Scripture Challenge: Matthew 22:37-39

It’s been a while since I posted something on here and I now that i finally have the time to do it, I’m coming up short on what to write about. I thought I’d give another scripture challenge a try. Ironically, I’m pretty sure this particular verse was read this past weekend at church. 

Here’s today’s scripture off Bible Gateway: 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39NIV

 

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

To really understand this I decided to take a look at the 22nd chapter of Matthew a little closer. I wanted to know to whom it was Jesus was talking. As it turns out Jesus was speaking to the Sadducees. Since I’m not particularly strong in biblical history I decided to google these people. According to wikipedia, the Sadducees are a sect of Jews who were in charge of maintaining the temple. It also appears that they were of a higher and more prestigious socio-economic class. 

Jesus was prompted by one of the Sadducees to tell him what the greatest commandment of all was. The above was his response. But what does it really mean? Love your Lord your God with all your heart, means not to be a Sunday Christian. It means to love the Lord so much that each and every act is done with him in mind. On a personal level I equate it to the way that I consider my husband before I make household decisions. It’s easy to consider him because he is a physical presence in my life. What the first part of this reading is saying though, is to love God in that same way. Do things because they are what God would want. Do things because the being that loves you most in this world would want it that way. 

The verse goes on to say to love the Lord your God with all your soul. This is a harder one personally to quantify. What does it mean to do something with all your soul. To figure out what this meant I took to google. (What a handy little friend!). After looking at a few blogs it turns out that people distinguish loving with your soul from your heart by noting that your soul is a matter of devotion, your heart is a matter of affection. I consider my husbands wishes each day because I love him, the same way I suggested in the previous paragraph that I need to make decisions by asking myself if it was what the God who loves me would want. In this case though, it become a matter of doing things because you’ve made the commitment to do so. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you undoubtedly make a commitment to God. At some points it’s going to be hard to keep, but loving him with all your soul means that you do it anyway. I imagine a situation where God is challenging you. Maybe he’s telling you that you need to be kind or helpful to someone whom you have absolutely no desire to be kind and helpful to. When you love your Lord with all your soul, you do it anyway. Because pleasing him is more than a matter of love, it’s a matter of devotion. You do it because it is what He wants. 

The final part of the triad is to love the lord with all your mind. I’ll be honest, I had to take to google again and read the thoughts of some others here. I believe what the reading means when it says to love God with all your mind it means to think on the words of the bible daily. Share the words of the bible daily. Share your faith and beliefs with others. Loving the Lord with all your mind means to be cognisant of Him in all that you do. 

Then Jesus declares, This is the first and the greatest commandment of them all.

Jesus probably says this to emphasize the importance of this commandment. While it is important to follow the other teachings, it feels as if He is saying that if we cannot do this, we will some how be following the rest in vain. We need to obey this first commandment, so that we can have any hope of obeying the rest.

Finally, Jesus says, ‘And the second is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The interpretation of the last part of this reading is easy enough to understand. It’s been taught to most people since they were a child. Basically, treat others the way you want to be treated. But this is one that falls severely short in practice. It is one thing to be kind to another person. As a people-pleaser I find kindness towards other normally pretty easy. The problem is, the verse doesn’t actually say “treat others as you’d like to be treated”, it says love your neighbor as yourself. I believe this to mean that at a much deeper level we need to treat others with love. Love encompasses such features as patience, forgiveness, understanding, empathy, and kindness. This is very hard to do. And I believe that this in many ways is where loving God with all your mind comes into play. Some times loving your  neighbor is going to require a constant thought of God, and how he would want you to treat them.

This is just my few thoughts on the daily verse off biblegateway.com. I hope I did the verses justice and that somewhere, someone gains something from my consideration of the verse. God Bless!

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God Let’s Us Make U-Turns

This blog wasn’t intended to solely be about my spiritual growth, but as a part of making myself a happier person I did decide I wanted to work on it, and thus it’s getting shared a lot. This morning at church our pastor said something that really sunk in with me. “We believe in a God who allows U-Turns.”

