I bought this journal in February and have been slowly working on it since then. The advice at the beginning is to progress slowly – doing maybe one chapter a month (there are 12). Since I started late, I haven’t exactly been following that guide, and instead did 2 tabs in the first month, half of one in the second and then had a massive gap until yesterday. I’m still in the third tab, but I’m nearly there.
The first section was devoted to gratitude, and involved finding things that you are grateful for and thinking up ways to express that gratitude. I had a plan for doing this, but only managed to get through one of my expressions of gratitude (a typed letter to a friend). I had another one planned, but I’m not sure if I’m still grateful for that. So I guess I should move onto the next one – baking a thankyou cake for my mum. Perhaps I can do this for Mothers’ Day next month.
The next section was about taking control. It involved planning my week and identifying what activities I’m doing that are no longer giving me pleasure or use, and I can cut out. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m throwing all housework out the window. But I planned an ideal week which made time for it, along with uni, work and exercise, but still left me with some down time (which is incredibly important to me. Without it I get a little overtired and emotional). For the first couple of weeks, I did try to follow this guide. But then my work roster started to get stuffed around a bit (the problems of having a different schedule each week) and I joined the committee of one of the clubs at uni, and that began to consume a lot of my time. So something had to suffer, and unfortunately, it was uni. I cannot function without enough chill time, which is what most people would have compromised in this situation, so my already scant uni timetable became a lot smaller.
Section 3 is about doing an attitude audit – the powers of optimism vs pessimism, and reducing the amount of things you worry about. The theme actually reminds me a bit of the serenity prayer –
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
By focusing on what worries you, the journal then asks you whether that will bother you in a months time or a year. And also, if you can do something about it. If you can, do it. If you can’t, why should you worry about it? Que sera, sera. And then reminds you, once again, how your attitude affects the outcome of events.
This chapter is one I really should pay attention to. I have a tendency to go into things with a negative outlook, and feel like I am doomed to fail (a phrase I have actually used several times in the last year). So, naturally, when it came to an example of an event where a pessimistic outlook had altered the course of things, I was rife with stories.
And so I really do want to try to change my attitude. So this month, my goal is to really put that into practise.
Another thing I love about completing this journal, aside from the self-discovery and exploration it provides, is the chance to decorate it. It’s kind of become a bit like a scrapbook of motivational quotes, inspiring photos and helpful tips for a few things I struggle with. I think this is perhaps where most of the time I spend working on it goes. In the picture above, the two pages on the right are ones I completed over the last 2 days, whereas the ones on the left are just a part of the happiness journal (the top left being the cover).
So basically, I get to participate in one of my hobbies at the same time as working on myself.