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It’s the beginning of my second week of the Happiness Project and I am slowly getting used to it. What I have noticed is that when I do not keep my resolutions, I feel UN happy afterward. For example, yesterday I completely bailed out, except for the not drinking alone. I went to a wine tasting and drank with many other people…then came home and ate Reeses. Oh well, back to work today.

A revelation

I have been back on the plus side of 160 for the longest time and despite my gains in fitness and strength, have been feeling down. Not today.

I entered a MyStory contest on Life Time Fitness’ website and posted “before” and “now” photos. What a difference! Seeing these photos side by side helped me appreciate how much progress I’ve made since March 2010.

  • March 2010
     
  •  
May 2011

25 pounds gone, strength and fitness acquired

 
 
 
 
 

Today is my 46th birthday. I’m spending it with Joey in downtown Chicago. The weather is beautiful and it inspires me to get started on my Happiness Project.

This 4-week cycle I’ll be focusing on changing my relationship with food to increase my happiness. I use food in several ways, not all constructive. Here are my resolutions; the goal is to appreciate food as a sensory experience sometimes, and use food as physical nourishment instead of temporary comfort, which actually leads to feeling guilty and frustrated.

Try a new recipe once a week: I enjoy cooking and exploring new tastes; summer’s bounty will help a lot

Limit sugar to artificial in coffee and what is present in unprocessed food: while I’m not going to give up sweetener in my morning coffee, I am ready to avoid it in processed food as much as I can

Limit alcohol to social occasions with other adults: having a glass of wine with dinner is ok, unfortunately it leads to me binging on sweets. So, it will have to go.

Track everything on Calorie Count: it’s easy to do and it will keep me aware

Increase protein and fiber: this will help me stay satisfied and support my active lifestyle

I put these as tasks on Outlook so I can stay focused.

My Happiness Project

This blog is focused on my Happiness Project effort over the next year, starting on my birthday June 13. I have decided to do this for several reasons:

  • I have been feeling less and less joy in life as the years have passed. I think the accumulation of experiences and my current emotional/career/financial states are overwhelming my usual sunny perspective. I need to work on not only recognizing and appreciating the good things in my life, but also to look for other opportunities to be happy.
  • I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and thought it was interesting and a great template for my own process.
  • Focusing on a different, important area of my life each month will not only benefit me, but also those who are impacted by that area of focus.

My areas of focus for June 13, 2011 through June 13, 2012 will be:

  1. Food: my relationship with it, as well as expanding my cooking skills
  2. Parenting: I’ve moved from parenting a child to parenting a teen. I want to get the most happiness out of these years
  3. Work: How do I get the most out of these 8 – 9 hours per weekday?
  4. Money: not happy about it these days!
  5. Friendships: hanging out with friends makes me happy…if they are the right type of friends for me.
  6. Healthy Body: taking care of my body not only makes me happy, it also alleviates worry.
  7. Family Relationships: it’s important to me to find happiness in my family relationships and model that for my son
  8. Energy: getting older has really impacted my energy level
  9. Giving to Others: I continue to experiment with ways to give to others because I know it makes me happy
  10. House: Especially while the market is down and my income is not increasing, I want to make my house as happiness-inducing as possible
  11. Mental Fitness: I am a lifelong learner, but it’s too easy to be passive and intake junk info
  12. Putting it all together: in my final month of the project, I’ll reflect on what worked the previous 11 and carry those practices forward

I intend to blog at least once a week on my progress and reflections.

 

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