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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The First Happiness Challenge

Forget your troubles, come on get happy, you better chase all your cares away...

Okay, so perhaps a simple ritual cannot bring complete internal peace, but it's worth jumping onto the happiness revolution and giving it a shot to make your world a slightly better place. Choose a simple action, one you can do at least once a week but preferably more, that brings you happiness. And make the time for it. Directions follow below if you want to join the list. I apologize if I missed you when I first made a call for the challenge--send it again by leaving a comment below:

1. Stirrup Queens (Melissa): Reading from 10:30--11 p.m. every night.
2. Clumsy Kisses (Rebecca): Write creatively in her journal every day and paint her nails once a week.
3. Flutter of Hope (Dianne): Morning coffee (and maybe another one)
4. Looking for 2 Lines (Lindsay): Ritual TBD
5. BagMomma (Shelli): Will keep a scented candle on her desk and light it once a day.
6. My Journey to Mommyhood (Courtney): Playing with her dogs.
7. Diagnosis Unexplained (Jenna Sais Quoi): Girls night out
8. Sticky Feet (Jamie): Eat breakfast every morning while she checks email and takes 15 minutes of "me" time before work.
9. Motherhood (Grad3): Ritual TBD
10. Road Blocks and Rollercoasters (Me): Reading a non-IF related book before bed.
11. Sticky Bean (Kirsten): Joined a gym and will be working out three times a week for at least 30 minutes.
12. Southern Infertility (Samantha): Going to get at least 7 and half hours of sleep a night for three nights during the workweek and 8 hours on the weekends.
13. Miss E's Musings (Ellen): Going to the library once a week.
14. Vacant Womb (A B): Bible study every day for 30 minutes.
15. My Many Blessings (Tina): Will create a post once a week that is an ode to what she has--Chris--vs. what she doesn't have. In other words, preserve happy memories. She is also going to do something special with Chris once a week.
16. All Things Deb (Deb): Will eat breakfast with her husband three times a week.
17. Waiting... (Sandra): Will play with her photography stuff at least one hour per week.
18. Creating Motherhood (Calliope): Will take herself out for coffee every Thursday.
19. A Someday Mom (Kim): Exercise every day for the entire month.
20. Reproductive Jeans (JJ): Going for a walk every day for the entire month.
21. Serenity Now (Serenity): Take a walk every day.
22. A Sibling for Celia (Shelby): Go for a walk 3 times a week and do something special with her daughter once a week.
23. Are We There Yet (Kami): Dancing a couple of times each week and taking a walk three times a week.
24. Dead Baby Jokes (Niobe): Ritual TBD
25. Are We There Yet (Teamwinks): Will take bubble baths.
26. Fortune Cookie Follies and Cats in the Cradle (Beagle): Communing with nature.
27. The Idle Mind of Beth (Beth): Knocking something off the to-do list before work (exercise, housework, bills, etc).
28. The Other Shoe (Joy Suzanne): Studying a new musical instrument and listening to one new song a day.
29. Taking the Statistical Bullet (Katie): Ritual TBD
30. TTC with DH... (Trying2007): Will have fresh flowers on her table all month.
31. Baby Step (Baby Step): Will walk her puppy every day (or take him to the dog park), swim or bike 4 times a week, and eat breakfast 3-4 times a week.
32. Baby Steps to Baby Shoes (BStBS): Will wear one of the many pairs of fabulously expensive and totally impractical designer shoes that she mostly just admires in the closet once a week.

Not on the list and want to join along? This is open to everyone in the infertility/pregnancy loss/adoption/assisted conception community--from first time readers to longstanding bloggers. Read the directions below and then send me an email ( or leave a comment to join along.

  • Think of a daily/weekly ritual that would make you happy--a place you like to visit, an activity you like to do, a person you like to see, a food you like to eat. The idea is to choose something that can be sustained over time (in other words, going to Tahiti, while nice, is not the best choice unless you have thousands to burn. And if you have thousands to burn, consider sending some to me care of my clinic). It should be something that doesn't create more problems for the future (for instance, eating sticks of butter even if butter-eating brings you joy). It should be something that you can do frequently--if not every day then at least three times a week.
  • Schedule this new ritual into your day. Literally place it in your planner or write a reminder to stick on the refrigerator. If you can't vacuum or prepare dinner one day, that's fine. But don't drop your ritual.
  • Write and tell me your ritual for the Challenge Post and send a link for your blog. If you don't have a blog, send me your name and the ritual. You don't need a blog to do this--I can post your response for you in the Annex. You can either leave a comment or email me directly. You can join now and set your ritual later. It just needs to be chosen by September 1.
  • Keep a running post about your ritual that you will publish on September 30th. Keep it in your draft folder, but add to it over time to talk about your ritual--how it makes you feel, whether or not it is bringing you happiness, whether you had to change your ritual mid-challenge, whether you'll keep at it indefinitely. If you don't have a blog, keep your thoughts on a Word document that you can send to me right before September 30th and I'll post it for you.
This Challenge runs from September 1--30 (there will be a new challenge running for the month of October and another for November), but if it's still bringing you happiness on September 30th, keep doing it indefinitely!


