happiness

You know the saying “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?”  Well, it’s very true in my life.  For the last few weeks I’ve been stumbling through my days in a whirlwind, trying to get everything done and not really accomplishing anything.  My writing has been stagnant and the dreaded writer’s block finally hit pretty hard at the beginning of the week.  My boys have been on overdrive because of the cold winter dragging on.  And although I have a very long list of things to do every day, I don’t seem to be able to cross off more than the first one or two items.  I’d like to say that I’m a happy person, but really I’m feeling so out of sorts lately that happiness isn’t the first word that pops to mind when describing myself.

So I asked for a little help.  I asked for some direction, something to help me get back on track and find a way to enjoy my life, even when it is so chaotic.   I wanted to reconnect with being happy with the way things are.

About a month ago I heard of the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben.  I searched for it through my online library and reserved it.   It’s a popular book, a New York Times Bestseller, so there was a waiting list.  And thankfully, it showed up in my life this week – just when I needed it most.

As I’m reading through The Happiness Project I’m making some new resolutions (which is what the book is all about) that I’m hoping will help me get back on track.  It feels good to have a revised plan, and I’ve made sure that my resolutions are actually doable.    Here they are:

1.  Write only when the boys are asleep.  I’m a stay at home mom, so the only quiet time I know with them is when they are sleeping.  If they are awake, they are with me, and they are loud and rambunctious and require a lot of attention.  When the boys are awake, I’m going to use the time to play and interact with them more, read to them more; and if they are playing independently, do something that doesn’t require too much concentration like scrapbooking, blogging, or reading.

2.  Start the day out with a quiet time for myself.  This means getting up and out of bed, but not necessarily out of my warm fuzzy pajamas and robe.  I’ve been waking up about an hour before the boys rise, but not taking advantage of that time.  Instead I’ve been falling back to sleep and making myself more groggy for the start of the day.  Using that time to exercise would be a great idea, if I could get my body to work that early in the day.  But I can’t, so I’ll use the time to focus and get centered.  I think it will be a good way to start my day.

3.  Finish my current book.  I’m about 3/4ths of the way through my current writing project, and I’ve suddenly hit a wall.  I’m at the part where the conflict is the highest, and I hate putting my characters through pain!  But I know I have to, and it’s time I just plowed through.  I know writing isn’t always fun, I know every writer hits this wall, and I know the only way I can get through it is to continue on.  Even if it’s not perfect.  Which it won’t be.  So I’m getting over that fact and blasting the wall down.

4.  Exercise at least three times a week.  My exercise routine has become sporadic, and I want to get it more regular.  With the half-marathon coming, I can’t afford to get lazy now!  I ran five miles last week, have walked a few times since then, and then mostly just let the dust collect on the treadmill.  That will change, because I feel better when I exercise and it affects everything else I do as well.

If you’d like more information on The Happiness Project, visit Gretchen’s blog here.

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