15 Oct AUGUST – Start a project
Start a project
Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive. This month’s resolution to induce more fun and pleasure in life was to start a project. Research shows that when you engage in a project, it leads to:
A boost in creativity
And the clincher…improved happiness.
In keeping with my commandments to ‘lighten up’ and ‘be a learner,’ I set this resolution in order to take the pressure off the busy work and uni related tasks I seem to gravitate towards and learn how to be more creative. It was my goal to begin a project, continue to work on it throughout the month and work towards completion. The drive behind this resolution was to ignite some creativity and feel a sense of fulfillment through admiring some handywork. Research shows that creativity relieves stress, increases and renews brain function, can help prevent Alzheimer’s, improves mood and cultivates a social life. I’m about as creative as a wooden board… As a teacher, we are often expected to create amazing pieces of art or wonderful displays. Nup! Not me! Well, in truth, that CAN be me, but I never opted to engage in such creative acts. In previous months of my happiness projects I had dabbled in cake making and decorating and I loved it. I loved using pinterest to formulate an idea, I loved the satisfaction of pulling that perfect cake out of the oven and moreover, I adored the look on peoples face as I plonked my masterpiece down in front of them. Additionally, I have this blog. This is definitely a creative outlet for me. I love taking notes throughout the month, working on my website, pinteresting eye catching graphics. But, I was already doing that. This month was about setting my eyes on new ways to be creative…
Following on from our wedding in March, I had received all our wedding photos back. It was a lurking task at the back of my mind that I wanted to make a photobook of all our top photos. I made it my goal to complete the photo book in time to gift them as presents at Christmas time. I downloaded the program for my computer, selected my favourite photos and began the task. The beauty of the app is that it does much of the work for you, although I still have the final say in the placement, size and scale of the photos. Everytime I logged onto the program I got so much joy out of reliving our wedding day. I would look over at Matt and smile, so proud of us and grateful that he was my husband. This project brought so much happiness with every minute I spent on it…
Other ideas I formulated for how to be creative was through a veggie patch. I had wanted a veggie patch for ages! I envisioned myself growing all the food I could ever need. I started pinteresting what plants grew during what months and devised how I would make it work. I ran this idea past my husband and a couple of weeks later, my in-laws turned up with the above ground veggie patch. We chose the plants we wanted and in they went. This is something I knew I would be proud of and could utilise in the future. I just had the keep the plants alive!!
For me, starting and maintaining a project proved challenging. Again, it all came down to time. In reality, I struggled to keep up with my creative outlet each day. The only project I ever appeared to have time for was this blog. I could tap away at it of a morning before work. Sometimes I was on such a roll, I would forgo the gym or a walk just to complete it. And in all honesty, I rarely got around to doing the photo book and when my veggie patch went in, it was my husband who was stuck tending to it! To combat these roadblocks in the future, I worked out that I needed some form of external motivation and method in place to ensure I kept up with the habit. I worked out that I had Wednesday and Friday nights free to pursue some kind of project. I timetabled ‘project time’ into my calendar (which I am mostly bound by) and set myself some deadlines. I decided I needed to have the photo book completed by the end of October and wrote reminders in my diary to water the veggie garden!
All in all, starting these projects proved effective, it was maintaining them that I found arduous. In upcoming months, I will realistically set about chipping away at them a couple of times a week. Even if only for 15 minutes at a time. A great strategy I listened to on Gretchen Rubin’s (the author of the Happiness Project) podcast ‘Happier,’ shared the analogy of the ‘coin rule.’ You never think you could get rich on gold coins, but if you collect one gold coin each day over a longer period, you will slowly increase your riches. By tackling my projects day by day, 15 minute blocks at a time, I was closer to riches than I would be otherwise. I thought it was worth the savings efforts…