I Resolve to…

I resolve to make baby sets to becoming a healthier, happier me.
  1. I will eat a little less fast food and a little less sugar.
  2. I will help others a little more this year.
  3. I will acknowledge others when I notice they are doing a good job.
  4. I will be kinder to myself and to my daughter.
  5. I will talk a little less and listen a little more.
  6. I will smile a little more this year.
  7. I will be a little better of a person than I was last year.
  8. I will make time for activities I enjoy and spend a little less time on activities that I do not enjoy
  9. I will save a little bit out of each paycheck.
  10. I will move my body a little more.

This year it was hard to pick a resolution.  I mean last year I started this blog on New Year’s Day.  My resolution for last year was

My goal for this year is to practice a new skill each week.  The areas I’m going to focus on are skills to help build my happiness levels and my self-esteem.  I’m also going to work on skills to reduce my complaining and lessen my anxiety.

I had planned on following, “Better than Chocolate.  50 proven ways to feel happier” and “Sink Reflections” Did I use these books last year?  Yes but I didn’t stick with them as I had originally planned.  My OCD threw a monkey wrench in and I was determined not to let my OCD stop me from accomplishing my goal.  I practiced new skills, I built my self-esteem and I am much happier.  Most days I complain less and I did lessen my anxiety.  I still need improvement in all those areas but it was definitely a successful year for me.

As I was searching internet for resolution inspiration I found a great blog post by Curtis Silver titled 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Everyone Else.  I especially liked #2 which is Start talking to your kid’s toys like they do.  and #1 Remember that every moment is a New Year.  You just have to make it happen.  I also found that USA.gov has a page for popular New Year’s resolutions.  It has 13 popular goals and it links to information to help you reach those goals.

I was starting to feel desperate, like I just needed to say my goal was something, anything.  I almost used a New Year’s resolution generator to pick a resolution.  But I know what I’d like to accomplish.  I want to continue to progress to a happier, healthier me so if I take baby steps I know I will be successful.

I think I will also make an effort to work on Fly Lady’s habit of the month which for January happens to be Shine Your Sink.  As I type this though I can see my kitchen sink and counter.  They are not shiney – they are yucky.  dirty dishes like crazy.  it seems like they multipy faster than rabbits.  Have you ever wanted to throw away all your dishes but one set per person?  You’d have to wash them after each use or else you would have no dishes to eat off of.

 

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Happy

Watching the movie Happy today on Netflix – I love the opening quote “The Constitution only guarantees the American People the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself.”  The movie attributes this quote to Benjamin Franklin though I believe it to be a fake quote as it was the Declaration of Independence that had the right to pursue happiness and I don’t think Franklin would have made that error.  Regardless though the quote is fantastic because being happy is not a right – it’s not guaranteed but we can catch it if we try.

Great movie – “What do you want?”  To be happy.  It is what my blog is about and it is what most people want.  How much or how little do we really need to be happy?  It is a question I am always asking myself.  The movie shows a rickshaw driver who has very little but he is happy.  good neighbors, the love of his son, his needs are met even if it’s just rice and salt to eat.

I love how in just 30 years the field of psychology has bloomed into something more positive.  Happiness can help you reach other goals – If you are happy you will do better at your job, have better relationships because people will like you more if you are happy.  I have found through working in the social services field that when you focus on weaknesses or negatives then these are what people focus on but when you focus on strengths or positives people tend to be more successful.  I think the same is true in psychology – if you are always focusing on your depression then you are more likely to be depressed but if you focus on your accomplishments you are more likely to be happier.

The movie states that 50% of our ability to be happy comes from our genetics.  That means 50% comes from other factors!  Our circumstances only account for 10% – which means income, social status, where we live, social status and health.  We are focusing on the wrong things for increasing our happiness.  Intentional activity or actions we choose to do make up 40%.  Change is important so change things up even if it’s just going to work using a different route or changing up your exercise routine!

“Use it or lose it” – I didn’t know that as we age we lose dopamine synapses.  Pretty concerning as this is our feel good chemical.  So the best way to maintain healthy synapses is to do activities that encourage the production of dopamine.  Unfortunately for me however they recommend exercising – it always comes back to the exercising.  I really need to start – I know.

Novel ways are the best – they showed the gorilla run.  it made me think of the zombie run!  now that seems fun.  I think I would enjoy running (if i could) if it meant that I was avoiding zombie obstacles.  Run for your lives Zombie 5k has some videos on youtube that will show you how awesome this is!

I found an app called Zombies, Run! that I am interested in but it’s $7.99 which may not seem like much but I have this habit of not following through especially with exercise related things – the reason i think this game would be so awesome is because you use headphones and go for a run (walk) while playing the game and you can hear the zombies coming for you.  It’s an audio story game that you follow along with while you are running and you are gathering supplies for when you return home that you can use for your virtual base.

“try to work so you’ll be able to live your life in tranquility.”

They talk about being in the zone – it is one of the 50 things mentioned in Better than Chocolate – Flow theory (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) is comprised of 4 key components

  1. the activity is challenging
  2. it is clear how we are progressing – have very clear goals.
  3. it takes all of our concentration
  4. we are making progress and feel in control

It builds with time the feeling that life is worth living.  Flow can happen anywhere!  with family, at your job.

