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Archive for April, 2012

Last November I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The book is about a woman who was over-stressed, found herself snapping at her children and husband too much and felt she just wasn’t as happy as she could be. She spent an entire year researching how people found happiness and developing and cultivating her own happiness. Through her research she found that founding father Benjamin Franklin was a patron saint of self-realization. In his Autobiography, he described how he designed his Virtues Chart as part of a “bold and arduous Project of arriving at moral Perfection.” He identified thirteen virtues he wanted to cultivate and made a chart with those virtues plotted against the days of the week. Each day, Benjamin Franklin would score himself on whether he practiced those thirteen virtues. I found this chart-keeping approach to monitor behavior very interesting. For several years I’ve been keeping a happiness journal, writing down something from my day that made me smile or feel joy. https://juliepeoplesclark.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/with-gratitude/ When the new year approached I decided to try my own accountability chart and not only focus on virtues but also on behaviors that I wanted to foster in myself.

My chart reads like this:

  • I will have a green smoothie or vegetable juice everyday.
  •  I will walk or dance at least 30 minutes everyday.
  • I will practice Bikram yoga 5 days a week.
  • I will meditate at least 30 minutes everyday.
  • I will consume no white sugar.
  • I will buy no new clothes.
  • No computer after 7 pm.
  • I will keep my accountability chart everyday.
  • I will write down at least one thing that made me happy each day.
  • I will not complain about anything, ever.
  • I will always remain positive.
  • I will write for my blog or work on my book every day.
  • I will speak only the truth.
  • I will let no one steal my peace.

Before I go to bed I get out my journal and write down each of my goals, giving myself a check mark if I have accomplished it and an x if I haven’t. I don’t judge myself if I have more x’s then checks on certain days that just the way some days work out. However, the chart has made me more aware of my goals during the day. I found that I was mindlessly eating white sugar, finding silly excuses not to meditate, buying clothes I didn’t need and telling little white lies to keep people happy. I have yet to have a day full of check marks and to be honest I am not sure that is my goal, I just wanted to be more aware of my behavior and how it effects my happiness.

Side note: My happiness statement still always includes something about Ella each day and I’ve noticed that everyday I’ve practice Bikram yoga I mention something about how the practice makes me happy. Guess I’m headed to the right place (Bikram Teacher Training) in 4 DAYS!

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