By the time this post goes public, I will have already finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Heck, knowing how I cruise through books, I’ll be finished with it today and onto something new. The one perk of having so much free time right now is finally having the luxury to dive back into my love for reading.
But that is all beside the point. This particular book has inspired me to just sit down and talk about it. While many of the ideas presented in the book don’t necessarily apply to me (I don’t have or plan on having children, nor am I married yet), but the concept itself of making realistic, accountable resolutions and a set of “commandments” to live by is very interesting.
I don’t know if it would ever be something I dedicate an entire year to, but even just on an everyday basis, having some core standards to be your best self and to find simple ways to bring more joy into your life, it seems like a no-brainer, and yet life gets in the way. Very rarely do we make the direct initiative to change our daily habits into ones surely devoted to making us happier. It’s not exactly practical, depending on the goals you set.
It’s not exactly easy to make decisions that might not be logical or productive all the time. But we need it. You can’t reseasonably accomplish other tasks if you don’t have some sort of foundation to ground yourself in, if you don’t have anything established that guarantees you happiness or peace. We aren’t robots, and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be.
Even if whatever effort you make is simpler finding more enjoyment in the things you already do, having reminders to
And some habits just aren’t going to stick, but it might require experimentation to find what really works for you. Knowing me, I’ll never be someone who can get excited about playing chess or going to sporting events or engage in large group activities and parties. It’s great for others, but not for me. I have to realize that I am unapologetically myself, and I need to follow and do what I really want. This applies to short-term and long-term decisions alike.
Finding happiness might require some frustration, too. The fact is, humanity universally is looking for happiness. What that definition looks like varies from person to person, but individually, we want to feel peaceful, joyous, and fulfilled. If you’re stuck somewhere that isn’t happening, do something about it. You are in control, and you have the option to make a change that might not make sense to others, but if you have the pull or instinct toward a certain direction, perhaps you might question it, but taking a risk to benefit your life is worth it.
I spent an entire month expressing my gratitude for the big and small things in my life, so I know that I should be happy. But just like Gretchen, if I know that I’m not as happy as I could be, maybe it’s time to do something about it. My happiness might need some antidepressants, but could also use some deeper social or spiritual connections. Maybe I could get back into exercising regularly again. Maybe I could I volunteer for the community more often. Maybe I could just make a greater effort everyday to really examine my moods to see how I can keep myself from getting too low. The possibilities are endless, but only I can choose to take action.
When I look at the upcoming year, I’m sure everyone can agree that it’s time for 2016 to end, but we’re still hesitant about going into 2017. Bad things happen, and that’s unavoidable. How we deal with those things, however, is what truly matters. And if we already have individual ways and motivation to handle anything that life throws at us, we could experience the same exact events we did this year, but from a whole other perspective. Probably still not the best year ever, but will it ever be?
And changing our perspectives on our lives doesn’t require dramatic changes by any means. Little efforts build up into significant efforts. I even look at my blog and how much of a difference it has made in my life, but I didn’t start out with it. At first, I really didn’t have much motivation to do it. But taking some time every so often to write about something I care about has led to a little more than 60 people to receive notifications when I post, I have a solid basis for my senior honor’s thesis, and I can reach out to others in a way I didn’t find possible. Blogging has even inspired me to consider new future opportunities for the future and brought back out my passion for writing. I sure didn’t feel this way on day one, but the effort and positivity and hard work I put into a project or goal like this, it comes back to me.
I’ve tried making New Year’s resolutions for myself before, and I just can’t stick to them, like most people. You set goals for yourself that aren’t realistic, you don’t hold yourself accountable, and you get disappointed and beat yourself up for not doing better. If we really want to make true resolutions for ourselves, we have to keep the ultimate goal in mind: finding happiness. Enduring, genuine happiness.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie