I love to read about a plethora of subjects, across many different genres, and with vastly different goals in mind for the acquired text. I appreciate the classics with literary symbolism, metaphors galore and timeless lessons on morality and personal growth. I love the hard set facts of nonfiction, that exposes me to various social and environmental issues, including human trafficking, global health and clean eating. I connect with memoirs, bringing to light experiences that I have never and will never go through myself, but intrigue me. Reading is how I learn about the world, how I have internal debates regarding views on morality, and how I stimulate personal growth. When a book incites a strong desire to change whether it be a viewpoint or daily habit, I feel fulfilled and motivated for this change. This desire culminated after reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. She critically thought about her own life and although is happy with her life as a whole, decided that there is always room for improvement. She created a project that outlined 12 themes for the 12 months of the year, all directed towards harvesting the most amount of happiness out of her days. It focused solely on ways for her to better herself, and target mannerisms && behaviors that cause unnecessary stress or harbor negative feelings. I used her outline to develop my own happiness project.
My project is shortened to nine months due to residency starting in June && my possible discontinuation of the blog at that point. One question that many people asked Gretchen Rubin while she completed her project was, “Are you not happy?” I can understand the confusion. It seems at face value, that taking on this challenge means that you aren’t happy currently. But the true purpose of this project is to harness the power of everyday thoughts && actions that ultimately affect your level of happiness, and make incremental changes in habitual behavior to bring even more happiness into everyday life. And I thought, what better year to reprogram these detrimental behaviors than the year with more free time than I will probably ever have for the rest of my life! So, now onto the monthly goals —
September – Love
— Nagging never does anyone good. It doesn’t get the job done sooner and only fuels resentment. Just stop it.
— Take time to be silly. There will always be too few hours in the day to cross off all of the to-dos. You will always have time tomorrow for that last assignment, but you may never get back that tiny moment of silliness and laughter.
— Watch my tone of voice. I am horrible about this and always have been. Tone can convey more than words. Keep it in check.
— Words of affirmation. Take two seconds to write a quick post-it note quote or loving message.
— Fight right. That means no yelling. Yes, Jennifer, queen of raised voices – cool your jets!
October – Take time to be selfish
— Set priorities. The one hobby I have wanted to expound upon is photography. I have yet to flip through books about technique and settings. I have yet to take my camera out to a park just to practice. This needs to happen.
— My dad has recommended a few great inspirational reads, including The Power Of Now. I want to take the time to thoroughly read through these books and reflect on how I can integrate these practices into my everyday life. This includes MORE JOURNALING.
November – Friends//Family
— Remember the little things. Make more handmade birthday cards and gifts.
— Focus on maintaining friendships. The few relationships that have lasted, have lasted for a reason. Take time to cultivate these connections with efforts to reconnect. Call someone important to you every week just to catch up.
— Embrace family time. I’m super excited to spend a few weeks this year with my parents and catch up on much needed quality time. I also need to take the initiative to plan that San Francisco trip to spend time with my brother && his family. If I want to be a part of my niece && nephew’s lives, I need to step up to the plate.
— Bring people together. Whether it be craft nights, girls dinner//wine nights or a party, I want to facilitate momentous occasions in these last few months together.
December – Forgiveness//Peace
— Be active about forgiveness. Address those underlying issues that have festered in the background for ages. Get them out in the open, discuss it, forgive and move on.
— Make peace with myself. Ask for forgiveness and forgive, not only others but yourself.
January – Hobbies
— Attend that ceramics class I have been talking about for ages. Find a local singing lesson and belt out at the top of my lungs. Have Whit teach me some guitar strings. Wherever the road takes me, invest in some new hobbies.
February – Spirituality
— I have contemplated my spirituality for years, reading various texts, attending multiple religious services and practicing meditation. Since medical school, my spirit for revelation has dwindled and been put on the back burner. I want to reignite this soul-searching.
— Count my blessings. As the quote that Whit wrote me states, “If you look at what you have in life, you will always have more; if you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” By none other than Oprah.
— Turn complaints into thankfulness. No good comes out of complaints. I must address how I can fix the problem and a reason to be thankful in light of a grievance.
March – Reading
— I don’t need to expand on my love of reading anymore than I already have in this blog. I want to finish those reading lists, maybe start a book club, and finish the drawings for my kid’s book. These things make me happy, and there is no need to stifle that instantaneous source of happiness.
April – Happiness in and of itself
— Laugh loudly until my stomach aches. Be silly. Be easy to please. Crank up that energy level. Don’t talk about aggravations//complaints. Find an area of refuge. Don’t argue for the sake of arguing. Not all of your thoughts need to be stated.
May – Sustainability
— One core goal of mine is to continually become more sustainable and “green”. Not being “green” causes quite a bit of guilt//discomfort for me, so why not address the issue. The month of May will entail the culmination of Whit && I’s efforts for the tiny house && our future of homesteading. The tiny house will hopefully be nearly built and we will be furiously reading books on gardening // composting // homesteading for our future plans to live as much off our own land as possible.
Peace && Happiness, y’all!