The ever-present discussion of money and happiness was discussed – to sum it up I really liked the answer.  Money doesn’t buy happiness is an untrue statement and money buys happiness is an untrue statement.  Basic needs must be met or else it puts a strain on your happiness.

I’m not familiar with the term hedonic treadmill  but belief in this can be detrimental to our happiness.  Kate Shaw wrote a pretty decent article called “Getting off the “hedonic treadmill” and getting happier.”  Another great article is “Some Dark Thoughts on Happiness

Close supportive family and friends appears to be important to happiness.  personal growth, relationships, desire to help are examples of intrinsic goals and are satisfying within themselves.  Money, image, and status are examples of extrinsic goals.  Studies are showing that people who focus on intrinsic goals tend to be happier.

I learned that Bhutan seems to be a great place to live – instead of GDP they focus on gross national happiness – it makes you think about what you are doing.  Denmark is also great as it is the happiness country – free education through college and free healthcare for life.  There are also co-housing communities.  They showed a co-housing community of 20 families living together – each family has their own space but they share communal parts of the home and share chores/ tasks.  So they share cooking – could you imagine only having to cook maybe 2 times per month?  Less work and less expense.  So about 4-5 hours one day of cooking and washing dishes instead of 2 hours per day doing the same. children at age 14 start with helping with the cooking.

Sharing your day-to-day life with others – i think it would be very overwhelming for me but i think in the long run it would be better.  Sharing my day-to-day life with my daughter and husband brings me happiness.  I talk almost every day with my mom now and I noticed that this brings me happiness too.

Cooperative interactions help.  Compassion leads to happiness. Counting your blessings on a regular basis helps.  Acts of kindness helps a lot!

 

Happy – Check it out – great movie

 

 

Monday – Week 3 Homework

This week I will be completing the following assignments:

  • from “Better Than Chocolate” – Try cognitive therapy. 
  • from “Sink Reflections” – working on zone 3.

Way number 3 in Better Than Chocolate states that positive thinking creates positive results.  This week I will be working on rephrasing what I say to myself to turn the negatives into the positives.

Here is the cognitive therapy approach –

  1. Write down what you are thinking
  2. Question this on paper – is the thought helpful and realistic?
  3. Write down a more positive way of looking at your situation. 

Zone 3 using the flylady system is the bathrooms plus one extra room.  I can do this.

Monday – Week 2: Homework

This week I will be completing the following assignments:

  • from “Better Than Chocolate” – exercise daily.
  • from “Sink Reflections” – working on zone 2.

Proof that I’ve actually completed this?  I’ll be posting my progress including pictures.

Supplies needed for assignment one:  comfy clothes, an exercise partner (my daughter), cleared floor space in the living room and an open mind.

Day 3 – Homework Update

Tuesday is almost over and I’m ready for bed.  It wasn’t terrible which is a start.  Still need to work on my “stinking thinking” but at least I’m starting to train my brain towards more positive things.

Homework Assignment #1

Today I spent the day thinking of things that make me happy.  I figured if I surround myself with some of these items or at least remember to appreciate them when they pop into my life.

Here are 15 things that make me happy:

  1. The color purple (especially lavender)
  2. Bubble Gum
  3. Photos
  4. Art supplies
  5. The smell of rain
  6. My MP3 player
  7. Coffee
  8. Ah-ha moments
  9. Lindor White Chocolate Truffles
  10. My wedding ring
  11. Christmas lights
  12. flowers
  13. My daughter’s face when she sees us when we’ve come to pick her up
  14. Long necklaces
  15. “squirters”

“Squirters” are especially fun.  I was introduced to pomegranates a few years back and fell in love with them.  The little burst of tartness with each aril is always a pleasant treat.  With the fresh crisp autumn air comes the bins at the grocery stores full of these delicious treats.  When I first introduced these to my daughter she refused to try them.  I called them squirters and showed her how to pop them so that the liquid would shoot out.  She has loved them ever since.

Tonight after dinner the three of us played a new game.

We played Playchest Games Go Fish by Mattel.  Very cute kid’s game where you can either match colors or numbers.  Meant for a younger group of kids but still enjoyable and we had fun as a family.  My daughter won both rounds.

Homework Assignment #2

I spent 15 minutes working on zone 1 this evening.  Again the battling with myself on actually doing the homework and then the actual act of working on the zone was unpleasant but afterward the content feeling is back.  Zone 1 covers the entrance, front porch and the dining room.  By the time I got home from work it was too dark to work outside and I spent time in the entrance yesterday so today I decided to work at our dining area.    I removed Christmas decorations (except the tablecloth – still need a new one).  Wiped down the seats and table and mopped the floor.  Removed clutter and straightened up.  Timer went off and I’m free!

Good night!

Day 2 – Homework Update

Homework Assignment #2

So I’ve finished task 2 for the day.  I have to say I’ve been putting it off for most of the day.  Strange isn’t it?  I committed to spending 15 minutes working in zone 1.  I spent way more than that avoiding those  short 15 minutes today.