I had to take a moment to think about what he meant by this. Basically what he was saying was that our God knows we make mistakes, but every day is a day to start over. Yes, people do make bad decisions, really bad decisions, but they can come back from that. 

Before he had gotten to his “point” – which was that God allows U-turns he’d been talking about things like adultery, murder, addiction, and other “big ticket” sins. And I found myself thinking on a certain situation I’d been witness to and wondering, well how does that person live with themselves. I can understand that life moves on and so do people, but as a Christian how can that person not feel like God is “mad at them.” Or more than that, when they go to church and hear the preacher speaks on their sin (in general), how do they not just feel red-faced and shamed? Not that I would want them to, but how do they not feel that way

And then it kind of all clicked. They don’t have to. People do make mistakes. They can even make really bad mistakes, but it doesn’t have to define them as a person, they can move on from them. That is the power of forgiveness and God’s grace. 

That’s a tough concept to swallow.

It is very much my gut instinct that those who have harmed us, or who have done blatantly wrong things, should have to suffer a reciprocal hardship. It’s not even that we really want bad things to happen in the world, it’s just that we’re almost looking for a sense of justice. As if to say that something terrible happening to a person who harmed us would make us feel better about the whole thing. The thing is, it’s a wasted thought. Even if something bad did happen to that person, it doesn’t really make us feel better. 

When you hear that Jesus died on the cross so that we might all be forgiven for our sins, you kind of take that for what is is. You think about it in the sense that if I judge, or if I miss an opportunity to witness, that I will be forgiven for my sin. I think it’s a whole different thing to be able to see that Jesus died to forgive others of their sins. And that you really do get to start over fresh with him each and every minute of every day. 

I think it greatly helps in the process of learning to forgive others to know that God has already forgiven them. When you find yourself thinking, how do they live with themselves, you can get caught up in that and stuck on that. You really do just want to know how they can go on with their life after doing something so heinous. But the thing is, it’s just a mistake. If people never made them pencils wouldn’t come with erasers. When you drill down on it and can allow yourself that they were just mistakes they made, or even a series of mistakes it helps. When you can understand that they can live with themselves because God forgives you for mistakes, it helps. 

I’m not sure if this post is going to make sense to anyone beyond myself. I just found the simple reminder that “God allows U-Turns” to be incredibly germane to one of my biggest areas of weakness. Hopefully though, this reminder, that God allows U-Turns will be helpful to someone who does need help forgiving either them-self or someone else.  

Ah, now where were we?

The reason I didn’t update earlier in the week that our pipe burst was because I was waiting for my blood test results to come in to do a post. I was pretty nervous that Monday I went to have my blood work done. My stomach was kind of in knots and I was just plain nervous. Again, I practiced prayer, and asked God to help me through it. I got to my appointment 15 minutes early and told the nurse I was a little nervous. She had me lay down and took my blood and it was over before I knew it. I was a little nervous during it but the nurse just kept chatting and keeping my mind focused on things. (She was asking about my vacations and it made me have to think and recall things).

When I left that day I found out that I could sign up on the LabCorp website and I’d get an email when my blood test results were in. I signed up. Mistake. I stalked the website for the next 3 days compulsively wanting to see what my results were. Thursday around 11am they came in. Keep in perspective that Thursday was the morning after our pipe had burst at 11:30. I wasn’t in the best shape mentally.

I logged on to the LabCorp website. I pulled up my results. I stalked and had a mental breakdown. I saw some numbers in bold. Were those the only bad results? I don’t really know how to read this. Oh God what does it mean. I think this is telling me I’m super vitamin deficient, well being the starting range for low. And Oh my word, is that my cholesterol. What does that even mean? Frantic Googling ensues. Oh my gosh my bad cholesterol is as high as my total cholesterol should be.

I called my doctors office and tried to play it cool and ask if my results had come in. They had and they wanted to schedule a follow up. They wouldn’t tell me anything. My heart started to palpitate. Was there a result worse than high cholesterol and low vitamins on there? Did I have cancer? Was I dying? Did they find something dangerous? (These are genuinely the thoughts running through my head).

