I don’t know about you guys, but I seem to find that when something finishes, that I scratch around wondering what is next. Perhaps that’s a flaw in my personality where I’m not looking to the next thing before the first has finished, I don’t know, but it led me to falling into a bit of a hole since the Maxine’s Challenge finished two weeks ago.
Whilst on Maxine’s, I was very dedicated to my gym sessions and eating well – I could see how my body was changing and I loved it! Yes, it was hard work and sometimes I felt like it took over my life for a while there, but it did give me something good to focus on.
Well, for the past two weeks I’ve been walking around in a bit of a daze – I’m only been to the gym a couple of times and my eating has been less than perfect. Whilst I don’t prescribe to one ‘perfect’ way of eating, or even trying to attain whatever one thinks ‘perfect’ is, I have really noticed how just by becoming slack with even just the basic things like meal prep and making sure that I’m getting plenty of greens in is having an effect on my overall moods and worldview. I feel like I’ve put on all the weight I lost (I haven’t) and I feel like all of my clothes no longer fit (they still do fit….perhaps just slightly less falling off me like they were a few weeks back). It’s funny the way that our minds work and it’s something that I’m really interested in learning more about.
A couple of weeks back I was meeting a beautiful old school friend for coffee at the shopping centre. It was so lovely to catch up with her after all this time. Afterward I decided to check out some of the shops and stumbled across the book ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin. Funnily enough, I’d seen this book before on the bookshelf of a dear friend of mine who I knew when I lived in London. I remember seeing the book on her shelf and asking her about it. I remember that I was interested in reading it at the time, but for some reason I never quite got around to it. I was really excited to stumble on it again now, so much so that I found myself at the counter paying for it before I knew what was going on and I even sent my friend a photo of it.
I’d heard of Gretchen Rubin a couple of months back in my IIN course – she was one of the keynote speakers talking about the pursuit of happiness and I really liked what she had to say. Even at that time, I didn’t run out to purchase her book – I suspect because I still wouldn’t have been ready to fully absorb it, but now I am.
I’m about halfway through so far and I’m loving it – it did take a little while to adapt to Gretchen’s writing style – I think she can be slightly polarising for people, so either you love her or you don’t. I really like her and the way that she thinks about the world and what she’s learnt along the way. So, much so, that I’ve decided to dabble in my own Happiness Project.
I have to preface this by saying that, like Gretchen, I’m not particularly unhappy with my current lot in life – I have a million things to be grateful for, such as lovely friends, good family, enough food to eat, etc. I do, however, sometimes wonder if there’s something more for me (and the more I learn about myself, the more I hear a voice in my head scream ‘YES’). The purpose of this blog is for me to discover what it is that makes me happy, so for 30 days, I’m committing to writing here every single day – sometimes it’ll be an essay just like this post and other times it’ll be just a few words about what I’m noticing along the way.
One thing that Gretchen did on her happiness project was develop some ways of thinking in order to snap her out of negative thinking patterns if they ever took hold. One of them that I really loved was ‘Be more Gretchen’ – by this she meant that every time she found herself wondering if she was doing the right thing, she would ask herself ‘What would Gretchen do?’, which would quickly switch her mind into only doing the things that she really loved. This is definitely something that I’m going to implement – ‘What would Shelley do?’ in the hope that I can find the things that truly make me happy and keep them front and centre in my mind. The other thing that I really liked was the idea of ‘noticing what you notice’ – everyday we have a million things vying for our attention, but in reality we only notice a mere fraction of them. What if we took the time to really explore the things that come up for us – perhaps it’s being more creative, taking a class, learning a language – there are so many choices in the world. By noticing the things that you are most attracted to, you can work out what it is that you really love.
Gretchen committed to a full happiness year, whereby she decided that she would tackle a new area of happiness every month. I’m not quite sure that will work for me, so I’m starting small and initially just committing to writing here everyday for 30 days about my experiences.
You know, even just writing this post has been really cathartic for me – already I feel good, like I have a new purpose and project. I’m not sure if it’ll get my bum back into the gym again, but you never know! 🙂
If any of you guys are interested in Gretchen’s book – you can find out more information about it on her website here – she has loads of free resources and blogs too.
I’d really love to hear if anyone else has been inspired by a book that they’ve found – have you done a happiness project yourself and what did you discover? Tell me about it in the comments box below and as always, please share this with your friends if you feel so called to do so.
I’m off to ‘Be more Shelley’ (whatever that means) and enjoy this Saturday morning. Have a great weekend, guys!