In my spare time, I've been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It's a great read with inspirational quotes (from the ancient Greeks to those studying positive psychology) and research on what makes people happy. Gretchen spent one year checking off her new year's resolutions to find out what makes her happy.
This book is exactly what I need right now. I've always been a very happy person - some might say that I have an overdose of serotonin. I always take it as a compliment. Since starting this diet - I feel healthy and alert. However, there's still a part of me (based on my recent breakup from a long-term relationship) that has lost a little bit of happiness and am trying to regain it. Focusing on a healthy body and mind is my goal for the rest of the year.
Gretchen wrote about how having challenges and goals in life actually increase your happiness. She said, "The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the 'atmosphere of growth,' in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present." She quoted Friedrich Nietzsche as saying, "The end of a melody is not its goal; but nonetheless, if the melody had not reached its end it would not have reached its goal either. A parable."
It seems, without knowing it, that my Eat to Live challenge will lead me to being healthy and happy in body and mind.
While reading one of my favourite blogs A Beautiful Mess, I was reminded again by how important having goals in life are. By creating 4 simple goals to complete before 2013, I'll be enriching my life and in turn, will be able to be stronger, happier and healthier to support my friends and family.
Here are the 4 simple goals rules as assigned by A Beautiful Mess blog:
- Choose simple goals that will make your life richer and happier on a daily basis.Choose things that you might not otherwise get done, but that are not difficult to accomplish.
- Do not choose result-oriented goals. Choose activity-oriented goals. For example...instead of "lose 10 pounds", choose something like "eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day". Choose positive actions instead of the end result.
- Choose goals that are personal that you believe will truly make your life richer just by doing them. They can be daily, weekly or one-time experiences.
- Choose a reward for each goal as it is accomplished. It can be a small or large reward - it's up to you!
My 4 simple goals before 2013...
- Feel good in my own body by following the Eat to Live six week diet plan. My mom and I will continue to blog at least twice a week each about our experiences. I'm currently doing the Eat to Live Six Week plan. As of the weekend, I have lost 10 pounds!! I can have an unlimited amount of: raw vegetables; cooked green and non-green nutrient-rich vegetables (i.e. eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower); beans, legumes, bean sprouts and tofu as well as fresh fruits. I can have a limited amount of: cooked, starchy vegetables/whole grains (i.e. butternut and acorn squash, corn, white potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, bread, cereal (no more than 1 cup a day); raw nuts and seeds (1 oz max per day); avocado (2 oz max per day); dried fruit (2 tbsp max per day) and ground flaxseeds (1 tbsp max. per day). Off limits are: dairy products, animal products, between-meal snacks, fruit juice and oils.
- Open a savings account and start a nest egg. (I know, at nearly 27 years old, this is something that I should have done ages ago!) Money might not buy happiness but it does give you piece of mind and independence. By checking this off my to-do list, I can also rid my mind of some stress.
- Practice sewing and attend more yoga sessions. I've gotten the sewing buzz (in part by the gorgeous DIY projects like this one at A Beautiful Mess) and after taking an initial "how to use a sewing machine" class earlier this year, I haven't managed to take any further steps in starting this interest until yesterday when I signed up at a local sewing shop to make a button cushion. I'm so excited! Part two of this goal is to take more yoga classes. Yoga is great for the body and mind, which will help me in my general quest for personal happiness. Am considering a beginner's Ashtanga course and hot yoga. Any recommendations?
- Don't worry about the future, accept things for what they are and find happiness in myself. I'm a planner. I thrive on to-do lists, goals and hopes and dreams of the future. However, sometimes this can be detrimental. I can forget why I'm doing the lists and goals (to better myself and find inner happiness) and just get caught up in why I haven't finished item 12 on the list. Instead, I'm going to try to appreciate one day at a time - getting the most out of it whether it be going to the gym, working, speaking to family or friends or trying something new. I'm also going to learn to appreciate the downtime and appreciating the silence. This one I think will be the hardest to accomplish but I'm willing to try! In the meantime I will look at this post-it on my mirror for inspiration.