If you've not read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I highly recommend it. It was the best non-ficton book I read in 2015 and it laid the ground work for January, the month that each year I spend thinking about the previous year and planning for the New Year.
I saw the author of The Happiness Project interviewed on Oprah and I was immediately taken-in by her logical approach to connecting happiness with attitude, action and reaction. Like the author, I am not unhappy, but I know that there are days when I could be happier. The author challenged me, the reader, to really think about what makes me feel happiest? She suggested that I choose twelve things to work on and then do one a month for a year.
So, January ... I feel the same way the author does about a lack of energy. I am happier when I feel energetic, when I wake up feeling well rested and enthusiastic about the day ahead. So my January Project is "Boost Energy" and I am right in the middle of a plan for myself that includes going to bed earlier, less screen time (internet, TV, phone), a low carb diet, less wine, yoga daily, no procrastinating and she suggested a great "one minute rule" - if the task takes under a minute to complete, just do it now, don't postpone it or make a mental note to do it later. And the biggie in this category for me which I know is an enormous energy suck: remove the clutter, from my home and my head.
So I am systematically removing the clutter from my home, room by room this month. If it doesn't serve a purpose or it isn't beautiful, it's gone. I started in the kitchen and I have now donated or tossed boxloads of useless dishes and serving pieces, duplicate pots and pans, gadgets that sounded cool but I never use, expired spices, canned goods, and pantry items, and piles of receipts and paperwork that needed sorting. Cooking is again a joy because everything is at my fingertips. There are no pots and pans falling out when I open the cabinet door, or hunting for a spice in the far back of a drawer, no rummaging through boxes and cans in a pantry full of impulse-buy items to find the olive oil. I have only what I need and what I love and I am happier.
My bedoom was next on the de-clutter list. I wish I had a "before" picture to show you. The clutter was monumental because my bedroom was my household I-will-do-it-later dumping ground. This photo is my bedroom with all the clutter removed, and new curtains. I am embarrased to tell you that I have had a black sheet crammed up in the big transom window for 4 or 5 years because I could not decide what to buy to cover the window. My room never saw sunlight. My bedside table now houses only my books, essential oil diffuser, 2 favorite photos, a lamp and alarm clock. I love waking up in here now by the rise of the sun and no clutter surrouding me first thing when I open my eyes. I feel rested, I feel ready for the day. I do my yoga practice in the sunshine in front of that big window each morning, and I make my make my bed everyday. That's new, the bedmaking. It's amazing what a difference something so seemingly insignificant makes.
The Happiness Project suggests that joy can be found in 1) be Lisa (insert your own name) 2) let go of anger and grudges 3) act the way you want to feel 4) be polite and fair 5) enjoy the process 6) no score keeping or calculating 7) no gossiping 8) there is only love.
January is shaping up to be awesome. I have 8 months laid out in my Happiness Profect. My February plan is entitled "Work Smarter, Not Harder" Stay tuned. Or better yet, join me. Make your own Happiness Plan and share it with me?