Gretchen Rubin, author of the original book about a Happiness Project (The Happiness Project), posted last month about the advice for happiness that she doesn’t follow (The Happiness Project: 7 Ways I Violate Some Standard Happiness Advice.).
In the spirit of my new-found sense of community in the blogosphere, I was going to comment on her post. But as I drafted a comment in my mind, I realized it was rather longer than comment-length, and I decided to just go with a blog post.
Some of the advice that I don’t follow overlaps with Gretchen’s. I, too, can’t keep a gratitude journal, I don’t have date nights with my husband, and if I can swing it, I read when I eat (I spent every lunchtime during my early-20’s office-working life doing just that).
My two other really big ones:
1) I only sporadically get to bed at anything resembling a reasonable hour.
2) I turn on my computer during the day, even when the kids aren’t otherwise occupied (even though I know that things run more smoothly, I get more done, and everyone is happier if I leave the darned thing off until at least nap time).
Oh, and I also can’t seem to keep a regular exercise regimen. But while I enjoy regular exercise, I don’t know that it increases my happiness that much. I did better during the year I vowed to use the car only once a week. My daughter and I walked and rode public transit all over Salt Lake City (which, if you haven’t been here, is pretty hilly in parts). We got fresh air and sun and exercise in addition to the self-righteousness that came with waiting for the bus while single-passenger SUVs were idling in line at the drive-through coffee place mere steps away from the bus stop. It was exercise disguised as green living.
Maybe sneaking up on myself is the key. Perhaps if we stopped using electric lights as a way to reduce our energy use, I’d go to bed at a decent hour. Or as one commenter on Gretchen Rubin’s post explained, she kept a worry journal instead of a gratitude journal. Gradually it began highlighting all of the things that were going well in addition to all of the things causing her stress. (Like my “Awful Mom mantra.”)
What are some of the things that you are pretty sure will bring you happiness but that you just can’t bring yourself to do?