Category Archives: Happiness Challenge

My quest to thrive.

Something has been weighing on my mind ever since I saw my daughter mimicking my actions.

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Our kids are watching. Everything.

Now, you may be thinking, “Well, duh, I know that.” Follow me here a second. Our kids are watching. They notice when we do good habits. They notice when we do our bad habits. They repeat our actions and our words. For this reason, it’s super important to do something:

Take care of ourselves.

As I’m sitting at Starbucks, listening to The Chalene Show, she began talking about how important it is for us to take care of ourselves first. She states,

“…if I want my kids to thrive, they have to see what it means to thrive. They need to see me exercise and they need to see me being happy. They need to see me in a committed, happy, loving relationship with their father. They need to see me enjoying time with my friends. They need to see me having peace when my work is done. They need to see by me role modeling that I am enough. They need to see peace so that they can have peace. They need to know that I value myself if they’re ever going to value themselves.”

This stopped me in my tracks. I asked myself immediately, “Does my daughter see me thriving?”

Sadly, the answer is no. She sees me stumbling. She sees me trying for a few days then giving up. She sees me overweight and unhappy. She sees me cry. These things are not thriving. They are the opposite, and I would never want that for her.

So here is my game plan. Here’s how I’m going to motivate myself to be someone she sees thriving.

  1. I am going to stop drinking. Period. For the foreseeable future. Drinking limits me in many ways and I’m really starting to hate the woman I am when I’ve been drinking. This is the key to the rest of the list. It’s also the hardest because my fiancé is a drinker. I am committing to following The 30 Day Solution.
  2. I will continue exercising every day. If it means getting up early, I will. I will just start daily. On those days I don’t want to, I’ll go 10 minutes and that’s it. But I will start.
  3. I will continue to follow my meal plan and prep. A healthy body helps me feel better mentally. I’ve done good in this area, minus the drinking.
  4. I will do something daily that is just for me. Read a book. Take 20 minutes to meditate. Something that is just for me and my mental health. Every single day.

This is in writing now. I can’t take it back. I believe if I do these four things, I will begin to thrive and my daughter will see her mother being a strong, passionate, thriving woman. And in time, that is what my daughter will become.

Reflections on Day 5

Today’s challenge is to meditate for 5 minutes. Want to know the truth? I don’t think I’m good at meditating. My mind wonders then I start remembering things I need to do and before I know it, I’m all agitated that I’ve stopped meditating! Today’s exercise was no different. I got through a minute before my mind wandered. I’m going to continue to meditate daily.  Maybe I’l get better at it. 

The three things I’m grateful for today are:

1. Time away from the house. I work at home most days, so when I go to the office, I really enjoy it. It’s nice to be around people and my coworkers/bosses treat me as an equal contributing member of the team. 

2. My daughter. Yes, I’ve already used her once, but seriously, she is the light of my life. Today, we went to dinner together and had a good time. Now if only she would listen to me when I tell her to sit down.

3. My Kindle Fire. I love it! I have so many books, many I can read over and over again! It’s so convenient! 

I did not do the other challenges today. Man, do I fail. I’ll start back up tomorrow. Promise!

As for reflections, I’m seeing the positivity. It’s changing my thoughts and my reactions. I really want to be different, to be better. I just hope this time, it sticks. I’ve got a lot of things that can keep me from being who I want to be if I let them. I must rise above. I have life left to live and I don’t want to continue to be unhappy. 

Peace. 

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Day 4 and The Compound Effect

This happiness challenge is going pretty well. I am already noticing a small change in my attitude! But I must be careful because I have a tendency to get really excited at first but fizzle really quickly. That’s where The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy comes into play.