serenity said...

Can I join too?

My routine is TBD, but I'm sure I'll figure something out...

Reproductive Jeans said...

YES! I am joining..I am committing to walking every day of September--I have loved doing this in the past--its "me" time, and I need that--and it brings me joy--good tunes, a good walk=happy JJ=)

Sandra said...

I want to join too. I am still TBD.

calliope said...

just e-mailed you.
love this idea!

Kim said...

I'm in.

Since I'm on a break, my ritual will be exercise of some sort each day for the month of September (or try at least).

Kami said...

I do want to join. I am committing to dancing at least a couple of times / week and taking a walk 3 times a week. Both lift my spirits or at least even out negative emotions.

BTW, have you tried very dark chocolate for a chocolate fix? I find I don't need more than a few bites. Well, at least that used to be true . . . like any addiction eventually you need more to get the same high. Just a suggestion if you want to add chocolate without eating a whole bar.

serenity said...

I've got it - I'm with JJ on this. I'm going to take a walk every day.

niobe said...

I'm in. Well, I will be once I think of something that makes me happy.

BethH6703 said...

I'm in - searching for the "happiness fix" myself, so I might as well search with my blogging buddies!

I'm going to do something PRODUCTIVE every morning before work (might take weekends off, but we'll see) - be it exercise, housework, whatever.

I paid bills this morning and it drastically helped my funk. Something about starting the day by knocking something off the eternal To Do list...

TeamWinks said...

Ok, I'm in on this one. I am 100% more relaxed after a nice long bubble bath. Ahhh, now that sounds nice!

Joy Suzanne said...

I'm in. Have been working on this already so I have more than one. Here's a few of them: 1) Doing something I will never, ever be great at but enjoy. I'm studying a new musical instrument. Frees me to be really in the moment, focused and learning, but no pressure. I find a lot of comfort when I allow myself to not be brilliant at something. My lesson will be the weekly part, and my practicing in between can be (let's hope) daily.
2) Listen to music I have never heard before, at least one song a day. This is prying my mind open. It's doable online with music services like Napster that let me listen to anything I want for free. This is all music-focused since I'm a musician, but can be applied in other ways.

Katie said...

I still need to think of my ritual, but I would love to join up. I love how everyone else is doing wonderful things, like walking or exercising, while I was thinking. . . going to Starbuck's every day, baking cookies 3 x a week, etc. But then again, that's me! I will have something more healthy decided on by the 1st.

Shelby said...

Ok- here's my ritual:
go for a walk at least three times a week. It gets me away form my desk and gives me a break, which I desparately need.
I will also plan to do one special thing with my daughter each week. I used to take her to breakfast on weekends frequently, and we got out of the habbit. I want to start doing this again.

Sandra said...

My ritual will be to play with my photography stuff at least one hour per week. I love photography and just havent given myself the time to play with it lately

Tina said...

Yo, Mel! My ritual is now up.... ;)

Kristen said...

I finally figured out my routine! I joined a gym today so I am committing to work out 3x a week for 30 mins or more.

I think this will make me feel better about myself and while the rewards won't be instaneous, they will pay off majorly when I can buy a new "skinny" outfit :)

Baby Step said...

I hope it isn't too late to join! This is a GREAT idea, Mel.
I have a couple of things:

+Walk my puppy every day (or take him to the dog park)
+Swim or bike 4 times a week
+Eat breakfast 3-4 times a week (everyone says I have to eat breakfast!!!)

Baby Steps to Baby Shoes said...

Just wanted to say this is my second week of pulling those shoes out of the closet. And it truly does give me a big smile to look down at my GORGEOUS shoes! Plus, I feel like considerably less of a slob because great shoes often require a great outfit.