I just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. If you haven’t heard of it or read it I recommend checking out her blog at www.happiness-project.com. I enjoyed reading about her year of exploring her own happiness and what happiness is/means and I appreciated how she combined research and her personal experience to make the book both real and substantial. One of the things that keeps running through my mind, is a thought that she repeats throughout the book. “The days are long but the years are short.” My translation – get off your butt and do IT now. What ever IT is.
Another thing I related to in the book was the effectiveness of her Resolutions Chart. She makes resolutions throughout the book and then checks in on whether she’s kept them. It’s her record keeping system for how she is doing on her Happiness Project. As a trainer and group leader, I have each participant in one of my groups do a version of this, it’s called a Commitment Sheet. It’s divided into 3 categories: health, career, and personal life and you can make one or more commitments in each area. They must be specific, measurable, actionable and ambitious. Each time that the group meets you check in as to how you did on your commitments. It’s a powerful and revealing process. It clarifies what it is that you want to accomplish, it keeps you accountable to doing what you say you are going to do, and it illuminates the areas in which you struggle. I relate with Rubin, when she sums up her experience over the Happiness Project year, on Pg. 287 she writes, “by the end of December, I’d realized that the most helpful aspect of my happiness project hadn’t been these resolutions, or the Four Splendid Truths I’d identified, or the science I’d learned, or all the high-minded books I’d read. The single most effective step for me had been to keep my Resolutions Chart.”
It’s absurdly simple, you’ve heard it before, so you think, ‘why should I actually write down what I want to accomplish? It’s not like I”m going to forget. I know what I want and what I need to do to get it.’ But you wouldn’t believe how easily you can talk yourself out of something. How easy it is to put it off, even it’s really important to you. Bottom line: figure out what you want, write it down, and post it where you can see it. It’s so simple – why not?