“The Compound Effect is based on the principle that decisions shape your destiny. Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default.” – Amazon.com

I’m only on Chapter 2 but this book is making me think. I’ve never really thought about how small, mundane choices can greatly impact our lives in multiple ways. For example, having an alcoholic beverage every night has caused me to put on some weight I lost. Not only am I adding the extra calories, but because of the hangover the next morning, I don’t wake up and work out. Because I’m not working out, I don’t feel good. I feel fat, full, bloated. This puts me in a bad mood which creates problems with my boyfriend. The arguments make life difficult because we just fight all the time, sometimes about nothing! Contrast this to a year ago when I was steadily working out and I had cut all sugar out of my diet. I felt the best I had ever, ever felt. I also lost 30 lbs. in a month! The small, almost automatic decision to drink with my boyfriend has created issues I wouldn’t have thought about!

As I read on, I’ll let you know what I think. At the moment though, Darren Hardy’s anecdotes and stories while explaining his principles really make sense and they are simple enough to read. At least for me. The boyfriend thinks it’s dumb. But he also has a really, really poor attitude.

Happiness Challenge Day 4: Add 15 minutes of cardio to your day.

I did not add cardio; however, I did do yoga for the first time in a long, long time this morning. Unfortunately, my daughter kept me up all night last night so the idea of doing anything really active at 5:30 this morning just wasn’t going to happen. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Reach out to someone and praise them. Kim Lange always posts the right things on Facebook. Today, she posted an article about not comparing ourselves to other from MindBodyGreen. I’m always appreciative of it, so today, I posted a little note and told her. I think this counts, right? I think so.

One meaningful thing that has happened today. Proof that my attitude and spirit is changing. I exchanged something at Walmart today. The cashier made a mistake and gave me a gift card with double the amount I was owed. I could have taken it, and I would have gotten a shirt for free. But I thought about it. I believe in karma. And she could have gotten in trouble if her till was off. A few weeks ago, I would have taken the money. Today, I told her she had made a mistake and gave me too much. Maybe I’m a fool, but I felt better when I left the store.

Three things I’m grateful for: 

1. Sleep. I didn’t get much sleep last night and how I missed it! I missed my bed. Dealing with a toddler who doesn’t want to sleep and won’t let me sleep made me appreciate how much sleep means.

2. My mother. She always forgives me. Always helps me. I love her very much and I don’t tell her nearly enough.

3. Netflix! Okay, I’m going to be a little shallow, but I love that I have access to tons of TV shows and movies. My current marathon is Orange is the New Black. Check it out if you have the chance!

What is a small change that you have done in the past that ended up making your life better in the long run?

Does a 2 year old count?

I may have failed Day 3 of the Happiness Challenge.

Day 3 is “Reach out to someone you know and praise them.” I did not actively do this today. For some reason, I thought the challenge would be something similar to the last two days where I could come up with my answer after reflecting on the day. Day 3 is more proactive it seems. Not that it’s a problem, but I didn’t actively praise anyone today.

But I did praise my daughter. I praised her many times. Does a 2 year old count?

One of the two times that stick out in my mind is when she actually ate off her plate. She doesn’t eat very well for me. I don’t know if she’s just not hungry or if she just sees me as a playmate and won’t eat. Tonight, when I put food on the plate, I praised her very much when she ate! The other time is I told her she was beautiful. I tell her she’s beautiful every day wven when she’s fussy, kind of like she was today.

A not-so happy Brooklyn

Write down one meaningful thing that happened to you in the last 24 hours.

It’s not much, but I organized my blog yesterday and started writing down goals. It’s meaningful because I enjoyed it and it will help me grow as a human. It took me to a happy place.

Three things I am grateful for:

1. My toothbrush. I hate morning breath, so I am grateful to wake up every day and brush my teeth. I can’t do anything until I do that. It is refreshing.

2.  Air conditioning. I’m from Texas. It’s hot, and it’s only going to get hotter. I am very grateful for refuge from the heat.

