'm looking forward to giving back in some small way.
What are some of your favorite causes or charities to donate to or volunteer for?
My name is Beth and I live in Denver. I am a single lady in my 30's and wanted to start sharing my awesome and amazing life through a blog.