Recently you may have seen that I'll be dedicating 2018 to another Happiness Project, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book of the same name.
The premise is simple- for one whole year, each month has a theme dedicated to encouraging happiness in my life and under each theme are small regular tasks or goals that need to be completed daily or within that month, to hopefully bring me more Happiness. And more Happiness is never a bad thing.
It's incredibly simple, but incredibly rewarding, both personally and creatively.
This will be my 3rd year doing a Happiness Project but this will be the first time I share some of the details of what actually goes on behind the scenes. I want to document it for my own reference mainly but if it inspires anyone else, even better.
Today I want to share with you My 12 Commandments... the self prescribed rules of the road that you choose to help motivate and structure yourself over the forth coming year. Rubin has her own Commandments. These are mine. You can pick your own. They are a selection of my favourite ideas and current motivational tools that I think will help me over the next year so need to be personal and potent.
This is a standard commandment for anyone doing The Happiness Project based on Rubin's first commandment 'Be Gretchen'. It speaks for itself. This is my journey and can only be defined and taken by me. All I need to do is Be Myself.
Do the Minimum
Even on a difficult day, or if I'm sick or tired, as long as I do the very minimum I'm still making progress. That is good enough.
Action over Thinking
Think about it all you want, plan all you like, but action is all that matters. If you want to make a difference you don't need to think, you don't need to plan, but you do need to act.
Fail but Don't Quit
I'm expecting to fail a lot at the things I attempt. I'm taking that as a sign I'm trying and pushing outside my comfort zone, and that's a good thing. The only thing I must not do is quit. Quitting is terminal.
Share what You've learnt
Record my experiences and share it all freely. Only because it's a wonderful way to connect with others on their own pursuit of happiness.
Whether that's for help or to just say hello, simply connect more with other human beings. Say hello. Make eye contact. Be polite and kind. Be curious about others. I don't need to do this alone.
Don't just write it down. Spend time feeling the gratitude. Savour it. Feeling gratitude is more important and powerful then recording it.
Define your own rules
If something works for me, claim it. If it doesn't, discard it or change it. Do not waste any time working to other peoples rules or limitations. There's no point. Know yourself well enough to define your own rules.
Don't fix others
Lead by example. Do it first. Walk the walk. That's the only way you can really help others.
Use what you buy
If you buy something, use it within a week. Even if it's only once and then you sell it on. Just don't gather 'stuff'. Wear it. Try it. Play with it. Use it. Otherwise don't buy it.
Shortcuts shouldn't short change
Cutting corners is fine. But if they ruin the journey, what's the point? Sometimes the pleasure is in doing things properly.
Eat Your Frogs
Always, always, always do the most unpleasant task first. Get it over and done with. Be brave.
If you're making your own Commandments here are my tips on picking some:
- Read Gretchen Rubin's commandments and take inspiration from them and her tips.
- Keep a continuous log of inspiring quotes or bits of advice that grab your attention. I use a Pinterest board to collect mine.
- Sit with your commandments for a while. If something doesn't feel right, scrap it, rework it or try something else. There's no room for empty commandments. You have to believe in them.
- Look at other peoples lists of commandments. Does anything feel useful? Inspiring? I like Austin Kleon's ideas... you might prefer religious guidance.
- What kind of things do you want to achieve? What principles do you hold onto tightly? Who is the person you want to become after all this? What can you take from that and use?
- What do you want to avoid? What support do you need? What are your fears and concerns?What can you say to reassure yourself or offer guidance at the darkest moment?
- Write your commandments out and then simplify them to their core message. Only you need to know what they mean.
- Take inspiration from films, music, your heroes, your family, friends. Who are the happiest people you know? What wisdom can they share?