Tag Archives: happiness challenge

“I Put Off Making Difficult Phone Calls.”

2012 Happiness Challenge: For those of you following the 2012 Happiness Project Challenge, to make 2012 a happier year — and even if you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge — welcome! Each week, I post a video about some Pigeon of Discontent raised by a reader. Because, as much as we try to find the Bluebird of Happiness, we’re also plagued by the Pigeons of Discontent.

This week’s Pigeon of Discontent, suggested by a reader, is: “I put off making difficult phone calls.”

I Put Off Making Difficult Phone Calls.

 

If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…

Tips for making phone calls that you don’t want to make.

Personal productivity: 9 helpful but realistic tips.

6 tips for getting yourself to do something you don’t want to do.

Do you dread making phone calls as much as I sometimes do? What strategies have helped you to make those necessary calls?

You can post your own Pigeon of Discontent at any time; also, from time to time, I’ll make a special call for suggestions.

If you’re new, jump in right now, sign up here. Studies suggest that by taking action, like signing up for this challenge, will help you keep your resolutions. For the 2012 Challenge, each week I’ll post a video for you to consider, and you can check out the archives of videos here.

* I always find interesting things to read on the blog of Laura Vanderkam.

* Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel. To get the weekly video by email, right in your email in-box, you can:

— On the GretchenRubin channel page, after you subscribe, click “Edit Subscription” and check the box, “Email me for new uploads.” Or…

— Go to your main drop-down box, click “Subscriptions,” find the GretchenRubin channel, click “Edit Subscriptions,” and check “Email me for new uploads” there.

 


To get the audio podcast of the video:

— Log in to iTunes

— Go to “Podcasts”

— Search for “The Happiness Project.” Free, of course.

My Latest Resolution: Clean While I Cook.

I’ve cribbed some of my favorite resolutions from other people, and when a thoughtful reader posted that one of her resolutions is to “Clean while I cook,” I immediately decided to adopt that for my own.

“Clean while I cook” isn’t just about cooking, of course. It’s about cleaning up after myself along the way, instead of letting clutter and chores build up around me. I’ve always tried to push myself to behave this way, but for some reason, this formulation has really stuck in my mind.

For instance, I’m trying to follow “Clean while I cook” by also following the resolution to “Hang up clothes while I change clothes.” I tend to throw clothes all over the bedroom as I change from one outfit to another, and to leave them there for a few days, and it looks very messy. I’m trying to do a better job of putting clothes away as soon as I take them off. My husband sets a good example here: he always puts his clothes away. (Except his socks. He leaves his dirty socks on the floor, but because I get a strange sense of satisfaction from putting clothes in the hamper, this doesn’t bother me.)

One advantage of the “Clean while I cook” approach is that instead of tackling one large task, I handle many small tasks, as they arise. It’s all too easy to procrastinate with big tasks, and it feels much more manageable to cultivate the habit of doing smaller chores. As Anthony Trollope observed, “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”

It’s helpful, too, to think about the resolution to “Clean while I cook” in relationship to the cooking term mis-en-place.

Mis-en-place describes the preparation done before starting the actual cooking: gathering ingredients and implements, chopping, measuring, and all the rest. Mis-en-place is preparation, but it’s also a state of mind; mis-en-place means you have everything at the ready, with no need to run out to the store or begin a frantic search for a sifter. You’re truly ready to begin to work.

I find that when I make the effort to prepare properly, and then to clean up after myself as I go, tasks proceed much more smoothly. And almost nothing is more satisfying than working easily and well.

How about you? Do you push yourself to clean while you cook—literally or metaphorically? Does it make a difference?

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

* I’m having fun with the site Pinterest, which allows you to pin the images that interest you onto a board (get it? “pinterest”). Check out the site, check out my boards. If you’d like to get an invitation to join, just email me at gretchenrubin1@gretchenrubin.com, and I’ll send you one.

The Key to Happiness: Strong Relationships.

2011 Happiness Challenge: For those of you following the 2011 Happiness Project Challenge, to make 2011 a happier year — and even if you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge — welcome! Last month’s theme was Gratitude, and last week’s resolution was to Remember the dog that doesn’t bark. Did you try that resolution? Did it boost your happiness?

