A few years ago, I read the book, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. If you haven’t read it, I’d definitely recommend it. The author explores a new concept each month that contributes to her happiness. I decided that as part of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, I wanted to focus on my own happiness project. It’s not that I was unhappy, by any means, but I’ve always considered happiness to be a choice, and I wanted to be more proactive about finding the happiness in my life. I decided to use Ms. Rubin’s book as my guide, and focus on the one or two principles she outlines each month, and how they could be applied specifically to my life.
In addition, one of my other main goals this year was to strengthen my relationship with Jesus Christ by getting to know Him better. I decided to pair the two together, and add a spiritual element to my monthly focus by studying a different attribute of Christ each month.
In an effort to hold myself accountable, I’ll post a short summary at the end of each month and some things I learned. Here’s to a new year of increased happiness and wisdom gained.
January’s Focus: Vitality
- Go to sleep earlier
- Exercise and eat better
- Spiritual Focus: Faith in Jesus Christ
What I Learned:
- Focus on the Why
- As outlined above, one of my main focuses in January was being healthier. I was trying to get more sleep, eat better food, and exercise more consistently. In the beginning, the main reason behind these efforts was to lose weight. I wanted to be skinnier. But every time I’d obsessively step on the scale and see that number wasn’t decreasing, or worse, it was getting larger, I’d get so discouraged and frustrated that my efforts weren’t doing any good. And this cycle certainly wasn’t helping me increase my happiness. I knew I wanted to continue these efforts because I wanted to be better to my body, and I knew they were good for me. But I finally figured out that that needed to be my “why”. And that included having my husband hide the scale for awhile. I want to get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise consistently because it’s good for me, and the endorphins certainly don’t help either. When that became my why, I found myself excited to go to the gym, excited to fuel my body with good food. Trying to be healthy was in fact increasing my happiness.
- Faith over Fear
- Elder Uchtdorf and his wife spoke in a fireside a few weeks ago about having faith in God’s plan for us. He quoted Steve Jobs saying, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” I thought about this concept as I listened to a lesson on the Fall of Adam and Eve. Most of the lesson was focused on the “negative aspects” of the Fall. At the very end we talked about how because there was a Fall, there also had to be an atonement to makeup for those negative aspects. I realized, however, that the Fall and the atonement were never meant to be separate events. They were all part of a perfect blueprint of how things were supposed to work out for the benefit of men and women. The Fall allows for us to learn and grow and become. But, if we just focused on the painful aspects of the Fall, without the atonement, we would rightfully feel abandoned and neglected. However, that was never the plan. The atonement was ALWAYS meant to make us whole and to lift us up out of the negative aspects of the Fall. LIkewise, if we just focus on the trials or dark periods in our lives, it is easy to feel forgotten. But we have to remember that there is a perfect plan for each of our lives as well. There is purpose. Those moments can help us grow, learn, and become. And if we allow ourselves to exercise faith during our trials, we invite the atonement to enter our lives and help them turn into the plan that a loving Heavenly Father always intended.
What things have you done to help you feel more vitality in your life or help you have more faith in Jesus Christ? How have those things helped increase your overall sense of happiness?
Coming up in February: Love and Charity