Spending a year trying to change my happiness level

introducing my year long happiness project

Up until quite recently the idea that I can change my happiness level was kind of alien to me. For a long time I thought happiness was an external thing, and we just had to be happy with our lot (no pun intended). I know there are always external influencers on our happiness that we have little to no control over. But now I also know that we do have control over the internal stuff. Things like our attitude, outlook, our actions and how we relate to other people. I think I was starting to realise this last year, and then reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project brought it all into focus. So now I’m really starting to think about how I can change my happiness, and starting a happiness project is helping my do that.

The happiness pie: Our happiness is 50% genetics; 40% our thoughts, actions and behaviour and 10% circumstances

Percentages of influencers on our happiness levels. In our control relates to our thoughts, actions and behaviours.

 

I can change my happiness

So yeah, if we look at the happiness pie above there are elements of genetic programming at work when it comes to our happiness levels. We all fall within a certain bracket of how happy we can be. Some of us are just more predisposed to pessimism and some to optimism. But there’s also a lot we can do to help ourselves reach our optimal level of happiness. The happiness pie says I can control 40% of my happiness influencers. If I work to change my actions, thoughts and behaviour I might just change how happy I am.

Why I’m doing a happiness project

As an INFJ I love a project, especially one that can make a difference. The J (judging) part of me gives me a predisposition for planning. So a happiness project, that has the potential to change my life for the better, stood out to me as something I would enjoy getting my teeth into.

I’m also a questioner (as defined by Gretchen Rubin’s 4 tendencies framework). I have been questioning what happiness is and looks like for me for years. Probably since I was able to put a label on happiness as a thing.

And, yeah, I know sometimes the hunt for happiness has the potential to actually make us less happy. As we struggle to define it, keep chasing after more and more happiness rather than being content in the moment. It’s a balance, like most things.

But, like I’ve said, I’ve felt I could be happier in my life for a long time. And I’m done not doing anything about it. This is a year of big changes for me (figuring out how to be a freelancer/what work makes me happy, training to be a yoga teacher, planning a move). It’s a year in which I want to make steps towards living the life I want. A life that will make me feel fulfilled and that I am contributing to the world in a way that brings me and others joy. Working on my happiness, and cultivating an awareness of what I can do to boost that seems to fit positively in this year plan.

After all, don’t we all just want to be happy?

My happiness project: the low down

Okay, so I’m following in Gretchen Rubin’s footsteps and doing a 12 month long happiness project. It runs from January to December 2017 and each month has a different theme.

Sidenote – if you’re planning your own happiness project you do NOT need to do it for a year. This length of commitment is not for everyone. It’s all about figuring out what will work for you.

Within each month’s theme I have given myself a set of resolutions to follow for that month. I’m keeping a happiness project journal to chart how I do.

 

My happiness project journal is helping me change my happiness level

My happiness project journal

 

I’ve also created my own set of commandments, which are like the rules I want to follow this year. If you’re interested to see what these are take a look at them here on the new Happiness Project section of the blog.

To happiness and beyond

So that’s my introduction to my happiness project and how I plan to try and change my happiness level this year. I’ll be blogging a lot about the journey, and would also love to hear about happiness projects any of you are doing. Don’t forget to subscribe over on the right hand side if you want to be kept up to date with new posts. And, for those eager to hear how January’s going  – I will be posting about that soon!

 

 

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

4 comments on “Spending a year trying to change my happiness level

  1. The one thing at a time commandment made me laugh. I may seriously consider tattooing this on me in some way: for positive things and for negative things, I tend to a) let things overwhelm me and b) actively bite off more than I can chew!

    Looking forward to seeing how your year goes 🙂 xx

    • So true that it’s about both positive and negative things. I also find it very hard to remember this when I’m in the middle of letting things overwhelm me/ when I’m stressing out about not getting me to-do list done. Perhaps tattoos are the way forward! I am also looking forward to seeing how the year goes xx

  2. I will be sure to follow your project as I’ve decided to commit to a year of happiness imroving myself. Blogging about is going to be a way of keeping myself accountable too! Have a great year!

    • Thank you Jenni, and it’s great to hear you’re also committing to improving your happiness this year. I hope it’s going well for you so far. I will check out your blog and wish you all the best with your happiness journey!

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