One (small?) change

My happiness project has stalled out a bit, and I'm trying to take another look and see what's working and what isn't. 

Working on so many different resolutions is definitely not working.  I have a hard time just deciding on one thing to do each month.  By that logic, I thought I'd never get to most of them!  So I chose one for each arena of my life, which ended up being eight different ones for each month.  Am I crazy?  Yes.  Yes, I am.  Acknowledging the insanity and moving on.

I put the eight categories into a table, typed the specific resolutions for each one into the boxes, and put a smile in the box next to the day of the month if I worked on that particular goal.  At the end of the month, if I feel I didn't do a good job on that resolution, I repeat it for the next month, and try to figure out why it didn't work. 

For example, I made a resolution to play with my cats more because they seem a bit perplexed and unloved, both standoffish and needy, ever since The Baby arrived.  Now that he is The Toddler, they are even more wary of being in the same room with us until he goes to sleep.  So I felt like a bad parent and wanted to play with them more instead of just shooing them off the bed and collapsing into it.  After an entire month, I had only done it twice.  TWICE.  I know, you want to adopt my cats because you are now sure I am no good for them.  But they do play with each other, so it's not like I'm making them live alone in a dark closet.  A little sympathy?  Ok, I know, you're still wondering what's wrong with me. 

Well, it turns out that what was wrong was that the toys are all upstairs, and usually I am with the cats downstairs at the end of the day.  By the time I go upstairs, I'm getting ready for bed and don't feel like playing.  I'd moved their toys upstairs for a good reason - so The Toddler wouldn't get into them - but it was making it hard for me to keep my resolution at the end of a long, busy day.  So I made two changes: I moved a handful of cat toys downstairs and stored them out of Toddler reach, but still easy to grab.  I also head upstairs earlier each evening so I have some energy left for teasing cats with long strings (this is also great for helping me keep my get enough sleep resolution this month).

So I've discovered a deeper truth about myself and resolutions:  if there's any logistical barrier, however small, it will keep me from getting it done.  The key is to find ways to overcome these, and usually a small change makes a big difference.

Back to the problem of too many resolutions, well... I'm having a hard time giving up on that idea of working on more than one area of my life at once.  Maybe the key is just to eliminate a category or two.  Will this be another small change with a large effect?  I hope so.

Which aspect of my life is least important at the moment?  My career is certainly on the backburner, but the part of me that resists referring to myself as a stay-at-home mom won't allow me to delete this one, at least not this month.  So what else to cut out?  Here are my categories:  physical, emotional, intellectual, marital, parental, social, organizational, and career.  Perhaps I can combine some of these, at least for this month.

Thoughts welcome, and I'll think about it more and let you know what I've come up with.

*If you'd like to see my resolution chart or effective habits charts, feel free to leave a comment and I'll find a way to send them to you.


  1. Hmm, I can see why it would be hard to eliminate or combine the eight areas. Plus, they are all important for well-roundedness. I wonder if you can combine some and then rotate them every six months (or whatever timeframe seems appropriate).

    I can see where marital and parental would feel like permanent fixtures, but would suggest that everyone needs a "bee-cation" sometimes. I think in my own life (starting with your 8 categories), I would begin with marital, physical, intellectual, and organizational. That puts two "mental" categories in balance with two "physical" categories. Then next month I could work on emotional, parental, social, and career. I would need to rotate more frequently or risk getting stuck on just a few of them, trying to reach a conclusion.

    The reality is that I would be DOING things in each of the 8 areas every month, but only FOCUSING on a few for specific change, is that your message? I wonder if I can do this. Maybe I'll begin with emotional and physical by giving myself permission to delay the challenge until after December 4th and just muddling along until then :-)

  2. Wow - that is ambitious, but ... well, so smart to think about! I think all too often we put the management of our lives on the back burner. Wait - I'll restate. I think all too often *I* put the management of *MY* life on the back burner and let things flow.

    I agree with the last comment - that all have to be in play, but maybe you can choose to just focus on one or two at a time.

    Another thought is that maybe you need a "Me" day every so often - say once a month. A month where you are not set on focusing on your marriage, your child, your chores about the house and organizing, improving your mind or body or whatever. You know - one day or maybe even part of a day a month to just be you (I think this is like the be-cation the last person said) to remember who you are as a person - outside of lists and obligations.

    I've been feeling like I want a little vacation from my life for a little while now. I don't want to leave my life. I like my life. I just want a vacation from having to live it all at once! ;) It IS definitely important to remember who YOU are and to get to be that person sometimes. Then maybe your other priorities can get easier? Just a thought.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!