Well, Monday came and one week after my blood work I was back at the doctor. She informed my that my LDL was 192, my total cholesterol was 292. My HDL was 90 (well that’s good!), and my triglycerides were 50 (phew! another good score). She told me that we had some options for the cholesterol. Even though I had a family history, she was a little uncomfortable with how high it was for a 24 year old. She said I could take Statins but not if we were trying for kids. She said I could take another type of medicine that is safe for when you’re trying to start a family, but is much more pill heavy. She told me I could try and add supplements like fish oil. She told me I could try diet and exercise.

In the end we settled with I would take fish oil and try and modify my diet and add more exercise (hence why I’m a bit bummed that I haven’t worked out in 3 weeks). I’ll be honest. It’s not easy. I thought I ate somewhat okay (sans for the sweets and the cheeses) before my cholesterol test. But it turns out when it comes to healthy eating there are so many different ways you can eat healthy. So I am working on it. Any advice anyone has would greately appreciated. I know that loosing 10lbs and consistently getting exercise would go along way. For now I am just trying to add more fiber, whole grains, fruits, and veggies to my diet.

The other issue was I had incredibly low vitamin D. I was put on a supplement of 50,000 units (I forget what the unit is) once a week. I’m not that upset about that. She said some people just need more, but when I saw the result online it genuinely freaked me out. Mine was pretty deficient though and she said after a week or two I’d probably notice I was less tired and even might have a better mood. We’ll see.

Anyway, that’s where that saga left off. 🙂 If you have any advice on better eating for lowering LDL please feel free to leave it!

 

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.

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.

 

Be Emily

One of the biggest tenants of The Happiness Project book, was to be yourself. The author constantly was reminding herself she just needed to be herself, do her thing. Well here’s a confession. I have no idea who I am. I spent most of my life trying to make other people happy and make friends that I’ve never really felt like I knew who I was. I am super pale and have a visiion problem and so I think I’ve always been too afraid to be myself because I already stood out enough as it was.

Over the last few months I have come to realize though, that I want a baby. Bad. i want a family. I am probably romanticizing it but I really, truly, want to start my family. A few months ago I went off birth control and added short term disability coverage at work. Basically that protects me from having to go on maternity leave without pay.

I find myself being held up by what other people will think. My husband and I are definitely going to “try” this cycle. I am current on the 2nd day of my cycle, and we are hoping that either this cycle or next I will get pregnant. I know it’s not realistic to think it can happen in two cycles but I’d love to have a baby in October and November so I am praying. I have been so much trying to focus on God and hearing His message, and just praying that if it is meant to be I will be a mommy in 2014.

I am only 24 (I’ll be 25 next month), and I feel as though my parents aren’t ready for me to have kids yet. And here’s the thing, that shouldn’t have any bearing on what I want, but it does. I love my parents, and I want to always make them happy, and so I worry that if I have kids before they’re ready, that on some level they will be disappointed in me.

My parents have never been the type who were excited by those milestones in their children’s lives. They weren’t excited when I had my first boyfriend, or when I announced (at the age of 20) that I was engaged. I think by the time I was 23 and got around to having my wedding they were happy- but it felt forced on some level to me.

My sister is four years older than me. She hasn’t had much luck in the dating world. About a month before I got engaged her and her boyfriend of about 3 years broke up. I think in some ways my family is still grieving (five years later) for her and that loss. But at the same time, we have to move on. Just because I’ve gotten married before my big sister and will (God willing) have children before her, doesn’t mean that we should all go around walking on egg shells.

I still can’t help but feel as though this would be so much easier if I wasn’t upsetting the natural order of things. My sister should have gotten married and had kids first, and if all of that had happened it would be so much easier on me. The truth is I’m scared. I’m scared I’ll be pregnant and won’t feel the excitement from my family. I’m scared that it will hurt. I’m scared that I’ll always remember it.

