January 2018: Happiness Project Reflection
January Is Over.
January: My first challenge is done. How do I feel? Proud, but with a sprinkle of winter blues.
In the northeast, this January 2018 started off with a bang of freezing cold temperatures, overcast days and snow storms. But January’s resolutions proved to help boost my happiness this month. Knowing my tendency to bunker down in the winter, my resolutions pushed me to get out of my house. I connected over brunch with friends, I greeted people I passed and I did not use any snow storm as a reason to drown my sorrows in a bottle of wine.
So, I would say that I am starting the year off right.
My “connection” resolution for January 2018 was to make plans with friends every week. I kept this resolution easily. I tried to not make it harder than it had to be, by accommodating my dislike of phone calls and simply texting friends instead. Most every time they were available.
Doing this with my husband made the outing easier and more fun. I would make (mostly brunch) plans with friends. Then my husband and I would venture out together, drink some hot coffee and chat over scrambled eggs.
Some weeks I was an overachiever and made plans with multiple friends. All in all I was very happy with my ability to keep this resolution going and there is no doubt that it made me happier during this cold winter weather. As a bonus, it strengthen the relationship between my husband and I, because we shared the experience of connecting with others and in turn each other.
Due to the daily commitment, this resolution had the makings for being the hardest one this month to keep, but surprisingly it turned out to be one of the easiest.
I must admit, I already started laying the groundwork for this resolution before the New Year. I bought a subscription to a meditation app that uses a multitude of habit strategies that play right into my upholder tendency.
Headspace sends me reminders everyday at 9:00am, and once I have completed a meditation practice it will tell me how many minutes I have meditated AND how many days in a row I have sat for. This use of chain-linking, is my biggest motivation–I don’t want to break the chain! Currently, I meditated for 42 days in a row, and I don’t plan on breaking the chain yet.
This resolution may have made the biggest impact on my happiness. Meditation has allowed me to feel more mentally grounded, calm and clear, and has helped immensely with my overall mental health. Although some days were harder to direct my mind than others, I always made time to sit.
Drinking no alcohol was my third resolution.
My husband and I did the Whole 30 this month. This is a squeaky clean jump-start diet, that removes sugar, soy, alcohol, and gluten among other things. Again, this played into my upholder tendency, no alcohol for the month of January was relatively easy, especially because my husband and I were in it together.
However, there were points during the month when a martini sounded really good, but not good enough to break my resolution. I also acted as my husband’s support in getting through a month with no alcohol, so it made this resolution a bit easier for me, because I wanted us both to be successful.
So, I would say the above resolutions were a success, but here are the resolutions where my results get a bit dicy.
My goal was to finish one room in my house, like tie up all the loose-ends into a pretty bow. But I failed miserably. I didn’t even make a list of the things I had to do in order to get my guest room completed.
Why was this so hard? I think it was hard because I didn’t feel like I had the working knowledge and skills to really get the room in shape. So this resolution turned out to be a big fail.
Saying hello to people I pass was hard at the beginning of the month but has become much easier. I felt self-conscious and awkward when I would say hello to people and they looked surprised or completely ignored me. But also, saying hello to everyone I pass was a bit much. I live outside a big city and commute into work where I pass tons of people. I quickly realized that I would not have got to work on time if I said hello to everyone I passed.
But as the month wore on, it started getting easier.
I got more confident in my greeting, although some just ignored me. When this happened, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t a problem for anyone but me, so I let go of that embarrassment and moved on. Then there were other times I felt I made true human connection. We would look each other in the eye and give one and other a true greeting, even if it was just for a fleeting moment.
This resolution I plan on keeping for the rest of my life.
I am going to continue to make weekend plans with friends, I love brunch. Meditation has proven to be the most important of all the resolutions this month. I do believe/hope it will be a life long practice.
I am going to drink alcohol when it feels right. Although not as much as I once did, because I don’t like the feeling I get after: like. I. just. want. my. bed.
Ahh, the guest room will get done eventually. Maybe I can get my husband to resolve to finish it. As I said before, greeting people is an important way to feel connected to the community. I will not forget what this month’s giving back resolution taught me.
Now on to FEBRUARY!!