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Happiness and Self Discipline

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

So every year rather than set a New Years Resolution, I set a "theme" or topic that I plan to expand on for the coming year. This strategy has not helped me lose weight, but it has helped me achieve some other goals, like learning to cook, climbing a 14er, etc. I limit these goals to something fun/enriching that I can add into my life. The 2013 theme is "Happiness" and so far, a month in, it's been very interesting.

A friend loaned me the book "The Happiness Project", which I'm in the middle of. If you don't know about it, the author decides to take on a happiness project for one year, to learn about and increase her own happiness. I won't go too much into the book, but you should check it out for yourself, I recommend it. Anyway, this inspired me to learn more about happiness and take on my own happiness project to understand something that seems mysterious and illusive to me- and see if I could increase my own happiness in 2013.

The other day I watched this TED talk about Positive Psychology (important universe to learn about if you're going to study happiness):
(watch it!)

Which directed me to this website and it's series of questionnaires assessing personal happiness:

Over the last few days, I've completed most of the questionnaires. The results are not a surprise to me, but let's just say there's a lot of room for improving my levels of happiness and fulfillment in life, and Yay! that fits in with my 2013 theme- so all the better, right?

One thing that became a clear gap for me, in my (shall we say) happiness quotient is achievement and purpose in life. I could be more socially engaged, but these two issues trump the others for me. These are core issues I'm exploring right now, having left a job I was very unhappy in for many years, but not having a clear path or goal ahead of me.

Through taking these assessments and subsequent reading, I've got to be honest with myself and recognize that I'm not as resilient as I tend to believe myself to be and really lack in self discipline/structure. I am very resourceful, but I really struggle to impose structure for myself, follow through on plans unless I have made a commitment to someone else, develop meaningful goals and stick through them.

It's interesting because I think most people in my life would consider me a person who keeps her commitments, is reliable, there when they need me. But that's just it- I can do it for others - when I have made a commitment, in a job I can get it done to the nth degree; I'm very punctual, reliable, stable - but for myself... not so much. I can manage others or manage a project, but really struggle to manage for myself. This has many implications for my weight loss goals, of course, but also seems to be really impacting my ability to enjoy life in many areas. I see this structural problem as the higher problem of which my weight/eating issues are a major symptom.

Naturally, a fundamental part of achieving goals is self discipline. Lacking this critical skill is really coming through in my ability to plan, track, and keep on target with my Spark stuff. I food track inconsistently, stone cold fail at food planning, etc. I am pretty consistent with exercise- part of that is because I have determined that is part of my "Happiness" agenda.

So... now I'm going to discipline myself to food tracking, and weigh in. I'm going to be in bed by 11:30 with the goal of 10:30 by March. I'm also going to spend at least 15 minutes each morning journaling and/or making a to-do list. I've been walking consistently, but have been inconsistent about strength/cardio so here and now I'm committing to planning a calendar for the fridge with iphone reminders and making that schedule stick.

I really had no idea that my desire to develop more happiness would lead me to developing self discipline skills, but they appear to be fundamental in my case. Surprises are good! Please share any thoughts/tips you may have. Take care.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I really appreciated your post. I can relate to so many things you said. One thing you said made me think: why is it that we can follow through on something when we make a commitment to someone else, but we can't seem to make that same level of commitment to ourselves? We certainly deserve to benefit from the same level of energy and hard work that we would put into doing a job for another person. Just imagine what our existence would be like if we put ourselves on the top of that list. The possibilities are endless!
    I look forward to reading about your happiness project! Best wishes to you as you work toward achieving all your goals! emoticon emoticon
    1871 days ago
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