If you’ve been following along on my journey with “The Happiness Project”, you may have wondered what the heck happened?! Well, I have decided that months 1-6 were such great topics and had such important values attached to them, that I am repeating these for the second half of the year. One reason that I started this project was to see if focusing on specific “areas of improvement” (for lack of a better term) each month could, in fact, improve overall happiness. It’s hard to judge as I am generally very happy with my life. To me, each month simply made me more self-aware and helped me to hone in on some of the key areas in life which can share spread positivity from myself to those around me. All in all, it was a great project!
Now, I won’t be boring you with monthly updates since I will be repeating months, but I want to make a list of the months / focuses / ideas so that I can hold myself accountable. After all, accountability is key when trying to be the best version of yourself. To be honest, all six of these topics are ones that I find to be highly important and ones that will constantly be evolving. I can’t imagine a time in life when I won’t want to get better at budgeting or communicating or be healthier. This is, after all, a lifelong happiness project.
Month 1: Vitality
Vitality is what I started of the project with and what I repeated in July. Vitality is a very broad topic, which I actually like. It encompasses all things health, wellness, nutrition and clutter – both mental and physical. This has also been the easiest topic to incorporate into everyday life, including the idea the less in more. While this definitely holds true in terms of material items, it also holds true for me in terms of focusing in quality over quantity – in friendships, career, tangible goods, vacations, etc. I want to be sure to live a life full of quality.
Month 2: Marriage
When I started this project we were newlyweds; however, we have now surpassed the one year mark of marriage! We have been very fortunate to have an incredible support system of family and friends and this first year has truly been pure bliss. I believe that marriage is something we will work on every day. As I told my husband in my vows, I want to create a home that he will always feel loved, appreciated and respected in. We will continue to do everything in our power to create the perfect life for us…and so far, I’d say we’re doing a pretty darn good job!
Month 3: Attitude
Forever a challenge in the best way, having a positive attitude is such a practice. I truly believe that we choose to be happy, we choose to be positive and we choose to lift up others. I am still working on lightening up, but I’m getting better. I try to let the little stuff go and only focus on what’s truly important – family, friends, health, marriage, etc. To me, spending my time with positive people has made the biggest difference. I have made an effort to connect more (via cell phone) with family and friends who are positive and I try to emulate their outlook. We have so much to be thankful for and are so fortunate in our lives that it is hard not to have a positive attitude.
Month 4: Finances
Once we return from our vacation (which we budgeted for), I am revisiting finances. Now that we are one year into our marriage and our finances are joint, it’s time for us to form an official “plan”. We were supposed to meet with a financial advisor back in Spring but that never happened so this will become a priority for us in fall. We’ve both stayed committed to our #2 goal – change daily habits. Over the past few months, we have eliminated almost all Uber and Starbucks purchases and we have focused more on keeping with our monthly budget for groceries and dining out. These little changes sure have added up to a big difference. Our goal is to buy a home in the next year or so and start a family soon after, so we definitely want to make sure we are on the correct financial path before either of these life events take place.
Month 5: Nutrition
I’m not sure what shifted over the past few months, but I seem to have a much healthier relationship with food. I think that the summer months make it easy with grilling, fresh fruit, crisp salads, etc. Something about the warm air makes me want to naturally eat lighter and I don’t worry so much or think about it. When I think less about what I am eating, I notice that I eat a much more balanced diet. I also made a valiant effort to eliminate dairy and sugar, which has made a big difference. While I still have Greek yogurt, feta cheese and a fro yo on occasion, these two culprits are mainly removed. I noticed that I feel lighter, less tired and more alert. Sleep is something that has also taken a priority shift lately – both my husband and I have been trying to get into bed by around 10 so that we can get a solid 7+ hours each night.
Month 6: Intention
Intention is the perfect focus to end with. As I repeat June’s goal in December, it will help me move into the new year with a fresh mind and a head start. The main point that I took away from intention is to not only be aware of how I speak and how I spend my time, but also being present. With all of the chaos that comes with the holidays, it is often hard to just be. This year, I hope to do less running around / shopping / gift wrapping and more baking together / taking walks with family / enjoying time. Being present and living life with intention is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves.
Who else read The Happiness Project? Anyone else do their own project?