The Best Laid Plans…

I’m sure if you were a reader of this blog you were wondering where I have gone. After all, I was doing pretty good for the first part of January of keeping this thing up to date. On January 22nd my husband woke me up at about 11:30 pm and said, “So, just FYI we have about 3 inches of water downstairs, do you know how to turn off the water?” Apparently, courtesy of the polar vortex (aka, it being super cold) we had a pipe freeze and burst. Thank God we were home, that’s all I can say. And Thank God for our dogs who started barking to let us know.

The damage was pretty bad. It wasn’t jaw dropped but we had to cut out part of our ceiling. Our entire living room floor is being replaced. We had to repaint all the walls in our living room. We had water coming in through light fixtures, so those needed to be replaced as well. The builder had done a pretty crumby job at insulating our house so Thank God (sense a theme) my Dad knows a good contractor who added in extra insulation to keep (at least that area) from freezing over again.

I’m not going to lie. This was probably the most stressed I’ve been since we were in the process of buying this house. Our whole downstairs was practically use less. We had giant fans in dehumidifiers in here for 10 days (not an exaggeration) because we couldn’t get the company to come back and get them. It snowed twice during this time making it impossible to not track dirt in everywhere. We’ve had people in our house almost every day for the last two weeks who don’t live here. We’ve been thrown out of our routine. It’s been less thank great. But honestly I couldn’t have gotten through it without God, my amazingly calm husband, and my super supportive family.

Pretty much everything is back to normal now except for a few things. We still need to get our lighting fixtures replaced out. (The electrician is coming Saturday). We still need to replace the carpet with a laminate flooring (hopefully being purchased this weekend), and we need to have this place cleaned. I normally don’t mind cleaning myself but this house has been such a construction zone and out of sorts nightmare the last 3 weeks that I feel like it needs a professional.

In the course of all this chaos I have completely lost track of my happiness project. It’s February 4th and I have no theme for this month. I am trying to get better at everything I do constantly but the last few weeks have been a struggle on me. (For more reasons that I’ll go into in a spate blog). I need to start getting back on track. I think that’s going to start with exercise. I am most disappointed that I haven’t worked out in 3.5 weeks so I want to add that back. But beyond that, I just feel a little stuck. I felt like I was making such great strides towards getting my life organized and practicing happier habits and then BOOM God throws this at me like, “Haha, don’t think that I’m ever not the one in charge of your future.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t thing it was a punishment, rather, get yourself in perspective little human.

Anyway, so that’s where I’ve been. I’m actually about to type a 2nd update post but for the sake of organization and shorter posts I wanted to keep it separate.

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Getting Things Done: Doctors and Bloodwork

One of the things on my (massive) To-Do List was to schedule a physical and get blood work done. I haven’t been to get blood-work done since I was about twelve. (I know). I did actually had blood drawn when I was nineteen and in the ER for stomach pain, but I don’t know what they tested in that blood test. I just remember that they told me my levels were all normal. I am assuming it wasn’t anything like blood-sugar, cholesterol, or the traditional “clinical” blood-work.

On Monday I decided it was time to bite the bullet. I knew if I went ahead and did it I’d at least have it done before tax-season got into full swing, and I’d be able to go into any baby making with a clear conscience. I normally dread the doctor. I’ve been known to actually cancel appointments because I was having a bad day and couldn’t be bothered with going to the doctor on top of it all. ¬†Somehow though, I didn’t dread this appointment at all.

On the way over to the doctor’s appointment I found myself feeling a little nervous. And honestly, looking back, I can’t tell you what for. I really can’t. (Which is probably a good thing). I was listening to K-Love on the radio. (I turned in on after Christmas since I was missing my Christmas music, and then they kept mentioning this “30 Day Challenge” and I’d already been listening to it for about 2 weeks straight so I figured, why not?) And while some people might not buy it, I just prayed and asked God to please just take away this small bit of anxiety I was feeling and I asked him to please just give me an easy appointment. I was only about 60 seconds away from the doctor’s office by the time I finished my request.

When I walked in the door I was literally greeted the second I walked up to the window. Even though my insurance and name had changed I was processed quickly and given paperwork to fill out. Before I could even finish filling out the paperwork the triage nurse came for me and we started the blood pressure, weight, and entry questionnaire type things. When she finished she told me the P.A. would be in with me shortly and honestly within 5 minutes she was there in the room with me. I got a small lecture about my weight (I’m at the top of my BMI- which I knew, partially it’s because I’ve gotten lazy about exercising, partially because I do genuinely just have a big frame). But that was it. Other than that she had nothing negative to say. She gave me paperwork for routine blood-work which she doesn’t expect to see any huge problems with based on my answers to her questions.

