I just read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which tells the story of her year long goal to achieve one thing: become happier. She breaks the book into chapters that align with the months of the year, and each month has a different theme related to happiness. I wrote a post a while back about New Years resolutions that talked about this same idea of not making a year long goal, but breaking it into easier and simpler month long goals. It definitely worked for Gretchen.
I really liked Chapter January, about vitality and how boosting your energy leads to happiness. If you have more energy, you will be happier. There was a couple things that translated well into habits-
Go to sleep earlier! If you are well rested, you will have more energy.
Habit: Go to sleep by 11pm.
This has been very effective in helping me wake up earlier and feel better and more energized throughout the day.
Being productive and focused, and getting things done actually gives you energy.
Habit: To-do list zero
Habit: Inbox Zero
I can rarely get my to-do list done at the end of the day, but I can’t start relaxing until I have a clean email inbox. If you don’t have the Mailbox app, check it out. It’s awesome for helping you achieve inbox zero! And I use the Clear app for attacking my to-do list.
We can probably all agree that exercise gives you energy and makes you feel good.
Habit: Exercise 3 times a week.
I try to at least do push-ups and pull-ups everyday, but if I’m busy, at least 3 times a week is good for me.
In other chapters she talks about other things I thought worthy of making a goal or habit in my life that could make me happier:
Have more fun! Gretchen says to be serious about having fun.
Goal: Visit 30 countries by 30
For me, traveling is the ultimate fun. I just got back from Portugal last week!
Spending time in nature makes you happier. Here is a cool quote from the book: “You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” -Saint Bernard
Goal: Spend more time in nature. I have many hikes and camping trips planned!
Practice gratitude. This is the most common idea I’ve come across in all books on happiness (I’ve also read Shawn Achor’s The happiness Advantage and read other articles on the subject of happiness).
Habit: Gratitude journal every day.
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