Monday, January 27, 2014

My Happiness Project: Personal Commandments

My Violet and Sister of the Suitcase Lori
also happened to give me
The Happiness Project Journal for Christmas.
 Talk about #meanttobe
For the last few years, I was really anti-New Year's Resolutions. I didn't want to make any promises or goals that I wasn't going to follow through with. The only one I would make was to do what makes me happy. For the most part, I've done pretty well in that but after some reflection, listening to Gretchen Rubin speak, and reading The Happiness Project, I realized that I wasn't being very intentional with my thoughts or actions towards achieving happiness. Not to say that I wasn't happy, I am. I just knew that I could do more to be even happier and more fulfilled.

So, I decided to take Gretchen's advice and start my own little Happiness Project. I've spent the last month or so reflecting on what I'm passionate about, what makes me happy, what frustrates me, and what I really wanted to achieve this year in order to begin my list of areas I wanted to focus on each month. 

With that in mind, I followed Gretchen's lead and created my Personal Commandments. These are little sayings that have stuck with me, motivate me, and will serve as helpful reminders through out this project. So here's the list and a little explanation behind each one

My 13 Personal Commandments

Be mindful, be present
I think it's important to be really intentional in everything we do. It can be so easy to skip over whatever task or activity we're doing because we're so worried about what's next. We lose sight of the experience this way. I just want to be more aware of my actions and thoughts so I can really enjoy every day.

Do you
I've recently become aware that I can be somewhat of a people pleaser and I'm working really hard to find that balance between what's good for both me and the collective whole. I think it's also important to not lose sight of myself, my passion, and my goals and to keep on incorporating it into everything I do.

Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone
I've also realized (so much reflection and learning about your identity development as an #SAgrad) that I am a lot more empathetic than I thought I was. I often want to help everyone as much as I can and solve the world's problems, but clearly, that is not a task for one person. One Sunday, I heard this phrase and related to it. Just because I can't help everyone, doesn't mean that helping one person isn't enough. 

Progress, not perfection
It's so easy to get caught up on striving for the best that we lose sight of the small wins along the way. I want to make sure that I recognize when progress is being made which I think will serve as the encouragement I need to keep going.

Do it now
I am the best procrastinator. Like, if it was something to be proud of, I could easily list it as a skill. I always say that I'll do it later. "Oh, I'll just put those clothes away later today" and then it's a week later...So, I want to make sure that I just go for it! And not just with chores at home, but trips I want to make, places I want to see, and new things I want to try. Whatever it may be, I'm just gonna go for it!

Dream BIG
This one is pretty self explanatory, but I just don't want to limit myself because of something I think might be standing in my way or because it seems out of reach. I've always told others that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to and I want to make sure that I'm holding myself accountable to that same advice.

Grace and Gratitude
I want to be more appreciative of the life I have. I've definitely had my ups and downs but I've been given some really incredible opportunities and have some awesome people in my life and I never want to lose sight of that.

Be the change
To quote the Director of Residential Life at Clemson, "If you're thinking that someone should do something about that, that someone is you!" When there is a need for change, I want be the catalyst for it and help move it along. This is also the beginning of one of my favorite quotes :)

Stay in touch
I've absolutely failed in this area. If you've ever done True Colors, I'm a Green through and through. "You create relationships and leave them to maintain themselves." This is, unfortunately, so true and before I know it, months or years have gone by since I've communicated and caught up with people near and dear to me. So..this is my reminder to fix that.

Seek enlightenment
I believe in lifelong learning and not just in academics but also with learning about others, learning about your passions, developing understanding of yourself, your fears/strengths/weaknesses/faith, and the list goes on. If there's something I want to know more about, I want to read about it. If I'm having a problem, I want to get down to the nitty gritty of it so I can move past it. I want to seek enlightenment.

Think, but not too much
I have a serious problem with overthinking things. Sometimes it's overanalyzing an interaction with someone. Often, it's thinking too long and hard about an issue, obstacle, or project I'm trying to tackle. This is my reminder to think about it but to take breaks. I've often found that the answer comes when I'm not expecting it.

Leave on a high note
Attitude is everything. I would think that I'm a pretty optimistic person but I also know how easy it is to get caught up in the negative or frustrated with a situation. If I can always leave a rough meeting or end a not so great note by reflecting on the positive aspects of the experience, I know that my perception and mood will be so much better!

Let go and let God (Luke 12:25-26)
So with the whole overthinking thing I mentioned...I worry. A lot. I think this may also be a little but of the people pleaser in me but anyway, I have learned that if I just focus more on what I can control and less on what I can't, my mood improves, the anxiety goes away, and everything seems to work out. One of my favorite verses serves as a constant reminder for me. "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" Luke 12:25-26

So, those are my personal commandments! Wondering what my first month will be focused on? Energy! After all, I'm going to need it to get through this project and life as a a graduate student. 

I'm excited to see what this project brings to my 2014 and will keep ya updated along the way!


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