A few years ago, while doing research for a story, I started reading Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project blog. When her book came out, I thought, “This is perfect.” I needed to jump-start some things in my life, and her “theme of the month” approach seemed perfect.
I’ve tried to start a Happiness Project a couple of times and failed utterly. Rubin talks a bit about having a tracking system for your various goals, but none of the ones I tried — those on her site, Google Docs spreadsheet (which kept me honest on my New Year’s Resolutions for a number of years), etc. — seemed to fit.
Finding the right tool for the job
And then I thought: Apps! This eclat coincided perfectly with a better reason to start the Happiness Project. Like Rubin when she embarked on the year-long self-study, I’m not unhappy. In fact, I’m really happy. So happy that I realize how important it is to stay happy.
So why apps? The best tool, ultimately, is the one that’s with you when you need it. The Happiness Project Toolkit required me to turn on my computer when I went home, go to the site, log in, and use its tools. Google Docs was more convenient (I could get to my resolution tracker within a few clicks of my home screen), but I still had to get on my computer.
My iPhone is the one thing I bring with me everywhere I go. I use Mint to track my spending (and before a recent update, I used CashTrails). I started using LoseIt to count calories and take off a few pounds. When I went back home, I used Nike Training to fit in a strength workout or two when it was too humid to run outside.
Apps for boosting energy
So, for the first month, I’m going to work on boosting my energy. Specifically, these are my goals, and the apps I’m going to use to keep me honest:
- Eat better: LoseIt
- Exercise regularly: Runkeeper
- Get more sleep: Sleep Cycle
- Declutter my house: This is, admittedly, a stretch. Apartment Therapy Home Cure iBook and ItsDeductible
- Tackle some nagging tasks: TaskPaper
- Act more energetic: No app can help here.
If all goes well, I’ll recount my experiences here, both with the apps and with the Happiness Project. We’ll see how it goes…