Monday, January 11, 2010

Missy's Happiness Project - Make 2 Lists!

I'm one week and some change into Missy's Happiness Project.  Read all about the Original Project with Gretchen Rubin if you want to catch up and check out my intro post from last week if you need!

I'm almost to the halfway point of the book.  I love it.  You should buy it.  Really.  And Gretchen is not paying me to say this.  Though I certainly wouldn't turn down a mention on her blog!  ;)

She suggests each person make a few lists early in your own project and I'm suggesting 2 for you to make today - one about happiness and one about unhappiness.  Two lists.  Should be easy, right?  Especially for all you  list making lovers out there.

Happiness List - "what makes you feel good?  What activities do you find fun, satisfying, or energizing?"  Page 295.

Unhappiness - "what makes you feel bad?  What are sources of anger, irritation, boredom, frustration, or anxiety in your life?"  Id.

I spent the whole week making my lists.  I carried them with me so that when I was inspired by something I could write it down right away.  It took me all week and you know what I found?  Making these lists made me a little unhappy.  The discoveries I made, that is. 

My happy list has 41 items.  My unhappy list has 56 items.  So for every "thing" that makes me feel happy, 1.3 things make me feel unhappy.  It hasn't been a pretty moment, realizing that.  It's made me wonder if I'm more unhappy than I thought. 

Some of the items are common, some are mundane, some are personal.  I won't bore you with the full list.  That would violate some of my . . . boundaries  . . . , but I'll share a smattering with you.  So you can feel OK about creating your own list!  Because I do believe (hope), that in the long run doing this will have been a useful, worthwhile process to undertake.  If you don't know what to fix, you can't really fix it, can you?

Things that make me happy include laughing with my kids, date night, desserts, losing weight, good parenting, family walks, Diet Pepsi, cooking, Sudoku, this blog, and crossing things off my to do list.

Things in the unhappiness column include feeling fat, being unable to say no when someone asks for help, not having many friends, yelling at my kids and hearing them yelling at each other, having an untrained puppy, not feeling heard, Saturdays, unfinished projects, the fact that I'm an early bird and Husband's a night owl, fake people, ungrateful kids, parents who refuse to parent, snow and being late.

And I gave you the smattering just like the full ratio.  For every happy thing I listed above, there are 1.3 unhappy things listed.  Just wanted to give a visual of what I'm up against this year. 

After doing the lists, I had to question myself - is this going to be a year of swimming upstream like a salmon?  Have I bitten off more than I can chew?  Am I making a mistake trying this?

I honestly don't think so.  For even though seeing these lists in their glory was disheartening, there's also a lot to work with here.  I can make progress!  And like I said last week, I have a feeling progress, or continual betterment, will be one of my biggest joi de vivres!  As I learned in an emailed comment last week, striving is a classic Type A trait - and I'm certainly Type A. 

So that's me.  You get the same homework.  Make two lists - your happy list and your unhappy list.  Try not to get discouraged by what you find!  I looked at current situations in my life too - things that make me happy/unhappy day to day.  So I didn't say I was unhappy about something that happened 10 years ago.  I didn't list "feeling like I did when I was in college" as a happy "thing."  Which wouldn't be on the happy list, anyway, I just wanted you to know my parameters. 

If you want, share them with me here - or the highlights.  Look for themes - I found several in my lists.  Or keep them private, but let the rest of us know how it felt.  And if you think this is a bad idea, tell me that too! 

From your lists you can then start finding your resolutions - if you want to do your own happiness project. 

A quick resolutions example - before I sign off.  Where I said I feel like I don't have any friends?  I DO have many acquaintances, but I'm not good at keeping up with them or deepening them into friendships.  I have valid reasons for this though - I'm too busy, I'm swamped with kids, etc.  So an easy month to plan will be a friendship month where I reconnect with friends and maybe make some new ones too!  Execution will be a different story that month because I'm an introvert, but you get the idea, I hope!

So get cracking!  Your lists are in your brains, just waiting to be put to paper.  And I can't wait to hear how it goes - if you feel willing to share.

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