• Elle

My Happiness Project

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may remember that I discovered a book tucked away in my office while I was dusting my bookshelves.

I'm telling ya'll, it was divine intervention! I was meant to find this book. The thing is, the book wasn't even mine. I didn't even know it existed and then... there it was. Bizarre, right?

45% of Americans make New Years Resolutions each year. Only 8% of people actually achieve their goals.

I'm one of the 45%. Over dinner on New Years Day, Ashley asked me what my resolutions were. They were simple: Be happy, Expand My Blog, Work on my Relationship. She laughed when I told her and kind of rolled her eyes.

"What are your resolutions?" I asked.

"I don't have one. Only 8% of resolutions that are made are actually achieved. They are a waste of time."

"You don't think we need to work on our relationship?" I questioned, a little hurt that she didn't comment on the fact I mentioned we needed help.

"Nope. Resolutions are pointless."

Now, we both admit that our relationship isn't what it once was. I guess a lot of it is my fault. I'm oversensitive, I hold grudges, I'm stubborn and lately I've been depressed and unmotivated. I also have anxiety which was increased tremendously over the last couple of months. My depression and anxiety are preventing me from doing things I typically enjoy; shopping, cooking, getting off of the couch. If getting me to do things I actually enjoy doing was a hassle, imagine having to talk me into doing things I don't like to do; getting oil changes, doing the dishes, putting laundry away, adulting in general.

I found this book at the perfect time. The Happiness Project is about changing yourself to make yourself happy. It's about not doing things for recognition but for yourself. It's about doing things for others. It is exactly what I need to be reading right now.

This month I am focusing on 5 small things to help myself be a little happier.

1. 10 Minute Clean Up- Each night before I go to bed, I spend 10 minutes simply picking up around the house. I set a timer on my Apple Watch and do simple things like put away the dishes from dinner, clean up dog toys, put away laundry, sweep or wipe down the kitchen. One of Ashley's biggest pet peeve is that she has to do "all" of the chores around the house so this is a big step.

This has become part of my nightly rituals. Ashley picked up on what I was doing and decided to join in. Each night we spend 10 minutes simply picking up. Believe it or not, it has made life so much easier.

2. Nag Less- I nag. I don't like it, Ashley doesn't like it but I do it. There are things that she does that drives me crazy. For instance, she NEVER cleans up after herself in the kitchen. She'll leave wrappers, crumbs and juices on the counter and not think twice about it. She refuses to use a cutting board and scratches up her counter tops. Instead of nagging her about it, I'm going to try my best to ignore it. There are plenty of good things that she does, I need to focus on those.

3. Adult- I'm a horrible procrastinator. I hate dealing with things. I'll put things off for days, weeks, months and years if I can. It's time for me to step up and start being an adult. That means making appointments I don't want to, it means having a skin care routine and it means organizing my life.

4. Put the Phone Down- Ashley says I spend too much time on my phone. So, I have a new, unspoken rule. No phone in the bed and limit my cell phone usage when we're together. That means less Facebook and Words with Friends.

5. Just Do It- Part of my procrastination is waiting around for other people to do things for me or simply ignoring them. This only causes my to do list to pile up and my house to look like shit. It's just easier to do things myself.

Since setting these goals I have.

1. Made an appointment to have my oil changed. I was driving around for 3 weeks with a Low Tire Pressure notification on my car. I went ahead and had that fixed while I was there as well. Sure I spent an hour at the dealership but I walked away with a freshly oiled, safe car that was freshly cleaned for me. What's even better? They did all of it at no cost! Man did that make me happy!

2. There's a light bulb that went out about 2 weeks ago in our hallway. It was driving me crazy but we were both ignoring the fact that the alcove leading to our bedroom was ridiculously dark. Changing it would be a pain in the ass because who ever did it would have to dig the ladder out of the garage. It was hidden behind a pile of plywood that we used to board up the windows during Hurricane Matthew. Without being asked, or even mentioning it, I climbed up the ladder and changed the bulb all by myself. While I was at it, I went out and bought 8 more bulbs to replace the ones in our master bath.

3. While I was at the store I bought Ashley a pair of Mule Mugs she's wanted for no reason at all. I didn't come out and tell her about them either. I simply hung them up on our Coffee Mug Pallet in the kitchen.

She spotted them while I was washing the dishes she brought home in her lunch box and said, "Wow! I got new mugs! Those are so cool! How much were they? They weren't more than $25, were they?" Instead of snapping about how I'm never allowed to spend money, I just laughed.

4. When Ashley got home from work the first day, I emptied out her lunch boxes and handwashed all of her storage containers. I filled up her water bottle for the gym and bit my tongue when she made a smoothie and left the dirty blender lid, a empty baggie from the frozen veggies and the OJ all out on the counter. Instead, I simply put everything way and wiped off the counter, keeping my comments to myself. This is progress! Believe it or not, it felt good to bite my tongue, knowing that my comments would have either fallen on deaf ears or sparked an argument. I'm so glad that I did too because as she was walking out the door for the gym she said, "You should stay home by yourself every day!" I'll take that as a "Thank you".

5. I made an appointment to talk to my doctor about my anxiety/PTSD and get put back on my meds. While I was there I also got a referral for an allergist and talked to him about a bump on my brow that I've been ignoring for two months. That's adulting, right?

So far, I think I'm doing pretty well with my goals. They say it takes 28 days to make something a habit. If I do these things/use these behaviors maybe they'll just become instilled in me and become part of my every day life?

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter so you don't miss my February update of My Happiness Project.