Two full weeks into the first month of my Happiness Project, I realized I had learned something new and unexpected: while I was overall happier, I did not feel more energetic. This was a tad surprising because my October theme was “energy.”
I can’t say my resolutions had provided me with an increased sense of physical well-being. Did this mean my first month’s theme was a bust?
Not in the least, I had learned a different but nevertheless valuable lesson.
I went to my trusted dictionary – Merriam-Webster – to look up the definition of “energy.” Maybe I didn’t feel more energetic because I had based my Happiness Project theme on a faulty interpretation.
1. a: dynamic quality – narrative energy
2: vigorous exertion of power: effort – investing time and energy
I was correct. While I had exerted plenty of energy in the course of the month, I can’t say I had acquired “more” vitality.
There was no denying it; I did feel happier. The following reasons made me feel satisfied, productive and yes, happy:
- My house was getting cleaned and organized. Moreover, I had a plan on how to keep the momentum going.
- Clutter was disappearing like ice in the Arizona sun.
- I was developing new positive habits.
- I was more productive because I had found solutions to nagging problems, for example, my do-list app.
- I was more mindful over all.
- I kept a running tab of new resolutions I could implement during the coming months.
- I had goals I was working toward achieving.
- I was daily physically active even if in small ways.
- I was more mindful of my sleeping habits.
- I was more cautious of my eating habits.
- I spent less time on social media.
These were all valuable and positive consequences of my October resolutions, yet, not one of these “happy” results made me feel more energized as in “I have an additional amount of juice to keep me going.” I still went to bed tired. Likewise, I could only read a few pages of my book – no matter how riveting the book – before my eyes closed shut for the night. While I woke up aspiring to be industrious, I didn’t sprightly bound out of bed.
I can’t say there was much improvement to my pre-Happiness Project energy level from September.
Was this akin to a Happiness Project Fail?
Not at all!
I am delighted with my results albeit not in the way I had first anticipated. Had I mastered time travel and you could go back in time, I would change my October theme to something besides “Energy.”
While at the time, I believed my desired results for October was indeed to acquire more energy, I now realize this wasn’t precisely the goal I was after. The funny thing is that I was still able to reach – as well as discover – my real goal despite the fact I could not verbalize it concisely on October 1st.
I discovered that my actual goal was “balance.”
When the Lesson is not the Lesson: Balance
What is balance?
Unknowingly, “balance” was exactly the goal I was truly after.
I didn’t really want more stamina. Instead, I desired an attitude of equilibrium.
I yearned for a state of being which was foreign to me buried under mounds of paperwork, with only a vague knowledge of my daily (not to mention weekly and monthly) tasks while nevertheless forgetting many of them in the midst of “doing” life. Additionally, I had only a vague notion of exercising; an idea quickly overlooked without any accountability. Overall, I cultivated a persistent feeling there was too much on my plate.
I won’t lie, I do have a lot on my plate. However, my overall disorganization made living life in my home and body more difficult – and less satisfying – that it needed to be.
I don’t like schedules because I always feel like I am playing catch up. Nevertheless, I now see I threw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. One does not need a schedule to have a semblance of order – or rhythm (a word I like better) – to the day.
Some days, I know I will not get to all the tasks on my to-do list, and I am okay with that. My goal isn’t to accomplish them all. My to-list is in place solely as a guidepost for my day not as a dictator who must be heeded at all cost.
Daily, I strive to do my best, and I am content at the end of my day having done just that.
Balance makes me happy!