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Habits for Happiness

1
I have been re-reading Gretchen Rubin’s ’The Happiness Project’ in a bid to reboot my own happiness level. Much of what she says strikes a poignant chord.

Depending on the individual, the route to DIY contentment will vary wildly and not many of us can attest to having 12 minutes free let alone 12 months to experiment with all the facets Gretchen explores in her book.

My five key personal takeaways to unlocking my gateway to happiness lie roughly in the areas of:

Sleeping and exercising better
Decluttering and organising
Launch a blog

SelfishMother.com
2
and enjoy the fun of failure (you are reading the evidence of this!)
Mindfulness
Practising gratitude

The problem is that every time I have tried to build good habits to tackle and enforce each of these areas, correlating bad habits have an uncanny knack of sneakily sidling their way to the forefront, eventually obscuring all trace of existence of their better halves.

Examining my own habits in light of these areas, I can ashamedly attest to the following:

Sleeping and exercising better

Good habit: Most days of the week I fit in some

SelfishMother.com
3
form of movement in the form of weights, cardio, yoga etc. I have consistently been doing this, with exception of injuries, for longer than I care to remember. Exercising is a huge destresser for me and, unless performed too close to bedtime, helps me sleep better.

Bad habit: Exercise commitment slides insidiously into exercise obsession. There are times in my life when the days it can’t be accommodated leave me snappy and antsy in much the way of a drug addict being deprived of a hit. Sometimes the desperation for a hit means I exercise even if it

SelfishMother.com
4
is late at night when I know it impacts negatively on my sleep quality.

Decluttering and organising:

Good habit: I am an habitual note taker and list maker. Nothing escapes being annotated and checked off. Post-it notes gild every surface. In a bid to tackle decluttering I invested in a pretty notebook and kept all my notes in one place (see my posts on Bullet Journalling here and here). Check. Having heard about Marie Kondo’s Magic of Tidying Book, I also vowed to store my socks rolled up and orient them sideways – I diligently added it to my

SelfishMother.com
5
To Do list then ticked it off!

Bad habit: I am an habitual hoarder. My one notebook of lists reproduced with the voraciousness of rabbits, sprouting notebooks in every room of the house, for every category imaginable. Worse still I am harbouring a treacherous clothes mountain in the corner of our bedroom, threatening to avalanche and suffocate a small child.

Launch a blog and enjoy the fun of failure

Good habit: Since its conception a few years back I have generally been consistent in tending to the frugal needs of this blog. Go me! Even when

SelfishMother.com
6
I fail to get a single read of my posts it is still fun (so I keep telling myself).

Bad habit: There may be a small chance my fear of not consistently posting on this blog are bordering on potentially obsessive, when really, my time has so many more pressing, arguably more important demands on it. For instance, making some effort to bother with applying makeup daily or stop wearing my gym kit all day rather than just the hour I am actually at the gym. Plus, though I say I don’t care that no one reads it, in truth, the lady doth protest too much,

SelfishMother.com
7
meaning the whole exercise leaves me filled with self-doubt and inadequacy.

Mindfulness

Good habit: I am consistently being mindful of healthful, real food-based eating and almost daily, shop, prepare and cook meals for my family.

Bad habit: Justifying excessive sugar consumption (albeit in its natural form) and mindless ’treat’ eating, under the guise of it being Paleo/ whole food/ real food/ healthy/ whatever. Bottom line is it’s all mindless and unnecessary consumption that is feeding and suffocating deeper seated issues rather than

SelfishMother.com
8
tackling them.

Practising gratitude

Good habit: One of my many notebooks (Point 2 above) was a dedicated ’Gratitude Journal’ – gold star.

Bad habit: I mislaid said Journal amongst the pile of other journals and notebooks I amassed.

Better habit: I now include a daily gratitude line in my Bullet Journal – no extra notebook required and it is partnered with the habit of Bullet Journalling.

My one saving grace is that Gretchen urges above all else for ultimate happiness, to be true to yourself. It looks like my clothes mountain may be a

SelfishMother.com
9
permanent landmark and I have already invested in the mothership Bullet Journal to keep track of every other list and notebook that I own. Still, a mindfulness of my bad habits is a useful tool in keeping them (largely) in check.
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- 21 Feb 18

I have been re-reading Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project’ in a bid to reboot my own happiness level. Much of what she says strikes a poignant chord.

