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Make One SMALL Resolution -- and Stick To It. Plus Videos!

Posted Jan 01 2010 12:49pm

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in -- no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

Yes, it’s that time again: time for New Year’s resolutions. Whether you make lots of resolutions, or none, try this exercise. Make one little resolution – something you know you can do. Like what? Jump every day. Sing in the morning. Make your bed.

When I started my happiness project, I asked myself, “What do I want less of in my life?” Among other things, I decided I wanted less yelling at my children in the morning, less nagging my husband, less feeling guilty about eating fake food. I also asked myself, “What do I want more of in my life?” I decided I wanted more being silly, more time imitating a spiritual master, more hugging and kissing in my family.

I made resolutions aimed at all these goals. I liked trying lots of resolutions at once, but for many people, it’s more effective to pick just one thing. And start small! One very small change can be enough to launch your happiness project.

Maybe you've resolved to quit smoking. That's a fantastic resolution, and very important -- and big. Also try doing something small. Think of one aspect of your life that could be working better. Figure out a concrete, small way to take a step toward a solution. Then keep that resolution.

If the idea of making resolutions appeals to you, consider signing up for the 2010 Happiness Challenge, to make 2010 a happier year. Each week, I’ll propose a specific, manageable, concrete resolution aimed at that month’s theme. Or you can come up with your own resolution, of course.

There’s something about the accountability of being part of a group (even an invisible group), and the enthusiasm that’s generated, that makes it easier to keep up the resolution-keeping momentum.

Drumroll…As part of keeping my own resolutions to Conquer a device and Try something novel and challenging, I’ve started a video series to accompany the 2010 Happiness Challenge. (I was very reluctant to have videos: didn't want to deal with it, didn't want to figure out how to post them, didn't want to have to worry about my appearance, didn't want to have to figure out what to say, didn't want to worry about having one each week, etc. Novelty and challenge bring happiness but, alas, are often paired initially with feelings of insecurity and frustration.) But here they are! Two two-minute videos to help get you started:

The introduction to 2010 Happiness Challenge:

Month One: Energy --- Week One: Get more sleep:

I’ll post a new short video every week, to help get you thinking. You can also check out the Happiness Project site on womansday.com for more information on starting a happiness project.

But whether you follow my suggestion or not, remember, pick something small and easy! Something you can really do.

I'm curious -- what are some resolutions (small or big) that people are undertaking for 2010?

* Speaking of happiness projects and resolutions, Robyn Okrant's book, Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk, comes out in a few days. We got acquainted because -- why else? We were both doing one-year "experiments in living," as Thoreau called it. Robyn spent a year following all of Oprah's advice, to see if it helped her "live her best life." I got my copy early, and I tore through it. Great stuff.

* I had a great time doing this Q and A with the Wall Street Journal's Katie Rosman.

* Interested in starting your own happiness project? If you’d like to take a look at my personal Resolutions Chart, for inspiration, just email me at gretchenrubin1 [at] gmail [.com] -- and don't forget the "1". (Sorry about writing it in that roundabout way; I’m trying to thwart spammers.) Just write “Resolutions Chart” in the subject line.

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