The book was very different than expected- I'm not sure exactly what I expected but I think I thought it would read more like a novel- but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing! The book was about the authors attempt at a year of finding happiness through focusing on different areas of her life each month. I really enjoyed the book and found a lot of what she did was applicable to things in my life. Although I haven't dedicated myself to laying out a plan and setting measurable goals, I have tackled a few things that she suggested. One thing was to de-clutter. In the book Gretchen de-cluttered her home, and was enthusiastic about helping others to de-clutter theirs. The weekend after I finished the book, Sean was in Havasu for a bachelor party, and so I decided I was going to de-clutter, spring clean, organize, whatever you want to call it! I moved from room to room, putting things in bags to donate, throw away, or in a couple instances, to put away in a box to hold onto, but that I didn't necessarily need hanging out in my drawers/shelves, etc. I went through my closet, my clothes drawers, the office, my bathroom (I had expired medicine, half used products, etc), the guest room, and our electronic cords and things. I still have more I want to go through - the kitchen, Sean's clothes (I'll have him do that so I don't get rid of anything he wants), the movie drawers, and the hallway closet)- but so far I've filled 4 large trash bags full of things to donate, and a couple trash bags full of things to throw away. At the same time, I've made more of an effort to put things away and maintain a clean house rather than having to do a huge cleaning because of things we left out. I must say that I am happier with the cleanliness and tidiness of our home, and that I actually know where things are now!
Also, like Gretchen did in her book, I tackled a nagging task. I finally hung up a picture my parents gave us, cleaned the microwave (it was pretty bad), hung my diploma in my home office, got an entry table for our home, filed away some papers, unpacked from Alaska, ordered some wedding photos to frame and put up in the house, make a CD for my mother-in-law with the photos (I know I'm only a year behind), and fixed a couple things like a broken ornament. I have a couple more tasks that I want to do like get some pictures framed and hung, but all in all, it feels good to have that done, and not have things laying around ready to get done.
One more thing that I thought about and made a conscious effort to make time for things I enjoy doing, but that are easy to overlook. One of these things is reading. I LOVE to read. I think that being in a book group will help motivate me. Another thing is doing the crossword puzzle. When I lived at home with my parents after college, my mom and I would do the LA Times crossword puzzle every morning together. I loved that! Getting up and working on it while having my morning coffee and breakfast. Sean and I don't have a newspaper subscription, but my mom had bought me a couple crossword books after I moved out (I think for Christmas), that have just been sitting on the shelf! When thinking about how I spend my time, I realized I watch a lot of TV. Shows that don't really mean anything in a meaningful way, except for entertainment, so I decided I would watch less and read and do the crossword more. That same weekend that I de-cluttered, I didn't turn the TV on once. 4 whole days! It was great, although I realized I had no idea what was going on in the real world. Since then, I've finished our next book club book (The Help, definitely a must read!), and have completed a handful of crossword puzzles in the mornings. Sean and I still enjoy watching TV and spending that time together, but it feels good to do these other things I like as well.
There are other principles from the book that I can apply to my life. I am very happy with my life and feel very blessed. Focusing on things that make you happy, can only make you happier! So..... what makes you happy?