December’s resolution: Prepare

Be Prepared by calsidyrose

Be Prepared by calsidyrose

photo by: calsidyrose


  • Go to sleep earlier
  • De-clutter, clean, organize
  • See the whole thing
  • Establish routines
  • Think, commit and follow through
  • To do list.

These are my Happiness Project resolutions for December. I’ve put them into a small chart on my iphone to check them each night and measure my progress. The idea behind these six resolutions is ‘Prepare’. I used to think I was a spontaneous, impulsive person – and certainly I like doing spur-of-the-moment things – but I’ve found that the busier I’ve got the more I like to have my life organized and ready. I’ve gone back to following the routines and ideas at that I’ve used successfully before (not being a Born Organized sort of person, I do rather like the mollycoddling and positive testimonials). One of the tenements of the programme (because it is rather a 12-step programme for clutter addiction) is to go to bed early enough that you have the energy to tackle the things you need to do to make your life just run smoother. This is hard for me. One, I’m naturally a night owl although my kids are not. Two, it is a ton easier for me to get things done (like blog!) if I stay up later. Three, my medication has the effect of making me quite nocturnal. But I will fight on and prevail.

Declutter, clean and organize is the first step for preparation. We moved house a month or so ago but I was not actually here for the pack up and move (I was in Australia, as you do) and so I am decluttering on the other side of the move. Ideally, I want to get our ‘stuff’ right down to what is easy to maintain, find and actually use. I am reminded of that William Morris quote about keeping things only that you know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. I am doing about twenty minutes decluttering most days, and so far so good. Plus, it had the added advantage of meaning I had space to put decorations up early for Christmas.

See the whole thing is a reminder to myself to ensure I have the full picture before I panic or make rash decisions. Have I checked the cupboards for what I have before I make a pantry list? Have I given all the receipts and invoices to the accountant for him to work out our tax? Have I done the preparation to have a good idea what my next move should be? Have I checked the calendar before i book myself in?

Establish routines. I have discovered that just like babies like routines, I do too! At least for housework and bills and what not. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, and do that’s what I’m trying to do.

Think, commit and follow through. I say yes to a lot of stuff. Some of it, frankly, I shouldn’t. This resolution is to remind me to think about what I am saying I will do, the cost of that, the work needed etc. If I’m okay with that I will commit to it and then not procrastinate. I’m hoping, for one, I’ll say no to more things and the ones I do say yes to I’ll be more on the ball.

To do list I love to do lists. they make me feel in control and prepared for the day/week/month etc ahead. And yet I hardly remember to make one. So, each work day (and weekends where appropriate) I will make a list of my do-able tasks, and tick them off as I go.


The nine guiding principles to being Relly

neon no.9

neon no.9

  • Be Relly
  • Use it now
  • You can do anything in 15 minutes
  • Smile first
  • Act like I want to feel
  • Let it go
  • Get to the root of it
  • Think, commit, follow through
  • Make stuff

In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin thought about what she could do to improve her happiness in part through an understanding of herself – acknowledging her personality, strengths and weaknesses. She came up with 12 commandments that fitted her project – guiding principles for me, as I’m not one for commandments really – that allowed her to test and measure whether she was doing something that might make her happier. She aimed to tackle both the bad and the good aspects and to encourage growth and progress throughout.

These are mine. There are nine of them. some are directly taken from Gretchen’s list because they fitted me well – like Be Relly (although of course she went for ‘Be Gretchen’), Act like I want to feel, and Use it now (although hers is actually ‘spend out’, as in don’t save it for a rainy day: use your best stuff.). Others are sentiments that i could do with committing too and reminders of life lessons I’ve already learned and try to stick to.

I’ll write a bit more about each of these in time but I’m happy that I have them down. I’m thinking about making some funky subway art style print with them to hang in my office and remind me.


The Happiness Project


I am about a year behind everyone else, as ever, but I just read this amazing book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In it she spends a year exploring aspects of herself and commits to some resolutions that look at her personal happiness, as well as researching happiness on a bigger scale.

Recently she made a 30 second TV ad to demonstrate it:

It’s not just about kids or memories, or about any airy-fairy selfhelp bull shit while we are at it, but a conscious and imaginative exploration of taking oneself from content in an unthinking way to happy, aware and appreciative.

Throughout, she hopes that people will also embark on a similar process – and to that end she has also created the happiness project toolbox, a free site with ways of making yourself accountable and to meet with fellow happiness project subjects – she admits to becoming a ‘happiness bore’ such is the awareness she has to what creates and destroys a sense of happiness and well-being. I was about a third of the way through the book when I though, ‘hey, maybe I should do this’ and by halfway I was sold.

Tomorrow being the first of December, I figured why not jump in? It gives me a month run up on those dreaded January resolutions at any rate.