Before I share with you my "month two summary" (November), let me make something clear, a tracking chart is not a useful tool for me.
The whole concept of a keeping a chart worked well for Gretchen Rubin (the author of the book, The Happiness Project. It worked well enough for me my first month, and I am quite confident this works rather well for many individuals. Overall this approach does not happen to be all that effective for Florence.
This month, keeping a chart was impractical due to the fact many of my action steps were not daily tasks. Moreover, I would make notes on a small notepad I keep for this purpose than chart.
If you perform daily tasks, a chart can be practical.
However, truth be known, charts end up feeling like extra work to me. Furthermore, I forget to update them daily which renders them useless. I'd rather keep mental tabulations—with the occasional note taking—than making check-marks on a sheet of paper.
That's just me though; I am well aware that others will love the chart concept and that's' fine by me.
On a side note: As a reminder for my action steps, I make notes in the app called Todoist, I have it downloaded on my desktop as well as onto my laptop.
Month One Theme: Update
5. 1. Body Wellness
Overall, I have developed much better sleeping habits. I am still maintaining my gains from the first month of my Happiness Project.
On occasion, I still go to bed later than I intend. Although, going to bed late is now a rarity rather than the norm. I also—usually—get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night, which is not too shabby.
I also listen to my body and take the occasional nap if one becomes necessary.
I read an excellent book this month about intuitive eating called Mindful Eating. This work was right in line with my philosophy about nutrition. Such reading material keeps me encouraged and determined to continue on my mindful journey.
I have genuinely reconnected with walking, more specifically trail walking. It is a bit like rekindling a relationship with an old friend. Walking has been my primary form of movement this past month.
I practice yoga or other types of mindful movement as well (on occasion).
2. Clutter-Free Environment
I have slacked off a bit in this area.
In my defense, trying to keep a clutter-free environment when you still have six kids at home is not easy (that's not counting my husband and occasional visits from the grand-babies).
The good news is that my desk is still free of clutter as is my bedroom, great achievements on my part.
3. Smart Use of Time
I am still thrilled with the app Todoist which I use daily. I am also pretty happy with a new app named Evernote.
When on a walk, I use the voice recognition app on my phone to record a note. I then can easily copy and paste said notes into Evernote for later retrieval. I have downloaded this app onto my desktop, laptop, and cell phone. I only have a handful of apps on my cell; this is how much I like this app.
I was thrilled to discover that Evernote has a Chrome extension. This feature enables me to "clip" and save articles from the internet. I find this feature more convenient—as well as more efficient—than bookmarking. Moreover, I can access Todoist and Evernote from multiple devices.
3. True LoveActs of Love
I started working on this aspect during the first month even though it was not part of my actions steps (see my bleeding theme post). As a result of adopting this decision, I am more mindful, and additionally, I have a lot more fun.
Date Like in the Beginning
This action step was a blast! My hubby is still talking about it.
I have already planned next month's date, and I'm quite excited about it.
This action step has precipitated more mindfulness in my marriage in the little—and significant—ways I show my fantastic husband how much he means to me; this fills his love tank and in turn fills mine as well. A win-win for everyone.
Give Words of Praise and Gratefulness
This step is a cinch.
I try to genuinely compliment or praise everyone I encounter every day. Words of affirmation are my primary love language and for this reason, praising others comes easily. Moreover, hubby makes it effortless. He is awesome.
I had a random thought at the end of my section about Acts of Love which stated: no expectations!
I haven't done so well with this aspect. I do still fish for gold stars. As I just stated above, I am a "words of affirmation" kind of gal* which means I love to be affirmed. When I am not, this leaves me looking for praise. So, this step is mostly a fail.
I started the month well. However, as November progressed, if I didn't get my pat on the back, I went hunting for it.
Honestly, words of affirmation are not as meaningful if I have to ask....so, I should drop this lousy habit anyway and learn to praise myself.
Note to self: work on that random though again at another time.
*For the curious, my love languages rank thus: words of affirmation followed very closely (by only one point) by touch, time, and acts of service as a tie. Lagging far behind are gifts. While I do enjoy gifts, they mean little to me if my other love languages are not filled. If you are not familiar with love languages, you can read the book. My husband and I read it over twenty years ago. This book is well worth the read.
I only had a straightforward action step under this category: have more fun.
We played card games, and I bought two new ones for the occasion. We also had an impromptu tea party which was a hoot. I plan on doing it again this month.
About three years ago, I was in the habit of organizing themed tea parties. While they were loads of fun, they were also loads of work. I honestly didn't want to take the time to put a themed party together nor spend a lot of time prepping in the kitchen.
Instead, on a spur of the moment urge, while still at the grocery store, I grabbed a few items for a tea party.
I knew we had these food items on hand: sandwich supplies, tea, milk, sugar, chips or crackers. I grabbed a fresh fruit pie, some whipped cream, and a dip. Voila!
The little ones were stunned as well as beyond excited. We even watched one of my favorite childhood funny movies (in French no less).
I had one sub-category in my kid theme: Abe.
Abe is my special needs child. My original intent was to be able to connect with him more; this was not possible as he was very dysregulated which after a while, dysregulated me.
He just learned to read. As a substitute for my original action step, I weekly went to the public library and selected 7 to 14 books for him to practice his newly acquired skill. He was delighted.
Since the rest of this action step was a dud, I will add it to December's theme list.
Self-AcceptanceThis step was not hugely successful either. I believe it was too vague. I needed to be able to take more concrete steps
Stating "no negativity" is not effective when I only catch myself in the middle of negative self-talk or worse after my internal rant is over. The good news is that I would stop when I caught myself.
Keep a Log of my likes
I was able to keep a running log of the things which nourish me, and I was surprised to find they are quite a few!
Discovering that trail walking is very nourishing for me was a beautiful discovery (granted it doesn't take 10). Other activities on my take-10 list are: a cup of chai enjoyed mindfully, laying down with meditation music, reading, knitting or crocheting.
For a date, I took myself to a Swedish massage. It was divine and very needed.
6. Unplanned Action Steps
Some unplanned action steps found their way into my month's themes.
Not only did I keep a record for myself, but I also started to maintain a log of my friends and family members' likes. I am hoping that doing so will make it easier to bless them.
Keeping in Touch
Under my "children" theme, I had planned on making a habit of calling my adult sons who live away from home.
They text sporadically. They are—however—not good at calling. A fact which I lament.
I figured if I wanted to hear from them more often I could either: 1) nag them, 2) wait for them to do it, 3) stay quiet but be sad, or 4) do it myself. As you can see, I chose 4. I must preface that in all honesty, I have also tried 2 and 3 and while I didn't nag, I whined.
Random Acts of Kindness
I started doing RAKs way before I embarked on my Happiness Project. However, I became much more mindful of them last month.