In Progress

January: Launching My Personal Happiness Project

Happy New Year!  

What a happy day it is for me, because even though it’s just another day, that psychological effect of knowing it’s a “new year” has me feeling like the slate is wiped clean.

A clean slate was needed here at The Borrowed Abode, because though 2012 was a year of great joys – welcoming my brother’s beautiful new son, welcoming a best friend’s new baby, getting married (truly the best day of my life), spending more time with family and friends, and seeing my shop succeed – it was also a year of inadequacies.  The house got messier, half-finished projects stacked up, and I consistently felt like I was failing as a blogger and a homemaker.

Enter some much-needed inspiration with which to welcome the new year:  The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.  I received it for Christmas and I am finding it so inspiring, even though I already consider myself a happy person.

The Happiness Project chronicles the author’s year-long journey to seek a happier life.  I had a major light bulb moment while reading through the first chapter of her journey – January.  Two things spoke to me:  clearing clutter and “getting things done.”  I’m good at clearing clutter, but not good at the latter.

She discusses how completing those nagging-at-the-back-of-your-mind tasks can do wonders for your happiness. Running little errands you’ve put off.  Finishing tasks you started and then abandoned.  Taking that extra 30 seconds to hang your coat up instead of slinging it over the back of a chair.

As soon as I read this chapter I knew what I had to do.

January Goals 2013 | The Borrowed Abode

Why is clearing the clutter so important?  The less junk you have, the easier it is to keep your home clean.  I used to think having tons of clothes and underwear and linens was great – longer time to wait before doing laundry, right?  While that’s technically true, it also means that when you do run out of clean stuff, you’re facing towers of dirty laundry that could take days to wash, dry, and put away.  For the last few months Ryan and I have been trying to make more room at the abode, but this past week we became much more ruthless in pairing down.

Because Ryan and I spent the last week clearing the clutter, we are ready to move on to the second big goal: 

Finish Abandoned Tasks. 

Oh my.  The list, in my head, of abandoned tasks is something that truly eats away at my happiness on a daily basis.  Finishing the guest room.  Framing and hanging art.  Touching up paint on the walls.  Reupholstering chairs.

Not all of my “abandoned tasks” are home decor related.  Some are blog-related.  There are wedding DIY posts I want to share, but have not because I’m embarrassed that the wedding was 6 months ago.

I’m throwing fear of rejection to the wind, and I’m  going to write those blog posts anyway.  I need to do it to clear my mind.

Now raise your hand if you’re in a similar boat.  Who wants to join me in making January the Month of Getting Things Done? 


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  • Reply Julia at 12:15 pm

    I just checked this out on my Kindle (hooray for libraries getting e-books here) – and am looking forward to knocking it out. I’m interested to here what Ms. Rubin has to say. Happy New Year! J

  • Reply Stacy at 12:21 pm

    I think this sounds like a marvelous idea! I have a few unfinished projects haunting me as well…now to get my husband on board!

    • Reply Jane at 8:25 am

      Stacy, DO IT! 😀 I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  • Reply Lindsey at 10:08 pm

    Truth: I read your post this morning and got my butt into gear. I purge pretty regularly but managed to purge/clean my entire house today – two car fulls to charity. Feels awesome! I have a terribly long, scary list of backlogged projects but I’ve already crossed two off! I have them out (front and center) and am going to work on them in my free time this month. I love love that you posted this. And I do believe I will be checking out happiness project tomorrow from the library! Also, your wedding tutorials…bring ’em on!

    • Reply Jane at 8:25 am

      Ok, Lindsey, can I tell you just how much you made my morning when I read this comment? That is so freakin’ awesome that you purged the whole house. I’m so happy I helped inspire you! I feel like it’s so much easier to tackle those nagging tasks when you have a support group. Ok, anything annoying in life is probably easier that way, but anyway – that’s part of why I shared it. I hope you pop in to share an update later this month! Now I’m off to write those darn wedding posts . . . 🙂

  • Reply Samantha at 12:48 pm

    I am so glad you are loving Gretchen’s book! I picked it up from the library last spring and have seen great results just putting a few of her ideas into practice in my life, like the One-Minute Rule and Remembering Friends’ Birthdays. Not too long ago I decided to purchase the book so that I can always have it on hand and now I am working on planning out My Happiness Project to be completed over the course of this year. Only January and February have been planned out completely so far. Although, I like how Gretchen categorized her goals by month, I have created seven categories that are important to me and have one goal in each of those categories for each month. I hope you find the rest of The Happiness Project to be as wonderful as you have found the first chapter. And, I hope you blog about your goals for the rest of the year!