3. The ability to read. This goes along with my education, but it’s more basic than that. Without the ability to read, I wouldn’t be able to learn. I wouldn’t be able to study. I wouldn’t be entertained. There are so many interesting things out there. There are so many illiterate people out there who can’t escape their mundane worlds to exciting places such as Middle Earth or Hogwarts.

I’m not very happy tonight. Some people got some laughs at my expense tonight when I wasn’t there to defend myself. It hurt because I go out of my way to help these people out. I’m actually pretty angry. But I’m not going to get even or say anything. I’ll continue to help. But it’s pretty sad when people get their kicks off making fun of others.

Pensive Thoughts

For the last 12 hours, I have been in a pensive mood. I have reflected on my life and I don’t like what I see. The path I’m on does not lead anywhere, but I fear I don’t have the strength to find a new one. To blaze a new path if you will. There are some options on the table, but I’m going to think very carefully about any action since I feel will affect the lives of Brooklyn, Jonathan, and me.

To continue on my path to happiness, however, here is my Day 2 challenge.

Write down one meaningful thing that has happened to you in the last 24 hours.

The impetus for my deep thoughts about life is due to something that happened last night. After we put B to sleep, we decided to have a few drinks. Between the wine and vodka, I got pretty buzzed. Not drunk, but I wouldn’t have been able to drive had it been needed. I’m not proud of this by any means; it’s just an integral part to what happens. Then, B woke up. She did not want to sleep because she had taken a 5 hour nap during the day (big mistake, but that’s another story). However, she needed to go to bed. I decided to lay down with her in hopes that she would fall asleep. We then had a very tender, meaningful moment:

She curled up beside me, put my arm around her, and gave me a kiss.

So simple. Something she’s done a million times. But at that moment, I realized that I really, really need to do things different. For her. For me. For my relationship. I’m not happy and drinking is no longer fun. I’m not sure what is going to be different at the moment because I want it to be lasting. But I’m sure I’ll detail my journey here.

Three things I’m grateful for:

1. I’m grateful to be a citizen of the USA. We aren’t perfect, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. America has beauty in its land and in its people. It’s just our celebrities and politicians that are ridiculous.

2. I’m grateful for my computer. It’s a window to the outside world. An escape. And it keeps me sane.

3. I’m grateful for arts and crafts. I love painting and I’ve passed that love along to my daughter.  We had a great time today playing with the paints.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the great Dr. Seuss, one I will be embracing this week:

You’re off to great places
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So get on your way! – Oh the Places You’ll Go!

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Happy Is As Happy Does

What is happiness?

That’s a question I find myself asking a lot, and I feel that if I have to ask, then I’m not really happy. But then I wonder why. I am actually very blessed. I have a beautiful little girl who is growing up so quickly. I have a boyfriend who loves and supports me. I really enjoy my job. I need to stop thinking of the things I don’t have and focus on what I do.

On Pinterest, I found a 30-Day Happiness Challenge by PopSugar. For the next 30 days, I will log in and document my challenge on this blog. My hope is that at the end of the 30 days, I won’t have to think about what makes me happy and I’ll just BE happy. It’s so simple, right? Being happy? It should be anyway. I feel that our society trains us to be miserable – to keep up with the Joneses and if we aren’t ahead, we are miserable. As a result, we work harder which keeps us from our family and friends, and our mental health suffers. So does our physical health. We get stressed and sick which further keeps us from being happy. It’s a vicious cycle when really we should have just been happy to begin with. I’m 30 years old. I don’t know how much time I have left on this Earth, but I don’t want to spend it miserable. It’s time to learn how to be happy. For real, this time!

Day 1.

Name three things you are grateful for when you wake up.

1. My dear sweet Brooklyn. She drives me crazy at times, but no one on Earth has ever brought me as much joy as this sweet little toddler has.

2. My education. I feel like I have been blessed to have studied the things I have and to have the ability to learn more as I live.

3. My job. My job is awesome. Enough said.

Those three things are very integral to who I am. What are you grateful for?