Saturday, October 1, 2011

"The Janna Improvement Project"

It is October 1st and 57° outside.  Finally, it looks and feels like fall.  I know that it will be back in the 70’s later next week, but for now, I am going to savor this taste of autumn.

Amid the chaos that is my daily household life, I’ve been doing a bit of unusual reading, well, unusual for me.  My husband joined what was meant to be a woman’s book club with some women, and one other man, at his work, and they’ve taken up reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I picked it up from the library on his behalf, and have quickly been making my way through it. I typically pass on self-help books, and I can’t say I am enjoying this one either, but I’m not exactly sure why.  I respect the overall project; examining aspects of your life that you could improve upon, focusing on one aspect a month, making resolutions, and tracking your consistency at keep those resolutions.  That sounds like a great idea.  I think I get hung up on naming this project “The Happiness Project.”  I believe that creating more happiness has to be more than the sum of positive check marks on a chart.  I think “My Personal Improvement Project” is more appropriate, but of course that makes a lousy blog or book title. It just seems that much in this book is oversimplified and not in scale with the large scope of the subject matter.

Still, with that being said, I am following her lead and starting the “Janna Improvement Project.”  The very fact that I am starting this is taking me out of my comfort zone.  I love making lists. I make them all the time; lists of books I want to read, places I want to go, my favorite names of paint colors.  I make these lists and stick them in notebooks and drawers.  I care nothing whatsoever about checking things off lists or charting things.  However, I can see the benefit of her approach in her book, and I am going to measure on a daily basis my progress.

So for October, I am focusing on my health.  I thought this would be the easiest place to start, since it is something solely about me that I can control (for the most part.)  My resolutions are:
  1. Get more sleep.  This really translates to ‘go to bed earlier.’
  2. Exercise more.  My once a week yoga class is not enough, and I know I need to make more time for this.
  3. Get outdoors more.  I am a big believer in fresh air, and of course this can help me with #2.
  4. Eat healthier meals, and less of them.  I am using the “S-rule” I read about in Michael Pollan’s Food Rules as a guide for this one.  “No snacks, no seconds, no sweets — except on days that begin with the letter S.”

Luckily, today is Saturday.  There is a Flemish Rice Custard Tart that I’ve wanted to make for years now, and today is the perfect autumn day to do it.

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