Back in November, I listened to Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast episode about The Essential 7, basically categories of habits that we can develop to become happier. She suggested trying to develop one habit in each of the seven categories, so I tried it to see if I could grow new habits before the end of the year to be happier.
Take a look back at my post 7 Essential Habits for Happiness to see my habit goals.
Here I’ll review the category, my habit I wanted to establish, and how I did:
1. Eat and drink more healthfully
By having to plan my indulgences, I made sure my sweet treats were worth it and I truly enjoyed each and every bite. On Thanksgiving, we had pumpkin and pecan pie. I don’t really like either of those so I just didn’t eat it. And it was my plan to get pies I don’t care for because I knew I couldn’t actually enjoy it after such a large meal anyway.
Around Thanksgiving, I started thinking about training for a bikini competition, so I definitely reigned in my diet, then once I started working with my trainer, I tried to follow the meal plan really closely so I brought my own food to a Christmas party, and then only had ½ a cranberry bar when we visited Minnesota for Christmas. Part of me wanted to give in and eat more treats, but I know if I had not had this goal, I definitely would have gone overboard with the abundance of treats available around the holidays.
2. Exercise regularly
Take 1 fitness class each week.
Having this goal forced me to take some me-time and I SO enjoyed it.
In addition to my usual exercise, I went to: Fit4Mom run club, Corepower Yoga Sculpt, Fit4Mom Stroller Strides, Pure Barre, Haute Barre (taught by my favorite fitness blogger when I was in Minnesota for Christmas!), and Pure Barre’s new Empower class.
I looked forward to these “special” workouts all week and I enjoyed doing something a little different to mix up my usual fitness routine.
3. Save, spend, and earn wisely
Make purchases with intention.
I really did try and I think I did better than usual (besides 2 trips to Target, but doesn’t everyone get sucked in by the dollar aisle or the cute baby clothes that are too inexpensive to pass up?!). Looking back at my Amazon purchases, I’m proud to say I only purchased household items, pens for work, a squeegee, a gym bag because George got sick of me borrowing his (and I LOVE my bag), weight lifting gloves, and inexpensive Bluetooth headphones.
For Christmas, I tried my best to only buy thoughtful gifts that I really thought the recipient could use and enjoy, but I admit some of the stocking stuffers really were just stuffers to fill a void.
This is something I will definitely continue to be more aware of every time I think about buying something.
4. Rest, relax, and enjoy
Get a pedicure.
I did it!
And it was absolutely glorious! It took about 3 different attempts to schedule a pedicure, but once I finally made it in, it was amazing. I enjoyed the most delicious cup of Harney & Sons cinnamon spice tea while waiting in the quiet room before my pedicure, read a book on my kindle during the service, then enjoyed the quiet room for 15 minutes afterward to really soak up the experience before picking up the kids.
5. Stop procrastinating, make consistent progress
Don’t use any devices in bed before going to sleep.
I probably went to sleep without looking at my phone twice a week, but I still wasted a lot of time on my phone and didn’t get as much sleep as I could have because I got lost in emails or social media.
6. Simplify, clear, and organize
Declutter for 5 minutes each evening.
We managed to tackle some clutter. I packed up all the baby clothes my baby has outgrown and better organized my older daughter’s old clothes for the baby to grow into. I also decluttered, cleaned, and organized 3 drawers in the kitchen that tend to accumulate junk, 3 drawers in my bathroom, and my workout room closet. The craft closet is a much bigger task that I’ll probably need a solid 2 hours to organize without “help” from children.
A few times I picked up in the evening, but we’ve been struggling with bedtime for Lindsey and it’s often 9:00 or 9:30 before we can get her to stay in her room to go asleep, which is well past my bedtime. By that time I’m so exhausted that all I want to do is climb into my own bed, so those 5 minutes didn’t happen very often.
7. Engage more deeply—with other people, with God, with yourself, with the world
I will engage more deeply with my husband.
I’ll keep trying…
I did a really good job of carving out a few extra minutes to spend with him some mornings, but other times the baby took longer to nurse or I went back into the bedroom only to find he was still asleep. Also, for the last month I started going to the gym for workouts so I left the house around 5:00am, and he’s not interested in waking up that early just to spend a few minutes with me!
This is still a priority for me and our marriage, but perhaps mornings aren’t the best time because so many things can happen that take up that time. Instead, I’d like to schedule a regular date night for an hour or two of uninterrupted, kid-free time so we can actually engage in conversations without kids interrupting every few minutes.
Final thoughts on the Essential 7
It was fun to come up with different habits to positively impact my life and happiness in these 7 different areas. While I knew some would be easy, there were others I knew would be a struggle. Some felt a little self-indulgent, but they really did make me happier! Even though the pedicure only took an hour, it did so much to refresh and re-energize me! And I think that goes a long way in making me a better wife to my husband and mother to my children.
I never would have thought to make a “stop procrastinating, make consistent progress” habit, but that category is now on my radar for positive habit development.
So, I think I ended up with 3 successes, 2 improvements, and 2 flat out failures. Even though I failed at “stop procrastinating” and “engage more deeply,” I’m much more aware of how doing/not doing these things as habits are affecting my happiness. So instead of viewing them as failures, I’m just going to move them up on my priority list to really try to establish good habits in these areas in 2018!