Happiness and Goals

My breakup in December really feels like a strong catalyst in my life. As I put my life back together afterward, I started wondering what I wanted it to be like. Being relatively new to Cleveland (at least living here as an adult), I didn’t have a lot that I was involved with. Especially because I was kind of lazy about putting down roots while I was with my ex.

All that has gotten me thinking a lot about who I am now and what I want to be like. How do I live the life I want? What makes me happy? What are my goals?

Sometimes, I get into these ruts where I just live very passively. I’ll spend my free time sitting on my couch devouring books or watching TV and not actively pursuing any of my goals. I’ll tell myself it’s because I’m busy or tired, but really I’m just being lazy.

I don’t want to live my life passively. I want to achieve my goals and dreams, but I can’t just sit around and wait for good things to fall into my lap.

I was recently reading one of Gretchen Rubin’s books on Happiness and it inspired me to take charge of my life and actively pursue my goals and dreams. Like her, I want to embark on a sort of Happiness Project. What she did, is spend an entire year focusing on being happy. Let me clarify one thing about happiness before I describe the project further. Happiness is not instant gratification. Happiness is something deeper- it involves both pleasure and meaning. Gretchen Rubin says in her book, “Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy.” I really identify with that statement and find it hard sometimes to do the things that will make me happy in the long term but might involve some effort or unhappiness in the short term.

In Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, she identified some goals and areas to focus on ahead of time- picking one major area per month and identifying smaller daily or weekly goals as well. It probably makes the most sense to begin in January, but I don’t want to wait that long, so mine will start on July 1st.

Here are my monthly goal areas:

July: Dating.

August: Exercise/Physical Health

September: New Friends

October: Self-Care/Mental Health

November: Writing

December: Family

January: Food

February: Work

March: House/Home

April: Creative Projects

May: Slow Down

June: Old Friends

I spent some time thinking about which goal area to go where, and had good reasoning for many of the areas. I’ll elaborate a little more on each as they come along throughout the year.

Let’s start with July. I picked dating first for a few reasons. First, I wanted to start with something fun. I thought about starting with exercise/health, but I knew that one would be particularly hard for me and I didn’t want my enthusiasm for this project to fizzle out before I’d even started. Additionally though, what I want more than anything else is to have a family- a loving, supportive partner and, eventually, children. Given that I’m single, dating seems like a good way to get there. Despite that, I find dating can be incredibly frustrating and depressing. The more unsuccessful dates I go on (unsuccessful being either me and/or the other person not wanting to move forward to date 2), the more I’m convinced I’m going to end up alone forever. This is, obviously, catastrophizing, but it still feels pretty shitty.

I think framing dating as a goal will help me focus on it in a more fun way. I’d like to daily check dating websites and go on at least one date each week in the month of July. I want to revamp my dating profiles and be enthusiastic about dating. But I also want to learn to trust myself. I have a bad habit of going on second dates with people I’m not interested in, because I find it hard to say no and I convince myself to give them another chance even if I really know I’m not interested. There’s no point in wasting the time or effort.

So goals for July:

-Revamp dating profiles

-Be enthusiastic

-Trust yourself

-Daily: check dating websites

-Weekly: go on at least one date

I’m excited to embark on this project and bring more overall happiness to my life!

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