For the last month of this year, instead of tackling a theme, I’m going to discuss a question: What is the key to happiness? That’s a question that can be answered in different ways, depending on what framework you use to address the issue of happiness. The resolution for each week will reflect that week’s answer.

This week’s answer to the question, “What is the key to happiness?” is: Strong relationships.

Build Strong Relationships(1)

If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…
8 tips for maintaining friendships.
Bob Dylan helps me recognize a paradox of happiness.
8 tips for making friends.
Be happier: kiss more, hug more, touch more.

How about you? Do you agree that strong relationships are the key to happiness? What steps do you take to build or strengthen your ties to other people?

If you’re new, here’s information on the 2011 Happiness Challenge. It’s never too late to start! You’re not behind, jump in right now, sign up here. For the Challenge, each week I’ll post a video suggesting a resolution for you to consider. For more ideas for resolutions to try, check out the archives of videos here.

* I always love to visit Dan Pink’s blog. He is unfailingly interesting.

* My whole family loves Page-a-Day calendars, so it was a real thrill for me to do The Happiness Project Page-a-Day Calendar. Check it out!

What’s Your “Pigeon of Discontent”?

For the past few years, for the weekly video as part of the Happiness Challenge, I’ve proposed a resolution for your consideration—some concrete, manageable resolution to boost your happiness (at least, one that has boosted my happiness).

As I mentioned several weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about changing the format of the videos for 2012, and now I’ve decided that I will. Instead of proposing resolutions for you to consider as part of your own happiness project, I’m going to discuss “Pigeons of Discontent.”

Because, as much as we try to follow the Bluebird of Happiness, we’re also plagued by the Pigeon of Discontent. A Pigeon of Discontent isn’t a major happiness challenge, but rather, an ordinary problem that has settled into roost. For example: you never make it to the gym; you bicker with your kids each morning; your closet is a mess; you haven’t had time to read a book in months. The Happiness Challenge for 2012 will be the identification of these Pigeons, and the attempt to shoo them away.

At various times, such as today, I’ll ask readers to post comments about aspects of life that drag them down, and in the weekly videos, I’ll discuss them (I won’t give advice, but I’ll discuss).

So, to help me get started, if you have a readily identifiable “pigeon of discontent,” please post it here. I was fascinated to read people’s comments the last time I asked this question.

So: What’s your Pigeon of Discontent? What relatively small and ordinary issue drags down your happiness?

* Tomorrow is the last day of November, which means: time for the monthly newsletter! If you’d like to get it, sign up here. I highlight the best material from the blog and the Facebook Page. (It’s free, of course).

Remember the Dog That Doesn’t Bark.

2011 Happiness Challenge: For those of you following the 2011 Happiness Project Challenge, to make 2011 a happier year — and even if you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge — welcome! This month’s theme is Gratitude (I didn’t even consider the fact that Thanksgiving is coming up, very appropriate), and last week’s resolution was to Find gratitude cues in everyday life. Did you try that resolution? Did it boost your happiness?

This week’s resolution is to Remember the dog that doesn’t bark. (Spoiler alert: I talk about how Sherlock Holmes solves the crime described in “Silver Blaze”.)

Remember the dog that doesn’t bark.

If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…
Why a hurricane filled me with gratitude.
Gratitude journals, and the happiness of not having cancer.

If you’re new, here’s information on the 2011 Happiness Challenge. It’s never too late to start! You’re not behind, jump in right now, sign up here. For the Challenge, each week I’ll post a video suggesting a resolution for you to consider. For more ideas for resolutions to try, check out the archives of videos here.

How about you? Have you found ways to cultivate gratitude in your everyday life — and in particular, gratitude for things that didn‘t happen? I find it challenging.

* I had a lot of fun doing this interview about “What’s on my nightstand?” with Victoria Loustalot of The Pencil Box.

* Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel. To get the weekly video by email, right in your email in-box, you can:
— On the GretchenRubin channel page, after you subscribe, click “Edit Subscription” and check the box, “Email me for new uploads.” Or…
— Go to your main drop-down box, click “Subscriptions,” find the GretchenRubin channel, click “Edit Subscriptions,” and check “Email me for new uploads” there.


To get the audio podcast of the video:
— Log in to iTunes
— Go to “Podcasts”
— Search for “The Happiness Project.” Free, of course.