In the process of procrastination I scrubbed my kitchen sink, the dish drainer and the counter.  I’ll consider that Day 1 in the FlyLady baby steps.  Her first step to changing your life is shining your sink.  It’s definately clean.  So are the dishes.  Boring I know.

So I couldn’t put it off any longer so I pulled out the timer and set it for 15, pulled out a bucket, Lysol, hot water and my purple rag and headed for the entrance.  It was yucky gross in there.  Really didn’t want to go even though I have to go through that room multiple times a day.

We enter/ exit our home through our back door.  The front door leads straight into our living room and if there’s no snow this time of year there is mud.  Not pretty for the carpets.  Our back door leads straight to the laundry room/ garbage area.

Oddly enough as I’m writing this update I’m feeling content.  In 15 minutes I was able to clean the inside of the door, wipe down the grime from the walls, washer and dryer, sweep and mop the floor, remove cobwebs and remove clutter from the floor.  I hate cleaning but I saw a huge improvement in a short time.

Back to Homework Assignment #1

I also found a bonus activity that makes me feel both content and happy.  Tonight my husband asked me to make soup with the leftover ham and greenbeans.  I really enjoy making soup.

I also told my husband about my happiness project so tonight after dinner we did one of the activites off my list.

We learned a new game!  Go Nuts! is a super fun, fast paced dice game from Gamewright.  My daughter won the first round and my husband won the second.  It was fun and I felt connected with the two people that matter most.

Day 2 – Homework update

Working on my happiness list:

  1. Petting my cat
  2. Talking with my daughter
  3. Learning new things
  4. Having coffee with my husband
  5. Reading books and articles
  6. Listening to music especially strong, soulful or positive women.
  7. Making breakfast for dinner
  8. Playing a favorite board game
  9. Looking at pictures
  10. Reading quotes especially funny or inspirational
  11. Joking around with my daughter
  12. Watching tv shows on netflix with my husband (or my daughter depending on the show)
  13. Texting with my sister
  14. Making a sale on cafepress
  15. finishing something

Finding 15 activities that make me happy was much harder to do than I thought.  I had to ask both my husband and daughter what they thought made me happy.  This was hard because there are activities that I routinely do so it would appear that these activities make me happy.  Thinking about it caused me to think about whether or not these activities really make me happy or are they just activities that I obsess over.

Here are common activities I do often that I realized today that doesn’t increase my happiness.

  • Clean, sort and organize.
  • Hang out on facebook.
  • Collect or maintain collections.

Tomorrow I will continue working on my happiness list.  I have my 12×12 scrapbook page started.  I’m going to add some artwork to the page this week so I have something attractive to look at for when I start falling into a rut.

Monday – Week 1: Homework

Every Monday I will be posting my homework assignments for the week.

This week I will be completing the following assignments:

  • from “Better Than Chocolate” – creating a happiness list.
  • from “Sink Reflections” – working on zone 1.

Proof that I’ve actually completed this?  I’ll be posting my progress including pictures.

Supplies needed for assignment one:  scrapbooking paper for a keepsake of my journey, markers and an open mind.

Day 2 – Finding Inspiration through Books

New Year’s Eve I was feeling very crummy.  I was upset because I felt as though I wasn’t where I should be or even who I should be.  It’s really crappy feeling that way because the more you think about it the more you can justify your feelings.  I was wallowing in my stinking thinking.  I read “Better than Chocolate” by Siimon Reynolds and as I was reading though this book I realized that I didn’t have to feel so negative anymore.  Just because I lean towards being a negative person doesn’t mean that I have to accept it.

Today I reread through the goals I made for myself and am thinking about how to implement them into my life.  I’m a big crash and burn type of gal.  I tend to make lofty save the world type of goals and have big expectations of myself.   I want to fix everything all at once and make everything instantly better.  This doesn’t work so well.  I’m an adult with ADHD – the best of intentions but I get overwhelmed easily and give up frequently.

I started this blog with the intent to track my progress and keep myself motivated through 2012.

This book has 50 different ways to feel happier and there are 52 weeks in a year so if I try a new one each week I may actually make some progress.

I’m also going to be working out of this book:

This is Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley (the FlyLady).  My home as a whole is a large source of stress for me.  It feels cluttered and unfinished.  It feels like it’s patched together, unorganized and mismatched.

Fly Lady sets up our homes into 5 zones.  I really want to sweep through my house like a crazy banshi and do a whirlwind cleaning session but this won’t work – i always putter out, it gets messy in my wake, it’s not fun.  I’m going to follow the zone cleaning with Fly Lady and take one zone each week.  I will declutter, clean and organize that zone and not allow myself to feel bad about the others until it’s their week.

Since it’s the first week of the month we are in zone 1.  Zone 1 covers the entrance, the front porch and dining room.

Here is how I’m going to use the Power of 15 today to help me towards my goals.

I’m going to spend 15 minutes starting on the first activity in Better Than Chocolate and then I’m going to spend 15 minutes in my entrance wiping down the grime.