When I got engaged I remember how happy I was for myself, but it was shadowed by the fact that I knew my “best friend” would be supremely jealous and wouldn’t actually be happy for me. I still remember that, even more than 4 years later. I just don’t want something like that to happen with my pregnancy too.

I think I am ready to be a mom. I still have a lot of learning to do in life. But I am ready to experience pregnancy, and growing a little baby inside me. I am ready to learn the patience that only motherhood can teach. I am ready to get up at three in the morning and nurse my baby quietly in the dark. I am ready for the dark circles that tell the world I was up all night nurturing a life that might some day cure cancer. I am ready to teach my baby to view the world as a blank canvas. I am ready to cultivate a love for life. I am ready to teach a little girl how to tie her hair up in bows, or a little boy how to make racetracks. I am ready to read to my little darling every night before bed. I am ready to look my husband in the eye, and proudly say, “We made that.” I am.

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!!

Getting Started

When I started reading The Happiness Project, and knew I wanted to start my own I decided that I needed something tangible to get more excited and invested in the project. Something of a simple craft almost. I decided almost immediately that I wanted a binder to keep track of my happiness project. Yesterday while the hubby and I were grocery shopping I ran to the office supply section and picked out a binder and some markers to start my project.  Currently my plan is this, get the binder set up and start planning.

Since my goal for January is getting organized, my first order of business is to plan the month, and each day try and plan my day out. Often times I personally feel like I can get nothing accomplished because there is so much I want to do that I assume there is no time for it.

My first step is going to be to plan out my hours for work for the month. I am a CPA and as some of you may know, January starts our busy season. At my office we gradually work into the work weeks extending by doing something like 40, 45, 55. I believe this past week was our 40 hour week, and next week we’ll be asked to do 45, and then I believe after that we are in full swing and asked to do 55 hours. I know 55 hours sounds like a lot, but when you think that you stretch that over 6 days (normally Saturdays are half days) really, you’re working only about 10 hours of your day. That means, that even once you consider that you might sleep for 8 hours, you still have 6 whole hours to yourself. And sure, some of that time is spent doing things like getting ready for work, making breakfast, commuting, and making dinner but if you’re honest with yourself normally those things take up no more than 2 hours, and you still have that 4 hours left. And when you think about it, four hours is a big chunk of time that you can dedicate to doing things that make you happy and energize you. So in short, my first goal is to look at my month and decide how I can structure my days so I don’t feel the weighed down under the burdensome sound of 55 hour weeks. Because yes, it is a lot of work, but there are a lot of hours in each day.

To aid me in these projects I found some really cute tools that I think will be pretty beneficial. The first is a calendar (reusable really) for each month of the year. One that I’ll write down important things that are going on in our lives (anniversaries, vacations, weddings) and roughly schedule out my work week hours. If you’re interested in doing the same I’ll link the calendar template I used here. I like that this calendar is blank and could theoretically be used again year after year. If you aren’t planning on keeping yours in a binder you could actually slip it in a page protector, put it on your fridge and use a dry erase marker on it and recycle them for a couple of years.  I like that it will give me a big picture view of the month so that I’ll realize that yes, even though I’m busy, I will have time to accomplish things.

The second tool I am going to take advantage of, for a trial period of one week, will be a daily time blocking sheet. I like this idea because at the beginning of each day I can sit down, map out the day, and find time to do the things I want to do. When you give yourself a schedule you are much less likely to waste time. I know I personally waste an enormous amount of time on my smart phone refreshing apps like facebook, twitter, and instagram. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t, or you shouldn’t, use those things but if I give myself a schedule I might check them less frequently. I don’t really need to know immediately that a friend’s toddler has the sniffles. Sure, it is nice to know those things and keep up with people- but it’d be a better use of my time if I looked less frequently. The daily planner template that I am using can be found here. I like that it prompts you to start with your to-do list too. It’s hard to plan your day if you don’t know what you need to do.

This is still the very beginning phases of my project, but this is my start. When I’ve got my notebook a little better underway, perhaps once January has really been started, I’ll do a separate post exclusively on that. Best wishes to anyone else on their happiness projects!