Last week, after offering a bribe, eight people agreed to join in the local version of the international Happiness Project. Congratulations Carolyn on winning the prize (which is still undisclosed as Carolyn is out of town and won’t be receiving said prize until Aug. 19).
The good news is that eight people joined – two of them in Tucson, one in Phoenix and the other five out of state. that is one advantage to a virtual happiness group: You don’t have to live in the same area b/c you meet online. So, how is everyone doing on their resolutions and/or coming up with personal commandments? Is anyone confused between the two? I will admit I am. My commandments, I’ve found, are sort of like my resolutions. Which probably means my resolutions aren’t specific enough.
In addition, I am feeling a little overwhelmed trying to focus on six guiding principles (aka commandments) every day while also trying to remember the one resolution I should work on for the month. So what I decided, was that for me to be happy, I can’t feel stressed. And keeping a LONG LIST of what I need to do to be happier makes me UNhappier.
So I did some adjustment, the first thing being deciding to only focus on one thing each week. For me, that one thing was my third commandment, being kind. To really focus on it, I committed to (and maybe this is actually a resolution) writing down every time I said something that was unkind AND writing down kind things I did. I will admit that I didn’t always write everything down, but the fascinating thing was that just telling myself before an encounter with someone, “Remember to write down how kind you were” actually made me more aware of my behavior and helped me, most of the time, to be more kind. Which naturally made the person be more kind to me, and the happiness just spread willy nilly all over the place!
The other thing I did was write down my six commandments (Be Renee; accept imperfection; be kind; let anger go; do the next thing; act as if) and keep them in easy view at my desk. That meant I saw them multiple times each day and that helped me keep them in the foreground of my mind so even though I was practicing, primarily, being kind, I also noted that the others cropped up throughout the day. For instance, when feeling overwhelmed, I would tell myself to “Just do the next thing” and if I was irritated, I’d hear a tiny voice say, “Remember to let anger go.”
Overall, then, I’d say then that the week was a success in my step toward being a happier person through the commandments and resolutions. But learning – and accepting – that I needed to focus on one of the commandments (while not completely ignoring the others) at a time was very helpful in not making me feel like a failure (which, I suppose, goes to my “accept imperfection” commandment!).
So, I’m interested in hearing what y’all’s experience was this past week with resolutions and/or commandments. Do you have any tips to share? Any insights gained? And, if you can remember, what was the thing that made you happiest this past week?