I hate blood work but I am oddly (or maybe not so oddly) at peace about having done. I plan on asking the phlebotomist to just take whichever arm she wants and then asking to let me please just be in my own world. I’m a little worried about what the results might be, but I am trying to again put my faith in God (just like I did for the doctor’s appointment) that everything will come back fine and that even if something is off, it will be easily manageable. I got the (almost) exact appointment I wanted, for 7:45am on Monday.

If you’re wondering why I am sharing this with you the answer is that I wanted to share the fact that I conquered a fear. (Well, I’m technically still in the process of conquering it.) And I conquered my fear by asking God for help.

 

Week One Update

Well guys, it’s January 11th. I’ve been working on this project about a week and a half now and I feel invigorated- but still a bit lost. I thought I’d let you know how some of my plans have been going.

The Resolution Chart

The resolution chart is helpful, but limited. I will probably try and use one each month but I have found that I do better at things on it that are tangible. Let’s start with the first resolution, the sixty second rule. For 5/7 days I have met this goal. I’ve realized that the days I am not doing this I am tired. For example yesterday the hubby and I spent literally 7 hours cleaning things out and throwing things away upstairs. I didn’t wash my coffee mug out or clean out my smoothie jar. So something I need to work on is making sure I am feeling rested.

The second resolution was to Obey the alarm. I have actually done this all but one day. I am beyond surprised. And I have to say getting up when my alarm goes off, so that I can enjoy my mornings really has made my weeks run a whole lot smoother. Plus I am getting in 20 minutes of reading before work- which I love because often after work I feel too drained from the day to read.

“Exercise consistently” was another of my resolutions. I have met this 3/6 days. I know that some days I was so invigorated by the idea of cleaning things out that I’d rather spend my time working on those tasks than exercising. So that is partially to blame. But I think this also goes back to being tired. When I’m tired I don’t want to exercise. I need to ask myself if I am really tired, or if I don’t want to do something. 3/6 days isn’t bad- but it could be better. I hope to see improvement in this as the month goes on.

“Act Energetic” is the worst resolution I could ever have made. In Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” I know for a fact that this was one of her goals. But it’s too abstract for me. I’ve given myself check marks on it most days but I feel like it’s hard to judge. I have tried to remind myself at work that if there was a task I didn’t want to do because it was too tedious or tiring, that I was really tired, that I was mostly feeling dread and honestly I felt much more able to conquer the task once I told myself that.

“Use to do lists” was the last item on my list. And MAN has this one been helpful. Every day when I get to work I make a to do list of the things I need to do that day, and I’m able to add to it as the day goes on and people randomly ask me to do a short task. It makes me feel much more organized about my day at work, and I actually feel like I am accomplishing things when the day is said and done.

Time Blocking

I mentioned this in one of my posts last week, and I actually only did it for two days. I find that where I have an office job each day, the idea of time blocking doesn’t really work. I think it’s important to write down a list of things I want to accomplish in the day and then just decide when I will do them. For example; I know that each day I want to read 20 minutes. And I have started to map out monthly what hours I will work at my job- to meet my goal hours. Based on that I know where a huge chunk of that day is. I make a list two weeks out of what we’re having for dinner so I know what I need to do when I get home from work. And from there I think it is just important for me to decide when I want to allocate the time to accomplish the other things in my life.

Going back to the “reading 20 minutes” each day item. On Friday I knew I would be working from 7:30-4:45pm. I knew that I’d leave home about 7:15 and return home around 5. Dinner was simple, an oven pizza (our Friday tradition). So, the question was to ask myself when I’d want to make the time for reading. I was realistic and said in the morning. So I allocated the 20 minutes in the morning. I found the time to do it.

Overall

In general I feel like I am definitely working towards my goal of getting organized this month. I am going to do a few more posts about how I’ve organized different areas of my life in the next week or so. I definitely feel like I am getting ready to have a fresh slate and a nice clean start. I am still trying to figure out who I am and what my goals in life are. I know it’s silly but I have spent most of my life being such a chameleon that I feel like I hardly know myself at all. Please leave any advice you might have in the comments, and as always definitely let me know if you or someone else you know has a happiness project I can follow along with.

Who am I?

I’m coming to my blog today and to ask my readers (if I have any) for some help. One of the big tenants of Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” was “Be Gretchen”. In short, she wanted to focus on devoting herself to things that she enjoyed doing, and not trying to do things because she thought she should. Some corollaries to that would be, “Just because something is fun for someone else doesn’t mean it will be fun for you.”, “What is right for someone else isn’t necessarily right for you.”, and “Everyone has different passions.”