Depending on the individual, the route to DIY contentment will vary wildly and not many of us can attest to having 12 minutes free let alone 12 months to experiment with all the facets Gretchen explores in her book.

My five key personal takeaways to unlocking my gateway to happiness lie roughly in the areas of:

  1. Sleeping and exercising better
  2. Decluttering and organising
  3. Launch a blog and enjoy the fun of failure (you are reading the evidence of this!)
  4. Mindfulness
  5. Practising gratitude

The problem is that every time I have tried to build good habits to tackle and enforce each of these areas, correlating bad habits have an uncanny knack of sneakily sidling their way to the forefront, eventually obscuring all trace of existence of their better halves.

Examining my own habits in light of these areas, I can ashamedly attest to the following:

  1. Sleeping and exercising better

Good habit: Most days of the week I fit in some form of movement in the form of weights, cardio, yoga etc. I have consistently been doing this, with exception of injuries, for longer than I care to remember. Exercising is a huge destresser for me and, unless performed too close to bedtime, helps me sleep better.

Bad habit: Exercise commitment slides insidiously into exercise obsession. There are times in my life when the days it can’t be accommodated leave me snappy and antsy in much the way of a drug addict being deprived of a hit. Sometimes the desperation for a hit means I exercise even if it is late at night when I know it impacts negatively on my sleep quality.

  1. Decluttering and organising:

Good habit: I am an habitual note taker and list maker. Nothing escapes being annotated and checked off. Post-it notes gild every surface. In a bid to tackle decluttering I invested in a pretty notebook and kept all my notes in one place (see my posts on Bullet Journalling here and here). Check. Having heard about Marie Kondo’s Magic of Tidying Book, I also vowed to store my socks rolled up and orient them sideways – I diligently added it to my To Do list then ticked it off!

Bad habit: I am an habitual hoarder. My one notebook of lists reproduced with the voraciousness of rabbits, sprouting notebooks in every room of the house, for every category imaginable. Worse still I am harbouring a treacherous clothes mountain in the corner of our bedroom, threatening to avalanche and suffocate a small child.

  1. Launch a blog and enjoy the fun of failure

Good habit: Since its conception a few years back I have generally been consistent in tending to the frugal needs of this blog. Go me! Even when I fail to get a single read of my posts it is still fun (so I keep telling myself).

Bad habit: There may be a small chance my fear of not consistently posting on this blog are bordering on potentially obsessive, when really, my time has so many more pressing, arguably more important demands on it. For instance, making some effort to bother with applying makeup daily or stop wearing my gym kit all day rather than just the hour I am actually at the gym. Plus, though I say I don’t care that no one reads it, in truth, the lady doth protest too much, meaning the whole exercise leaves me filled with self-doubt and inadequacy.

  1. Mindfulness

Good habit: I am consistently being mindful of healthful, real food-based eating and almost daily, shop, prepare and cook meals for my family.

Bad habit: Justifying excessive sugar consumption (albeit in its natural form) and mindless ‘treat’ eating, under the guise of it being Paleo/ whole food/ real food/ healthy/ whatever. Bottom line is it’s all mindless and unnecessary consumption that is feeding and suffocating deeper seated issues rather than tackling them.

  1. Practising gratitude

Good habit: One of my many notebooks (Point 2 above) was a dedicated ‘Gratitude Journal’ – gold star.

Bad habit: I mislaid said Journal amongst the pile of other journals and notebooks I amassed.

Better habit: I now include a daily gratitude line in my Bullet Journal – no extra notebook required and it is partnered with the habit of Bullet Journalling.

My one saving grace is that Gretchen urges above all else for ultimate happiness, to be true to yourself. It looks like my clothes mountain may be a permanent landmark and I have already invested in the mothership Bullet Journal to keep track of every other list and notebook that I own. Still, a mindfulness of my bad habits is a useful tool in keeping them (largely) in check.

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Wife, mother, former member of the wider world workplace, now confined to a study in the suburbs with my thoughts and dreams to keep me company! You can find me over on my food blog https://imperfectly-paleo.blogspot.co.uk/ OR on my rather dusty old blog about motherhood and being banished from the workplace over on https://bankingbabyandbeyond.wordpress.com/ Lovely to (virtually) meet you all x

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