So, did you know that taking time for ourselves is a part of being a great parent?  Its true!  The more we get our needs met, the easier it is for us to deal with the roller coaster of raising kids. I'm sure that is backed up by research somewhere...  I know that I am a nicer mom when I have had time to exercise and a chance to hang out with my friends.  These are things I do for myself.

Another thing I have decided to do for myself is to join a book club at the Y called "The Happiness Project."  The club is based on a book by the same name written by Gretchen Rubin.  Gretchen spent a year making changes in her life with the goal of being happier.  Each chapter focuses on a different month and the authors goals and insights...  As a part of the book club, participants will decide on areas to focus on each month as well, discuss them and hold each other accountable.

This is right up my alley.  I love sharing and supporting other people in the journey towards a better life.  The author, in her effort to come up with her resolutions, found that there are some over-arching principles that guide her in the changes she wants to make.  She calls these her "12 Commandments" and she encourages her readers to come up with their own commandments before they begin the project.

I would like to share my commandments with you.

1.  Love who I am
I find it really easy to find fault with myself or to engage in negative self talk.  It is amazing how this sabotages my ability to be the best I can be.  I know that when I am feeling confident and good about myself I am doing my best work.

2.  Connections keep it real
Connecting with others, on a real, authentic level, results in more meaningful relationships.  I notice it also allows for people to be their best when they are feeling a solid connection to the people around them.  I know this is true not only for my children, but also my husband, my friends and co-workers.

3.  See good, be good
I am embarrassed to admit that I love some juicy gossip.  I recognize that this is not a good character trait.  I believe that if I work towards celebrating the good in people and circumstance, the good in me will come out too.

4.  No blame games
It is so much easier to blame others for the way I feel.  When I want to change my behavior, I often will come up with a million reasons why other people make it hard for me to achieve my desired outcome.  This leads right to my next commandment...

5. Change starts with me
I am the only one that can create change in my life.  Me.  Which leads to...

6.  Actively participate in reaching my dreams
There is a great quote that I have on my vision board (yes, I'm that kind of girl) that says, "I can take an active role in this situation and watch it become my truth, or I can wait, and see if it will happen because I want it to."  I love this!  I find it so empowering to believe that things don't happen by chance, but instead happen because we make  them happen.

7.  Celebrate gratitude
I am so blessed in so many ways.  It is high time that gratitude took center stage in my life.  I plan on creating a practice of gratitude.  Turning it into a habit that permeates the hours of my day.  I am grateful for so much and for so many...

8.  Let things go
Hell-o.  This will be tough for me because I really like to hang on - especially to negative emotions.  Over it.  I know that I am capable of practicing this, along with gratitude, and turning it into a habit.  Time to start.

9.  Get it done
Do you ever notice how easy it is to get a million things done when you make a list?  I am amazed by how easy it is to finish tasks and projects when you get to check them off a list.  Again, time to make this a habit.  It feels good to stay on top of things.  And its so much easer to be kind and available when you aren't thinking about all the things you have been putting off.

10.  Chill out
I can get really worked up over things.  Really.  Over things that in the grand scheme of things DO NOT MATTER!  Its time for me to train my brain to chill out.  How I make the people around me (my family) feel is so much more important than the fact that there are dishes in the sink.  Seriously.

11.  Believe in who I am and what I know
Maybe its my way of wanting to feel young, but I often try and convince myself that I am not ready to tackle challenges and that I don't know enough to take on bigger projects.  However, it turns out I can talk the talk and walk the walk and I am the only one that doesn't realize that.  I rule, time for me to recognize it.

12.  Work and play towards positive outcomes
I want to change the world.  My work allows me to lead people to a better understanding of themselves and their children, my play gives me the opportunity to connect with others and experience positive relationships.  I want to feel good about the time I spend interacting with others.

So there you go.  My 12 Commandments.  I don't know if these will change or stay the same.  This is what I have come up with for now.  Can you imagine how peaceful and positive my household with be if I can keep these things in mind?  I am going to have to post them all over the house to really engrain them into my brain.  I am so grateful to get to participate in creating my own Happiness Project (thank you Brianna :)) and I am so looking forward to how my participation will impact the lives of my family.

I challenge you to create your own Happiness Project.

:)

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