© 2012 jen

2012 Mission: Authentic Happiness

This time of year many of us are making New Year’s resolutions which can feel really fun at first.  Some goals are easier to achieve, but some goals really require making changes that can be challenging.  Our optimism for the new year can quickly become squelched by our inability to keep up with all of our resolutions.  Many of us can become so discouraged that we give up on all of our resolutions and feel defeated in the new year.  The reason this happens is that we try to change too many things all at once.  It takes at least 30 days to change a habit and it’s not realistic to think that you can change more than one thing at a time.  Attempting to do so in most cases is a set up for feelings of failure and then giving up on the new habit entirely.

If you want to make a big change in your life (or even a small change) it’s important to break down the change into smaller pieces that can be followed one step at a time, giving yourself time to form a habit before you begin the next change.  In a best case scenario you should have a support system to help you along the way, keeping you motivated and on track.  My friend Jena and I are working on an e-course called The Catalyst, which is designed to help you make a big change in your life with the steps and support to get there.  Sign up for our mailing list to learn more.

In the meantime, here’s a fun exercise to try . . . instead of trying to do more from the beginning of the year this year, how about taking some time to think about what makes you happy.  These would be things that you already have and already do.  Things that make you excited when you get up in the morning, bring out the twinkle in your eye, give you goose bumps or make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  The things that make you feel GREAT!  The more items you add to the list the more opportunities you have to really see and remember what makes you happy.  Try for 30 items, but if you come up with more all the better.

This list serves two purposes: 1). It’s an exercise in gratitude that is direct, simple and fun. 2). It’s a resource list that reveals many of the elements of happiness for you.  It’s the key to unlock the good stuff that makes you feel good.   A custom made chart of your happiness. It’s the perfect tool when you are in a really funky mood and want to get out of it.  You will have an entire list of things to remind you what will bring your sparkle back.  Maybe it’s not even a funk, it’s more of a “Meh” kind of feeling.  Increasing the items you do from your happiness list can help you get back to the YOU that is you. Ideally, if you can post this somewhere in your home or workplace.  Try to keep it somewhere that is accessible to you, because it can be a wonderful tool to get you back on track when you’re feeling down.

Another cool aspect of this technique is that you tend to find new elements to what you love and why you love them.  My biggest aha moment from doing this exercise was that I LOVE to sing.  Well, I already knew that, but what I didn’t know is why.  I really like the resonance that happens in my nasal cavity and throat.  Basically my entire face will start to vibrate when I hit a particularly good note and it feels great.  I think it’s the closest to purring that I’ll ever get.  It’s very calming to me and sort of energizing too, if you can imagine that.  The sound that comes out is satisfying, but not as much as the feeling of the singing itself.

How about you?  What makes you happy?  What are your aha moments?  Wishing you lots of happiness this year and always.

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 6, 2012 at 12:24 am | #

    Something I just realized about how I observe people in photos, is that I tend to look at their faces, when possible, more than the rest of the picture. I realized this when I was looking at a staff photo with a coworker, and they seemed to notice a lot of things about people’s posture or clothing that I apparently glossed over.

    I think I am a face gazer in general. It seems to be one of the things I like about people; just looking into their faces.

2 Trackbacks

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    […] had first envisioned my version of Jen Neitzel’s Authentic Happiness list as a fabric-covered bulletin board divided into thirty squares where I could pin or velcro […]

  2. By Staking My Claim: Swimming in Happy « swankydays on February 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    […] friend of mine, Jen Neitzel, posted a New Year’s project in January to help focus on the happy in your life.  She shared a picture of herself holding her […]