    • Reply Jane at 9:24 am

      Hi Samantha, isn’t it an awesome book? That’s exciting that you’re officially planning a happiness project year for yourself. I think I’ll just set a goal or two each month, but I do love the idea of a checklist where you make an X for each day you work on the goal. Good luck with your project, and I’ll definitely blog about my goals all year! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  • Reply Aurora at 4:12 pm

    Truth. My room is the messiest it’s ever been, and I consider it a direct reflection of my mental state. Such a longass list I’ve had of things to do with it, but never get myself to do and now I actually dread my room. Sucks!

    • Reply Jane at 9:23 am

      Aurora, I so agree with you. When my spaces are messy, they totally reflect my state of mind. Don’t dread your room, though – what if you just take 15 minutes a day to make a dent? Then when the 15 are up, you’re off the hook for the day, and you don’t have to feel guilty about stopping?

  • Reply Robin at 6:56 pm

    I love that book! I think monthly goals are a great way to frame the year, get things accomplished, and feeling like you’re actually getting somewhere with your “resolutions”. I just read an interesting article on ‘de-owning’ rather than ‘de-cluttering’. The article is here in case you want to read it: . Good luck on your January projects! I can’t wait to hear how it goes! 🙂

    • Reply Jane at 9:22 am

      Robin, thanks for sharing that great link. What a great phrase – “de-owning.” Happy New Year!

  • Reply Skooks at 11:31 pm

    Oh Jane – you read my mind girl. I was out of town for the last week, so I spent the whole day taking all the Christmas decor down and coming up with a game plan for de-cluttering and getting stuff done. I, too, have some blog posts that have just never been done (Christmas-related, no less . . . will anyone still care??) . . . we’ll see how much I can get done between returning to work and the 3 kiddos. Mind over matter, right?!

    • Reply Jane at 9:22 am

      Hey you 🙂 I say, if you want to do the Christmas-related posts, do them for yourself. That way you don’t have them nagging at you. I know that I personally will still “pin” something or read it if I want to remember it for next year! Mind over matter, onwards and upwards! 🙂

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  • Reply Brenda K at 8:18 pm

    Such a timely post, and what a wonderful idea! My hand is up – I’m in!

    Given my predilection for open space, austere design aesthetic and claustrophobic intolerance for crampedness, clutter is the bane of my life, and unfortunately it constantly overruns my life and drives me mad, and I have not yet arrived at an effective strategy for thwarting its relentless invasion of my home.

    I am currently in the process of sorting out my “office room”, since that is the place that clutter and disorganization tends to accumulate where it critically impairs my ability to function. Abandoned projects? God! That’s another source of serious angst and more clutter. I’ll have to take a ruthless look at the ones that make the most sense to finish, and finish them, and then decide which ones to just let go and get rid of.

    Since I started exercising again for the first time in over a decade back in October, I now have the energy and drive to take this on.

    REALLY looking forward to following along with this, and I’m *especially* ready for it now after having gone into total revolt against administrative stuff for at least the past month or so, giving rise to a worse-than-usual pile of sh*t to have to clear away! I’ll be sure to add that book to my “wish list” too. Sounds like I really need it 🙂

    • Reply Jane at 9:04 am

      So glad you’re joining in! It’s so much more enjoyable (ok, maybe that’s too optimistic of a word, but you know what I mean) to have other people playing along on these goals. My friend Robin recommended this post in her comment, and it was wonderful – so here it is if you need some extra decluttering inspiration.

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  • Reply kalanicut at 4:44 pm

    I am so excited to follow your journey this year. I love your inspiration for this month. I am dying to create a little more space for the three of us here. Since we are eligible to get a very inexpensive storage unit right now, I decided it’s time to move all my long-term storage and any art, small furniture, etc we aren’t using out of the apartment. And of course I’m taking anything we don’t need to the thrift store or selling it. I think it will make a huge difference. After emptying just one closet of storage I am stunned at how much stuff I can get out of here. So exciting. Thanks for the inspiration to keep going. 🙂

    • Reply Jane at 10:33 am

      Sweet! Glad to hear you’re seeing a difference! Just mentally knowing that my goal for this month is to work on unfinished tasks has been so powerful already. I think I may extend it into February because I’m finally getting some nagging things done!

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