When I started planning the first month I had exactly the same barrier I had when starting the whole project; I can’t prioritise.
I made a list of things I wanted to try or improve, and ranked them in the same way as the Happiness Project goals; Causes Stress, Bigger Life and Fun! There was one idea that was clearly not a priority but all the rest tied in pairs.
Maybe part of the outcome of the project will be an improvement in how I prioritize. At this point I can’t even imagine what kind of effect that could have!
Some of the items on the list involve administration and research before I can even start with the activity. This kind of thing is a bit of a struggle for me because administration is so different to actually going for a walk or getting on the bike. It feels funny in my head to put the two things into the same block of time. As with the prioritizing issue, this is something I am aware of but don’t know how to solve…
I included a couple of things on the list that I wanted to try and thought might be fun. I also added an old collection of walking and cycle routes that I’ve had for years. I have always loved following a route on a walk, especially in a small group, pointing out sites, reading out facts and being the leader. Yes everyone follow me please.
I can’t say that I own sports equipment (although I suddenly remember I have some random badminton rackets somewhere) so the only thing I de-cluttered was the walking and cycling routes. If they are too far away or I am already very familiar with the route I haven’t kept them.
I went on a couple of walks alone and with friends, to the beach and in the woods. One involved a bit too much cake, but ok.
I booked and attended and yoga trial lesson, which was great and now I have joined the Thursday evening class. Whoo hoo!
I sent an email to enquire about swimming lessons. I got a reply a week or so later which I need to follow up on.
I choose to cycle more. Even if it’s cold or I’m tired or it’s raining.
I’ve been more consistently doing exercises to ease the tension I am storing in my neck (which then reaches my shoulders and down to my lower back causing discomfort and grumpiness).
Sustainable & Aspirational
Two weeks in I already realized that it’s simply not possible to do everything on the list within one month. During a check in we discussed which items should drop off the list. I’d already tried one of the two exercise videos. The reason I don’t do yoga at home is the same reason I don’t do any kind of exercise video at home; I’m not doing it right. I need to be corrected and to learn how to move properly. Part of the reason the new yoga class is so good is that she makes constant corrections to our postures.
Working out to videos at home is not aspirational to me. I’d rather be outside or at a class. I tried Zumba at home and doing a Zumba class still appeals, but if I have to choose between Zumba and swimming or Zumba and yoga, Zumba will lose every time. I’d rather just go dancing now and then.
In the end, I crossed 4 ideas off the list and that felt like a big deal.
Less lists and more action
The list is shorter now and there’s still some things to do. This is the refined list in order of priority:
- Swimming lessons – I need to follow up on this.
- Yoga – this one I consider done!
- Weekend walks & cycling – the planning is done, I’ve made a start, now I just need to build a habit. The weather is changing so my timing isn’t great…
- Get my bike serviced – didn’t even start this except for looking up a phone number.
- Bending and stretching – this one is for building a habit and it’s a big struggle. My evenings are busy and my life is chaotic etc. etc…
- De-clutter the 4 crossed off items – give back the videos & delete the apps.
Stick to it
So far during October I face the same challenges as always;
- Over socializing and over booking on weekends and evenings which leads to:
- Tiredness (and frustration!)
- Prioritizing within the time I do have. I still feel overwhelmed with ideas and small ambitions and niggling tasks. Focussing on one goal is easier in some ways. It also makes me worry about everything that isn’t being tackled.
- General stasis, fear and resistance to change. Nice.
This is my Happiness Project task list:
- Follow up on swimming lessons
- Allocate time for walks & cycling
- Get my bike serviced
- Create a sustainable time slot to form a bending and stretching habit
- De-clutter more thoroughly
- I will not make any more social commitments. The rest of the month is already bursting with appointments!
- Plan my time.
- De-clutter, consolidate and prioritize all of the information to define task lists.
- Get some more rest and do nothing. I am not lazy. Sometimes I am just too tired.
- Let it go. Everything is fine! Everything that needs to be done is getting done. This is simply life enhancement.
Co-founder, The Clean Sheet