Happiness Club - the 'aha' moment
Goals, Happiness - when all the tiny tweaks start coming together..
This blog is overdue. A job change & brand new schedule are some of my excuses! It certainly has nothing to do with how Happiness Club is doing - because recently it has surpassed all expectations.
I only have my daughter's nap in which to write this so...
1) Our 6/10th theme is powered by WhatsApp. Due to various personal circumstances (one baby born, one on the way, one cycling cross-channel, one away on holidays etc) we struggled to get together in August. Instead we are doing this month via WhatsApp. I think this breaks the rules. But. It is having a remarkable effect. Having shared the article and questions, I've been using the microphone to engage discussion on each question. Some members are responding via microphone and others via text. The discussion has been going on for 5 days! It is the antithesis of what I wrote about last time, where I was worried we were short of time to explore the questions.
2) How is this working? Firstly, after 5 meetups, we have bonded as a group. It is a testament to the bond that people feel comfortable talking into a microphone to a group of 9 people, on personal topics such as proudest moments and self sabotage. Secondly, it allows people to really absorb each other's input as there is no rush to come forward with your own comment.
3) Don't worry, it’s just for this time. I for one have loved being able to chew over this latest theme, it feels very luxurious to extend the discussion over a number of days. Maybe this is also about setting up our post-club infrastructure. With only 4 more themes left, we might be ready to invest in ways of keeping the discussion alive afterwards.
4) So what's actually happening club wise? In my last blog I had some questions. I was worrying that we were racing through the themes and I was wondering about what would stick. That was at Mindfulness. Then Learning came and really reinforced Mindfulness. Concepts such as 'flow' were hugely relevant to both. In my case deciding to eat mindfully then learn some exciting cooking recipies really complimented each other - when you've taken time to plan & make something, & explore exciting new flavours, it sets you up to eat mindfully. The group chatted a lot over the Learning theme, with many of us taking on a cooking commitment. Pictures of culinary creations and discussions of successes and failures happened over WhatsApp.
5) And then, six months in, it felt that there was a real 'aha' moment. Alongside the commitments made, I felt an explosion of other mindfulness and learning activities happened. I spent an entire day painting and was in a full state of flow. I also bought Marie Kondo's book and learned how to tidy, following her method step by step. These both came from me reducing time on Instagram or Facebook (another mindfulness commitment) and realising that the ideas-based Pinterest gave me more joy. On Pinterest I saw some art that inspired me and discovered KonMarie. It started to feel like a lot of good things were happening, which had their roots in Happiness Club. I emphasise that this is SIX months in. For impatient and impulsive types like myself, six months is a long time! The Happiness Club 'experiment' has given me direct experience of how sustained & regular commitment, reinforced by the power of the group, can create a real life shift – and it takes time!
6) Point no.5 above is very interesting in the context of the current Goals theme. We have discussed over WhatsApp that there are different kinds of goals. There are the one hit wonders, the big hairy goals, and then there are the kind that require daily commitment over long periods. Traditionally, I've been great at the first kind, and rubbish at the second. Happiness club is already helping me improve at the second. Since the exercise theme, I've been walking my 10k steps, recognising that walking makes me happy. The iPhone tells me my average number of steps. I check it the way I used to mindlessly check Instagram. I have also upped my strength training by exercising with others, realising that was far more enjoyable than alone.
7) I can’t finish without mentioning a poignant goal achieved by one member. They planned and executed a garden re-design for a close family member with a long-term illness. Initially all didn’t go to plan but over a few seasons it has really taken shape and now the family member is really able to enjoy it.
So, a rich web of mutually reinforcing commitments and themes, and great things happ'y'ning! And I haven't even mentioned how Happiness Club helped me get my dream job. Nap’s over - next time!