I know, I know, it’s not even the New Year. Why am I talking about resolutions? Well, I read a book recently titled Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. Parts of the book I really enjoyed, other parts I glossed over, but ultimately I was inspired to write my own happiness resolutions. A few of them are things that I already do which are closer to personal truths, things I want to continue to make priorities because I know they make me and my family happy. Others are challenges to myself.
1. Don’t Wait
This one is definitely a challenge but in the four weeks since I’ve read the book it has worked brilliantly. (Four weeks is how long ago I wrote this post, and how long it’s taken me to get it typed up in its entirety. I don’t often have two hands available so sometimes waiting is not by choice.) This has become a daily mantra and helps in a variety of scenarios.
When the cast iron pans are sitting on the stove I typically walk away, and then they stare at me for days, making me feel guilty every time I walk through the kitchen. Now I look at them and say, “Don’t wait!” So I scrub them out and oil them, not exactly enjoying myself at the time, but feeling quite satisfied when they’re done. Or how about the garbage sitting there, near to overflowing…Don’t wait. The thank you note I’ve been meaning to send for a month…Don’t wait! I’m a big fan of crossing things off my to-do list so the Don’t Wait challenge helps on many levels.
2. Point Out Positives
In general I think I’m a pretty optimistic person but that doesn’t mean I don’t find myself complaining or stressing from time to time. Once in a while everyone needs to vent, but who wants to be around a person that is eternally negative? No one. So, when I catch myself grumbling, even in my head, I’ve tried to start turning the statements into positives. For example, when I get up in the middle of the night to load the wood stove instead of, “Seriously, what century do we live in?” I tell myself, “We’re so lucky to have heat on this cold night. And even if our power goes out, we’ll still be warm.” It makes me immediately happier about having a wood stove, not to mention enough wood to fill it with! I confess that I did mutter a few foul words when I dropped a log on my foot. I still can’t think of way to put a positive spin on that one.
3. Be patient
Oh my goodness this is hard for me sometimes. Especially when I have one of those days when my husband is gone, the baby is screaming, the six-year old is whining, the dog is puking, and dinner is burning. Oh wait. I’m so lucky to have a husband who has a good job and is willing to work to provide for his family. I’m so blessed to have two beautiful kids who need me. It’s miraculous that we always have enough food to eat. Dogs puking… again, I’ve got nothing. But once I calm down, I remember that my son always responds better when I’m patient. Not to mention he’s learning from me every minute. How I respond to situations is very likely how my kids will, eventually, handle things as well. My going crazy is not going to help anything. Keep Calm, everyone.
4. Create Every Day
I mentioned in my last post that “writing begets writing”. I think it’s important to write everyday, I also think it’s important to engage in creative activities with my kids everyday. That’s my goal.
5. Go Outside
This is more of a personal truth. I’m pretty good at this one because I’m well aware that it’s absolutely vital to my happiness to be active, everyday if possible, and preferably outside. I try to hike, run, or snowshoe outside whenever I get an opportunity. With two kids it doesn’t always happen, but just going outside and getting fresh air, getting away from screens and chores, is paramount to my happiness.
6. Turn Off Your Phone When You’re With People or When You’re in the Woods- TRUTH
7. Daily Hugs
Hugs are great. It’s been scientifically proven that hugs make people happy. Do it. Hug as much as you can without being creepy. My son and I love this one.
8. Weekend Adventures
This is something I want to do, but haven’t started yet. I admit I sometimes get jealous when my husband is away in Spain, or Germany, or Hawaii (not so much when he’s in the desert, except maybe when I’m grocery shopping in a blizzard). I imagine myself on some grand vacation, which would be awesome, but I’ve realized we don’t have to “go away” to have fun. I want to start doing the things that only tourists do when they’re in our home town. I want to each take a turn coming up with something fun to do and do it…Don’t Wait!
9. Do Your Most Important “You-Time” First Thing in the Morning
I’ve found that this works best for me. Writing and running are the two things that I want to accomplish on a daily basis. When I don’t get them done in the morning, I spend the rest of the day thinking, “How long is this going to take? I still need to run.” But when I get them done first thing in the morning, I’m much more patient, calm, and flexible for the rest of the day.
10. Listen and Empathize
I think I do pretty well with this but there are times when I just can’t resist the, “Yeah, I know, and guess what happened to ME!” statements. I’m sure people think they’re empathizing when they tell a story about themselves that is similar to what another person is going through but really, it’s not. It is a way of making a connection. A way to attempt to let them know you can relate to what they’re going through, but it’s not empathy. You’ve just made the whole situation about you. When someone’s heart is broken, they don’t want to hear about the time your heart got broken, they want your heart to break with them, for them. When someone is beyond ecstatic, they don’t want to hear your good news, not immediately anyway, they want you to be ecstatic with them and for them. If they ask for your story, great. If not, save it for later.
These are the things I came up with.
Do you have any happiness resolutions or rituals that you want to share? I’d love to hear them!