the sixth month

It is the second night of the 6th month of this project and I am just now sitting down to write out my post. First of all, I made it to the halfway point! What a wonderful treat. As a refresher, I created a 12-month plan to create more happiness in my life based on Gretchen Rubin’s best-selling novel, The Happiness Project. I like to think this project has given me peace when I needed it but mostly has made me aware of the impact my own choices have on my life. Happiness is relative, after all, and that may very well be the biggest lesson I learn.

Speaking of awareness, let’s get into the goals for June.

I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.  (Diane Sawyer)

The focus for the month of June is mindfulness. When I was digging back through the Happiness Project blog and my notes, I decided to search Twitter for “mindfulness”….this is a remnant from the day spent as an intern searching media coverage, but hey it worked. There are SO MANY tweets, blogs, quotes, programs, studios and bullet-pointed lists dedicated to the art of mindfulness. And when I say mindfulness in this sense, I’m speaking of the very broad category. There are sub-sections of mindfulness, where you focus on your body (yoga, what you eat) or your mind (meditation, prayer) or your reputation (awareness of relational situations) or any other situation in which a clear mind and sharp focus will increase your positive results or feedback.

Some websites even talked about scientific breakthroughs related to mindfulness, specifically the act of meditation. There is some proof that what is called Mindful-Based Cognitive Therapy is effective at treating depression and speeding healing time of major injuries. (This is the first month that my project seems to be backed by data and evidence – go me!) I tell you all of this to tell you that I am so thankful to remember, monthly, that I am not the only person in the world who struggles to notice and appreciate and take inventory on my life. Let’s pay attention in June:

1. keep a food diary
-well, it will begin on June 3rd considering today and yesterday were sort of glazed over. I’ll keep it as long as possible but at least until July 3rd (Promise!!). Studies have proven that if you write down your food intake, you will likely cut fatty foods or overeating out of your diet. And if nothing else, you’ll be aware of the bad stuff you’re eating! Being mindful of my choices will result in better ones daily.

2. identify my true rules
-this one is a little more complicated to explain, but basically, we all operate under concrete (subconscious) decisions daily. in June, I am going to attempt to identify (see: find a root cause) for my gut instincts. Sounds hard, huh? It’s not, once you think about it. For example, one of my true rules is SHOW UP. No matter what, if I have an obligation (verbal, written, strict, flexible, to people I like, to people I’ve never met, to someone who doesn’t care), I promise I will show up for them in at least some small way. I operate under more truths than just show up, but I’ll let you know the rest in July. 🙂

3. use my mind in a new way
-I took some time to think about this, and I can’t come up with a creative but not totally time-consuming new hobby that will use my mind in a new way. I will work on this throughout the weekend. In the meantime, if you have an idea for a new mind-enhancing hobby (puzzle, game, thinker-type project), please leave a comment and let me know: how do you use your mind?

4. meet deadlines
-as a new intern at a new job, this one is a no-brainer but I also mean in my personal life as well. I’ve noticed that working 8-5 has created some sort of procrastination Chelsie when it comes to housework or self-work (ahem, working out). Deadlines are deadlines and that includes everything from working out 4x a week to turning a project in on time.

June seems big, doesn’t it? This is a big month for the project. May was a little bit of a sidenote with this, considering all the changes, graduations, parties, etc. going on. I’m excited to dive into my new life — I have a new city, new home, new job, new friends and I think paying attention is going to be a great way to spend the first month here.

I am going to be mindful of my prayers and inner dialogue throughout the day. I figured this out in March with the goal of living with intention, but when I feel spiritually connected and in-touch, my day seems to have a calmer edge around the ups and downs.

If you’re reading this, whether it’s your first time or you’re a regular, please give me some feedback. It’s my halfway point, and while this is entirely for myself, I do like to know what you think or how you feel. I don’t want to lose steam and a little encouragement or at least acknowledgement of you faceless numbers that show up on my Stats page would be wonderful. How do you pay attention? How do you stay mindful?

I’m so grateful it’s summertime.

Xo,

CB

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