at the beginning of this month i started my happiness project 2011. i found the most useful advice from gretchen rubin’s book to be “act how you want to feel” (i.e. acting energetic) and “identify the problem.” here’s what i learned about the goals i set for this month:
- go to sleep by 12:15am – 64% success
going to sleep and waking up consistently sets structure in my day. the best habit i gained from this is to wake up as soon as i hear my alarm clock (at minimal student‘s recommendation, i use alarm tunes). i make exceptions to the 12:15 bedtime only for the sake of de-stressing: there is no point in trying to go to sleep when i know i won’t be able to due to stress. this could mean staying up an extra 20 minutes to read in bed or an extra hour to get caught up in work. focus for continuing next month: go to bed as close to 12:15 as possible instead of staying up even later just because i missed the numeric deadline.
- exercise daily – 57% success
the most challenging part of exercising is fitting it into my schedule. the most effective adjustments i have made regard posture: always sitting up or standing up straight keeps me energized and is better for my body. i also embrace the opportunity to walk since i’m in a city. instead of looking up a store’s hours, i take five minutes to walk over and check. more rigorous exercise however, is also more difficult. i enjoy running outdoors, but only at 40 degrees fahrenheit or warmer. i have been trying to go to yoga, but it never seems to fit into my schedule. focus for continuing next month: go to yoga at least once a week and climb more stairs.
- be organized – 96% success
my biggest challenge here has been moving into a new room this term. i am just now getting used to my organizational system in the new space. my current routine is to clear all the surfaces (my desk, chair, coffee table, and seating area) and fill the kettle and water filter before going to sleep. i have also worked out a calendar system in which i use my google calendar, which syncs to ical, which syncs to my iphone. this works better in the states where my iphone is my actual phone, allowing me to carry one device instead of two and to have a more updated calendar online. focus for continuing next month: clean out my email inboxes each morning and go through my to-do drawer at least in part every night.
- eat well – 57% success
the problem i have identified is my tendency to over-eat just to finish my plate. this habit has developed because of my living situation – without easy access to the large refrigerator and microwave i have at home, my options are eat it or throw it out, and that seems like such a waste. i have improved on eating only what i want to eat though: when i crave a certain food i eat it, because i know that if i eat something else, i’ll end up eating what i wanted originally in addition to what i didn’t actually want. now that i’ve been paying attention i can usually tell when i want/need protein or vegetables or fruit – i’ve been surprised to realize that i am not always in the mood for chocolate. focus for continuing next month: always carry a small snack and storage container in my bag.