We all want to maximize our happiness. No matter what our expectations are – whether modest or grandiose – we all naturally make choices every day that either serve or detract from our instinct to be happy. So it’s important that we stay on top of what we need as individuals to be happy.
There are so many great books out there that are all about taking systematic approaches to optimizing the amount of happiness in your life. I’m a bit of a junkie when it comes to reading about how to make sure I’m tending enough to all the tiny facets of my heart and brain to feel whole. When I’m successful, I feel present, engaged and happy. Here’s the dilemma I run into:
When life is uncomplicated (never happens anymore, just for the record), I – in theory – have the time to be monitoring all your internal needs, and answer appropriately. Unfortunately – at least for me – when I have too much time on my hands I just panic that I’m not allocating each and every minute so that it works out to be the ideal proportionate equation of reading + writing + connecting + exercising + creating, etc. On the other hand, when life is too complicated (my typical MO), I rarely have time to stop and think about how I’m spending my time – it’s survival mode.
So whether you’re kind bored or balls-out busy, there’s something to be said for taking a systematic approach from time to time toward finding your optimal state of happiness. You’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process – and you’ll also start some great habits by carrying out this exercise. And at the end, you’ll have visual proof of your success!
Set Your Intentions Start by making your list of things you intend to address. You’ll also want to set a firm time period. Here’s my list:
1. Spend focused, uninterrupted time with my children. (No phone or Facebook!) 2. Read more. 3. Exercise every day. 4. Go on more dates with my husband, preferably of the dress-down, hiking variety. 5. Go deep on something. Find a way to have more than a surface understanding of something new. 6. Do things out of my comfort zone. 7. Continue paring down for a minimalist home. 8. Be better about making time to have meaningful dialog with family members – to many “I have to dash” phone calls. 9. Swim more – with kids and alone. 10. Go on nature hunts with my kids.
Create a Photo Book and Add Your Goals Set up your Mixbook photo book by choosing a theme. You can leave the actual page layouts to their default for now, but create some natural pacing with one chapter header for each of your goals, say every three or four pages of your photo book. To create your chapter headers, simply choose a layout template that has room for display type with or without a photograph. With your photo book in rough form, you’ll be motivated to start doing things and tracking your progress to fill out your book.
Take Action. Take Pictures. Take Notes. As you start carrying out your intentions, take photos and notes to create a journal to track your project. However you approach your intentions, make sure you track your successes as they’re happening so you look back and really appreciate what you accomplished. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate how far you’ve come – and motivate more progress – than creating a photo book that provides visual evidence of you doing what you need to do to be happy.
For even more ideas, check out this post. I’m a big believer in making resolutions –New Year’s or not!
Happy Mixbooking! Happy Happy!