My problem is that I don’t really know who “I” am. I feel like I could write you a list a mile long of the things I don’t like (peas, yellow clothing, summer) but I can’t really identify the things that make me happy beyond some really trivial things (the color pink, glitter, coffee). Part of the problem is that I feel like I stifle my interest in things because if I’m not tapped into them, they can’t be taken away from me.

Does anyone have any exercises that they can suggest to hone in on the things that matter to you, your opinion on things, and what you truly want from life?

January 2014 Resolution Chart

One of the tools that Gretchen Rubin used in her happiness project was the use of a Resolution Chart. When I was starting to work on my project this past weekend I wasn’t sure if I would be able to. Yes, the idea is great, but I didn’t know that I could summarize my goal enough that I’d have little steps I could work on each day, that would still be in line with my goal. I know it sounds silly but I really was having trouble.

In the end I decided I thought that the practice was too good of an idea to skip out on. I did my best, but they don’t all perfectly fit with “organization”. Either way, I thought I’d share the resolution chart I made.

I did mine by hand because I find the act of creating something somewhat relaxing, and I honestly thought I’d be more invested in it that way. I added a bible verse in the corner to make me smile, and to remind me that God is going to support me in my process.

Resolution Chart

January 2014

The Resolutions

Sixty Second Rule

This is straight out of The Happiness Project, but also a principle I’ve heard before. Basically, if something will only take 60 seconds just go ahead and do it. Examples of this might be washing out a mug, putting a load of laundry away, or even wiping down the counter in the bathroom every day.

Obey the Alarm

Basically, get up WHEN the alarm goes off. I have a bad habit of setting an alarm for an early hour with plans to do things before I get to work, and by the time that it’s time to get up and it goes off I “change my mind”. I argue with myself and tell myself that I am just “too tired.” No more. This month the goal is to get up with the alarm, and get moving. This is one of my resolutions because I think waking up later than I planned sets my day off with disappointment. Sometimes the only reason I set my alarm early is to have a cup of coffee and read. Yes, I could do that in the evening so it’s not a big deal if I sleep in but I’m always disappointed I did.

Exercise Consistently

This idea vaguely came from the book as well. In short I want to exercise 20 minutes 6 times a week. Rest on the 7th day. I should be able to do this. And more importantly I will never be sad that I did. Today I ran 2 miles, and tomorrow I might do some free weights and ab work. I can do 20 minutes a day.

Act Energetic

This one is what it sounds like. I just need to do it. I think I may need to make this a mantra more than anything else. Every time I start to feel “tired” (thus getting crabby or mopey) I need to tell myself to just act energetic, and get to the root of why I’m actually tired. Normally its more to do with dreading something I need to do!

Use To-Do Lists

I mentioned in my last post that I am using a daily planner. That in some ways serves as a to-do list. As well, I am going to start each morning off at work by writing down what I need or want to get done that day. According to Gretchen’s book, the simple task of just checking things off can give you a boost of happiness.

Does anyone reading this have any advice for me? And ways to remind myself to act energetically? Any 20 minute workouts that you do? Let me know, please!!

My Happiness Project

For months I have been meaning to read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve thought for the longest time that it would benefit me so much. I am the type of person who strives to constantly improve, and happiness has always been something that I have been neglectful of. This past Tuesday as Nw Years Eve settled in in full force I finally had an opportunity to reflect on the past year and contemplate how I wanted to make changes in the coming one. I decided on New Years Day (albeit a bit late) that I wanted to read The Happiness Project to start my year off right, and undertake my own happiness project.

The next day at lunch time I ran to Barnes and Noble with a friend and picked up both the Happiness Project (book) and the 5 year journal. Every spare moment I’ve had since then has been consumed with reading this book. I am only about half way through, but in some ways, I am trying to savor it and process everything I am reading. I am determined to make changes this year.

Since I started the book after the new year, I felt a bit behind her on starting my own project. I wanted to start right away, but already four days of the month have passed by. So what I decided was this, January’s focus would be on Organization. January would be spent organizing my project, organizing my home, organizing my work, and organizing my life. From there I’ll move on to the next 11 months to work on different areas of my life in each of those.

I am beyond excited for this project. I feel so incredibly energized by the prospect. I can tell already that it would be anything that is going to change who I am, but it will be a great exercise in self improvement and self reflection, and hopefully out of it, I will find greater happiness.

Look forward to more posts on this subject, and more posts about the mini-projects I’ll be attempting as part of it. Anyone who has any advice or has done their own project please feel free to share your insights! Blessings for a very wonderful new year to all!