Last month I randomly picked up the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin off of a bookshelf at work and surprisingly enough, started AND finished it. (It’s been a rough six months reading-wise for me.) I loved it right from the start – her thought process and love of lists and charts stood out to me, as well as the quest for further happiness.
I am not unhappy by any means but I do recognize that I could be taking smaller, daily steps to become happier. A tiny example: if I spent less time on my cell phone / social media, I’d have more time to do the laundry. And while the laundry is not considered a fun activity (to me at least), I would be happier if I didn’t have 17 loads piled up in the guest bedroom needed to be folded. Okay, that’s an exaggeration; there’s probably 6-7 loads in there waiting to be KonMari’d into little packages of appreciation. My space would be cleaner AND I wouldn’t have this nagging item on my to-do list.
The biggest takeaway that I took from this book was that I should make a list of all of the things that make me happy and find a way to do more of them. No more excuses like, “when I retire, I’ll do more of XYZ…” or “if I had more time (or money), I’d do XYZ” or phrases like, “I’ve always wanted to try XYZ.” No more! No better time to be happy and to be engaging in activities that make me happy than now.
Rubin breaks down her resolutions by month, each month having a theme. And while I wish I had read this book in December so that I could have a fresh start (like her!) in January, I don’t want to wait six more months to give this whole happiness project a try. So, I went online and printed off her free resolutions chart, filled in my resolutions for the month, and taped it to my fridge.
How fucking ironic is that?! Here I am, finishing up Baby Step 3, learning to loosen the spending reins and the theme of the first month is buy some happiness.
Rubin has a wonderful example: Money doesn’t buy happiness the way good health doesn’t buy happiness.
When money or health is a problem, you think of little else; when it’s not a problem, you don’t think much about it. Both money and health contribute to happiness mostly in the negative; the lack of them brings much more unhappiness than possessing them bring happiness.
But the fact that good health doesn’t guarantee happiness doesn’t mean that good health doesn’t matter to happiness. Similarly, money. Used wisely, each can contribute greatly to happiness.
I love that perspective. We don’t often know how good we’ve got it until we’re late on a payment or receive a poor diagnosis at a check-up. This month I’m embracing our financial stability and finding happiness in where we’re at, what we’ve got and looking forward to what we can now afford.
My resolutions for July:
- Buy needful things: We’ve been delaying a lot of purchases while on the first three Baby Steps and we’ve now got a long list of items that we should be buying without guilt. Case and point: new underwear. Frames for existing art that’s been sitting in our office for almost three years, unhung.
- Indulge in a modest splurge: I feel like the entire month is going to be a splurge but I’ve already identified one purchase I’d like to make: a pedicure. It has probably been two years since my last one and these puppies are barking for some attention.
- Get rid of things that don’t work: and also items that we no longer use. This resolution falls under the minimalist living / KonMari method that I’ve been trying to embrace over the last couple of years and will encourage me to conquer one more drawer or corner when I’m looking for something to occupy my time / earn me a checkmark on the chart.
- Use up what we have: I feel like we’re pretty darn good at this because hello, #budgeting but with our CSA, I especially don’t want to let food go to waste. Admittedly one bunch of cilantro went bad in the fridge and I feel horrible; that was water, energy, time spent by the farmer that I don’t want to take for granted.
- Be generous: This is not just us donating money, but also what we’re looking to get rid / items that no longer serve us. I read a statistic somewhere that the U.S.A. is one of the only countries that sells their trash instead of donating it to those who need it. I’ve already got a couple of items that I’m going to be gifting to runners in this area when the time comes instead of trying to make an extra buck. #inolongerneedasidehustle
- Make purchases that further my goals: Hello, running gear! It’s probably been 5+ years since I purchased a sports bra. Yeah, no joke. I think this also falls under 1. as a need, ha! I’m also in the market for a new running watch that will help me with my running goals. The beau purchased an electric guitar off of Facebook Marketplace a couple of weeks ago and we’ve decided to budget in lessons for him.
- Spend out: This doesn’t necessarily mean monetarily; it also means acting in a manner to help out others without the expectation of acknowledgment.
- Track all meals: This has nothing to do with spending money but everything to do with my current training cycle. When I track my meals, I tend to eat healthier. I can also see how specific foods affects my running and recovery. I’ve been falling into a nice little running groove and would like this aspect of my life to be fully aligned. Happy gut = happy runs!
I’ll report back at the end of the month to let you know if I feel happier but for the time being, I want to know: if you had the cash available this month, what would your modest splurge be?