One of my Christmas gifts this year was a book that I've been eyeing for quite some time but never brought myself to purchase, but I'm very glad I'm reading it. Sure it has it's flaws, as many Amazon reviewers will tell you in a rather cruel deprecating way, but the reviews are exactly what keep me away from reading books like this. Specifically, judgement from others about my reading material and what I might find helpful in my life. Just after Thanksgiving (because the remodel of our kitchen culminating at Thanksgiving was all I could think about for many months, often when I made coffee in our bathroom sink) I started thinking about how I needed to refocus my energy towards improving my life. But there were holiday preparations and parties and wassailing that ate up my focus when I wasn't at work for too many hours. And then I received this book, and I am relieved to enjoy it and to work on starting my own Happiness Project. When I picture people that read "self-help" books, I picture middle aged single women with hidden eating disorders clutching their books about how to find love, or middle aged unsuccessful salesmen listening to motivational tapes in their cars. Regardless, I believe I can improve my life and my attitude, but I know I need some sort of guidance.
I'm still working on my "resolutions" because I don't think that the strike of midnight on December 31st signifies the moment my carriage turns into a pumpkin leaving my high and dry for another year. And as Gretchen will tell you as will dozens of other January magazine articles, it's best to start slowly. Self improvement and behavioral changes are slow to implement. I'm not sharing everything here because, like I said, I haven't riddled out everything yet, but here are a few:
Acknowledge your fears, then let go
Stay open to possibilities
Ask for help
Exercise - 4 times per week
Get some sleep
Eat a healthy breakfast
Carve out focused time for yourself - with purpose
Enjoy creativity - blog, cook, sew
Make contact with people - return emails, write emails, write cards, blog
Dress nice once a week
On a different subject, while January 1st brought me a beautiful sunny day on which to walk around the lake with my husband, January 2nd brought me news that my beautiful, smart, creative and wonderful grandma Bernice past away at her artist table. At 93, she was still engaged, creating art and new artforms, dancing, trying new things, and actively spending time with friends and family. We should all be so lucky. I will miss her very much.