Sunday, January 08, 2012

Getting Happy in 2012

So BlogHer has asked me to answer a question on my little ol' blog here about what I plan to do to get Happy in 2012.

(Does anyone else have the the theme song to the Partridge Family in their head now? No? Just me? Well I will HAPPILY enjoy this little ear worm all on my own.)

As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor I spend a fair amount of time discussing the idea of being happy. I spend a lot of time working to help other people feel happier than they did when they first walked in to my office (hopefully).

As a wife and mother I spend a fair amount of my non-working time trying to assure that the people in my home are happy.

What I don't spend much time on is my personal happiness.

Like anyone else I think about what makes or would make me feel happy. However, I am much more likely to put my own get happy pursuits aside so that I can attend to the happiness pursuits of others.

The above mentioned practice can bite one in the butt from time to time.

In 2011 I was not particularly inclined to make up yet another set of resolutions or goals that I wasn't likely to keep. Of course I need to eat better , exercise more, be more patient, blah blah blah. I just was not feeling the self-improvement thing AT ALL.

I had decided to forgo resolutions in 2011.

Then I ha a manicure on January 1, 2011. It made me very happy.

So right then and there I decided my new years resolution was to have my nails done twice a month. Only resolution I have ever kept.

A couple of days after the start of 2012, I got the e-mail asking me to write a post on what I was going to do to get happy in 2012.

My first thought, "I have no idea, so can I have a different question please?"

Then, I let the question percolate for a bit. Spent some quality time thinking about when I am the most happy. That led to me thinking about the resolutions I had made for myself this year, and the one successful resolution I kept the previous year.

I based this year's resolution loosely on the success of keeping the one from the previous year. I kept the 2011 resolution because it because it was fun, relaxing, just for me, and made me feel happy.

I started thinking more about what makes me happy in general. This led to the realization that I am most happy when I am learning something. I love to learn. It makes me happy and fulfilled to gain new skills. Since finishing graduate school and working on building my career as a therapist I have spent a lot of time focusing my learning on how to continue to be a better and more effective therapist. I have a crazy long alphabet soup list of initials after my name showing off all the additional credentials I have earned since finishing my MA. After I finished the requirements for the most recent addition to my credential collection, I looked at that crazy long list, and decided that perhaps it was time to cool my jets on the credentials front for a while.

That idea sent me into a bit of a tailspin. I was like an academic Scarlett O'Hara after Rhett told her he was out of there. "Whatever will I do? What shall I learn? How am I supposed to be functioning without some big career/academic related goal looming in the distance?"

So being a good therapist I processed my thoughts and feelings for awhile, and finally hit on the idea that perhaps I could now focus on learning some things that were just for my own pleasure, and had no ties whatsoever to credentials, academics, or career.
All those things I have said for years that I would like to learn how to do.

Huh.

I really liked this line of thinking.

So I picked one. I wanted to learn how to be a better photographer and make use of the fancy camera I purchased for myself almost two years ago, and still use as though it was a disposable point and shoot.

I decided that was going to be my goal for the new year.

That initially was as far as I got. Y'know the holidays are busy, I kinda had a crappy month of December, blah blah blah.

Then a few days before the New Year, a friend posted on Facebook that he was going to do Project 365, which involves taking a picture every day for a year. He was challenging others to join him.

I thought about it for about 10 seconds and agreed right there in front of everyone on Facebook that I would take a picture every day in the year 2012 AND to sweeten the deal I would post those daily pictures on my blog!

After a moment of thinking, "Oh crap, I will NEVER keep up with this!" I shrugged off the negative and got really excited about the prospect. I felt...wait for it.....

HAPPY!

This was a fun resolution! I was going to love it! Hooray!

One week in and I am keeping up nicely. My goal for the first was to focus on just getting the picture taken every day. Soon I will move in to learning and trying out new photography skills and I am really enthused about the prospect!

So in a nutshell, to get happy in 2012 I am learning for just me, myself, and I.

I encourage all of you to process the thought, "What makes me truly feel happy?" Then take that newfound or just dusted off information and put it to good use.

I further encourage all of you to share your thoughts and plans in the comments section. See what other people are doing to get happy at the Life Well Lived Blog.

Oh and hey, if getting cool free stuff makes you happy, then I encourage you to hop on over to this link for the Blogher Life Well Lived Sweepstakes and register to win a Kindle Fire.

So this year strive to live up to the Partridge Family theme song and, "C'mon get haaaappppyyyy!"

For the ear worm? You're welcome.

1 comment:

Shari said...

I'm struggling with the same question. What makes me happy? Some of the problems I have answering the question relates to our girls' age. I miss being part of a board. I used to sit on a fundraising board and found great joy in it. Right now that would take more free time than I have since our girls are just 8. I know that's in my future, though. I think my 2012 resolution is to be outside more. We have a wonderufl garden that I didn't enjoy enough last year due to a construction project. I really missed that outside time. Also I'm going to research some smaller nonprofits that I can help with smaller time commitments.