|Reading two books in about a month -|
Quite an accomplishment!
"There's no 'I' in denial" - #1 son to me
For a while I tried to deny it, but turning 50 in 2016 has been on my mind for some time.
Fortunately, I have the presence of mind to avoid over-the-top mid-life crisis things like buying a red sports car; instead I bought the book Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It is a book about forming positive habits. The big takeaway I gained from reading it is understanding my own strengths and weaknesses in the context of habit so that I know better how to better train myself in putting on good habits and putting off bad habits.
Inspired, I followed up with Gretchen's earlier book The Happiness Project. That book is a one year record of pursuing happiness through focusing one one specific resolution each month for twelve months.
These books also are designed to help the reader in their own pursuits of habits and happiness. My self examination let me to believe that I would do well to focus on one area and go deep:
Lack of contentment has gotten me into trouble in the past - spending more money than I had, visiting different churches instead of sticking with our home church, watching TV instead of engaging with family and friends. All this while being gainfully employed, happily married, and raising three healthy, smart kids.
So eradicating discontentment and putting on a grateful heart would be a great birthday gift to myself.
Similar to Gretchen's approach that considers one focus per month, I have identified different areas to cultivate contentedness and specific things I can do to practice contentment.
For example, in the area of Health and Fitness I would do well to
- Choose food wisely
- Exercise for fun
- Avoid procrastination
- Live enthusiastically
And in Loving Relationships
- Greet friends and family by name
- Engage with those present
- Practice loyalty to friends and family
- Appreciate the fleetingness of parenthood
- Be an exemplary husband
- Give tangible proofs of love
- Maintain household budget
- Rebuild emergency savings account
- Accept Jesus's gift of College Park Church
- Read and listen to the Bible
- Journalize prayer
- Risk well for the Good News of Jesus
- Read good books
- Read my local newspaper (Johnson County Daily Journal)
- Be aware of current events
- Limit screen time to quality TV, movies, and web sites
Excellent Life Experiences
- Accept my true likes and dislikes
- Avoid clutter
- Meet employer's goals
- Enjoy the fun of risk taking
- Ask for help
- Work smartly
- Enjoy the opportunity daily
- Initiate relationships
- Seek responsibility
- Want what I have (or, count by blessings)
- Memorize Bible verses on contentedness
- Live in the present, not the past or the future
I've decided to go against The Happiness Project approach of prioritizing one specific a month (For example January = Health and Fitness, February = Work Habits, etc.) I know this is a risky proposition because I may be taking on too much at once. On the other hand, if I'm in the Loving Relationships month, what about my Work Habits? Therefore, I'm reframing each of the above resolutions as subsets of one resolution, Contentment, and challenge myself with one large Project instead of twelve small ones.
Seems as if this is a great year to do it! Since this is going to be a milestone birthday year, and I won't let myself forget it, why not take every thought captive and celebrate it all year conforming myself more like the person I want to be?
Next time: Thoughts and action points on Bible verses about contentment.