The real benefit to a structured Happiness Project, or at least the structured list, is that it measures balance. A list of certain things to do each week requires that nothing gets neglected week after week. It’s so easy, especially when you’re busy, for time to all steamroll together, and the daily actions that make you what you are or want to be get put aside “just today”, again, and still again. Then you look up and days or weeks have passed without any attention to the things you want to do.
The list makes you look up more often. Having a checklist to report to with all the truly important things on it is an ongoing feedback device that reminds you at a glance what is getting neglected. I love my fancy weekly “nice list”, because I can tell instantly, where there is a gap between the stars, what I haven’t been paying enough attention to and voila, my attention turns that way. It’s a natural balance meter.
My list has two sections: eight things I intend to do daily, and eleven things that I want to do 1-3x per week. Of course it’s all jazzed up with bluebirds to make associations to the book, and inspirational quotes and colour graphics, on a half page sheet.
The daily things -mostly quick things that still need some reminding before they become natural habit -have their little grid where I can put checkmarks each day of the week. The other, weekly things- naturally, bigger endeavours that take some time and effort – have little grey stars to indicate desired results. When I execute one, I get to stick one of my fancy glitter stars over the hopeful little grey placeholder. The satisfaction of doing this is all out of proportion.
My list of the week floats around and gets a bit crinkled over the week, then I make a week-end synopsis of what worked and didn’t and do a little review and analysis on the back of the sheet before I file it where I can occasionally see all those stars from weeks gone by.