Tag Archives: happiness project

2/52 Changes – Exercise

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Chapter 2 in the book is ‘Unprocrastinate’, but I’m putting that off 😉

So, after some debate – which I imagine will be a weekly thing now, knowing me! – I realised the benefit of following the book’s suggestions more or less. For one, it saves me doing all the ‘glamorous’ stuff up front and then hitting a lower motivational period with only less attractive options left to me. Secondly, as I read ahead I realise that there is a flow to a lot of the suggestions, as well as a good mix of various types of activity. So far I’m adding little 5-10 minute habits to my daily schedule, but there is a danger of overwhelm if that keeps going!

I was equally tempted to skip chapter three, as Walking implies outdoors which really is NOT appealing in Scotland’s freezing January weather! Instead I decided to make my week 2 habit-experiment the more generic Exercise.

It’s kind of a traditional New Year’s Resolution, and one that I – among many others! – rather fail at, every year. But it’s also kind of a core habit to develop: there are SO many benefits ranging from helping with sleep (chapter 26), mindfulness (week 13), to quite probably extending your life – I mean, c’mon: of COURSE this should be more a part of my daily life!!

Minion hearts zumbaAnd again, the approach – that I’ve read a million times but only now is sinking in at a ‘real’ level, it seems! – of small and frequent is totally helping. Instead of dragging myself to the gym – too easy to excuse myself out of – I’m dragging myself to a simple 5-minute (just tiny amount of time!) zumba warm up in my living room. Doing it as soon as I’m in from work (trigger!) gets it over with, helps me warm up after the walk from the bus and before the heating’s fully kicked in, and means I can shove my dinner to cook while I’m in the shower and have a lovely evening in my jammies relaxing 🙂

The week didn’t work as well as week 1, as I was out late three night. Two included large amounts of walking over my norm, so exercise still done, but I did slack on the meditation – only 4/7 on that this week.

So, week 3 I want to continue with both of these things – in fact, these two are ones I want as core, all the time things for me now! For my new habit – and believe me, the new thing every week lack of boredom is hitting my scanner buttons in all the right ways! – I’m rebelling again and going for chapter 26’s Get More Sleep, or at least the setting up of a sleep routine.

And a final thought on this week… this morning I ran out of pages in my journal book, and looked back at what I was doing this time last year: Happiness Project, 101 Changes, and Joy Diet all got mentioned. What happened to any of them?! All were great, but clearly not as good a fit for me as this one is so far. Instead of already forgotten resolutions and feeling like January has disappeared in a haze, I have a feeling that I’ve already started to accomplish something this year – and I’m still excited about continuing the experiment! 🙂

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Turtle steps

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I was flicking through some of the bookmarks I hadn’t really gotten around to reading last year, and stumbled back
across 52 Changes (and yes, I’m aware I’m a few years out of date…!). This is an eBook from the guy who does Zen Habits. It lists a suggested habit to form (or in a few cases, break) each week for the year – and I’m really tempted to give it a follow! In fact, I am: at least starting (I’m well aware of the evidence this blog presents as to how some of these experiments pan out…!).

Anyway, to quote from the book:

The changes in this book aren’t a way to improve your life. Let me stress that: this isn’t a self-improvement book. It’s an experimentation book. It’s a change lab. It’s a way to explore yourself, to figure out what works best for you, to get out of your comfort zone, to learn how to change, and to be OK with change. And that’s the most important thing: learning how to be OK with change.

It’s about living life in a way that will give you the greatest fulfillment, will help you help the world, and to live more fully and in the present.

Which sounds worth a go, right?! I’m loving the intro, in it’s laid-back tone and lack of pretension. It’s all ‘give it a go, see what works for you’ rather than ‘must do x, y then z’. The advice is sound, too: one at a time (my downfall!) and start small. And – I love this! – “Enjoy the Change. If you don’t enjoy it, it’s not worth doing. And it won’t stick anyway.”

The order isn’t prescriptive, so I’ve been thinking about what would work best for me. So many are already in my mind:
mindful eating, exercise, yoga, meditation, sleep, creativity, and the lovely ‘unprocrastinate’.

Sleeping seems kind of key to me – I’ve been having far more disturbed nights back in my own bed than in the peace of my dad’s house over Christmas, which is disappointing and really highlighting the detriment that has on my day-to-day. But that’s habit #26 – half a year away! But then… if I plan to try anyway, maybe the 6-month mark would be a good reminder to focus? A read through that ‘chapter’ (a brief description, why, and a ‘how’ for each habit) shows that it draws in exercise and meditation, so maybe the order flows well. Although I wonder if ‘walking’ is better done away from Scotland’s icy January weather!!

So… for right now I think I might just start at the beginning, with meditation. I’ve always loved my dabbling, but always fall out of the habit. Here the suggestion is 2-5 minutes: and hey, isn’t that a more sustainable habit than 20 minutes?! Also, I think I may make today the ‘official’ start – Saturdays seem more flexible than Thursdays, which ever day the year starts on!

Which isn’t to say I’m not even looking at the other stuff – exercise, healthier eating, blah blah – until the ‘habit week’, but I figure this way I can have one thing that is unshakable for the day. And – true to my scanner nature! – know that next week I can shift to a new area (although keep up with the meditation, too!).

Let’s give this a go! 🙂

Happy February

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For February’s Happiness Project, I’ve come up with a snappy tag line: “Weeding and Seeding

This is a two-pronged approach, to my habits. On the one hand, uprooting all of those negative things that have taken hold in my life and attempting to banish them. I acknowledge that, like weeds, this isn’t a one-step attack. However, by clearing some space I can then sow (hey – it’s cold and ick out there, gardening metaphors are happy!) some more positive habits – and if I can nurture those over the rest of the year they will also help crowd out the weeds from growing back.

Year of the Horse

Of course, this isn’t a jettisoning of January’s aims – in fact, I did *so well* with those (snort!) that I’m happy to have the repeat reminder! It’s all about energy: prioritising sleep, eating well, getting some exercise; decluttering mind (meditation) and surroundings (more weeding!).

February also marks the start of the Chinese New Year of the Horse. I like this idea of a ‘new year’ every month 😉 But it’s a good chance to wipe January’s somewhat abortive attempts at resolutions and start fresh.

Here’s to happiness, and a productive and cheery February!