The Happiness Quotient

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We are refreshed from spending time with family during the holidays, but a new year brings back our busy schedules. Around the new year we often think of resolutions to accomplish fitness goals, save more, or improve our devotional time. This year, as dread set in about returning back to our usual schedule, we did something a little different…we decided to reflect on why our holidays were joyful, and what stresses us out about the new year. In the end, it seems like most of our happiness during the break (and our unhappiness during the typical year) stems from the following:

Health (spiritual, mental, physical, and financial)

Resources (attention, time, money, and energy)

Another way to say this is:

HappQuot1

Ironically enough, it seems like our resources and health go hand in hand. To paraphrase Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34, our heart is where we focus our attention. Since our resources are the key to this formula, we need a plan to start spending them wisely. The problem is good intentions typically take the back seat once our busy schedules set in…”old habits die hard.” The answer is determining what our priorities are, deciding what we want to focus on, and actively changing our habits. If you’re anything like me, simple plans are the most effective, so here’s how we started the process:

 

1. List the top 3 things you spend resources on now

2. List the top 3 things you would like to spend your resources on

 

Next we elaborated on each idea to get down to the nitty gritty:

How I spend my resources now…

HappQuot2

How I would like to spend my resources…

HappQuot3

Now comes the fun part…whittling down the list to focus on what’s important. To make this simple, I focused on the following bible verses as a guide:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” [Romans 12:2 ESV]

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” [Galatians 6:9 ESV]

“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” [Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV]

Basically, if the item was focused on the world, is an old crutch I relied on before Christ, or doesn’t involve doing good, I took it off the list. I also sorted the items based on how frequently I should focus on each:

HappQuot4

I’ve found the best way to stick to a new schedule is to set 2-3 priorities the night before, and e-mail them to yourself, set a reminder, or put a note in a prominent place. We will be praying this is a year of peace and productivity for you and your family!

Here are some other resources that may help as you look to set new priorities for your life:

Chuck Missler on Proverbs: https://resources.khouse.org/proverbs/dvd29/

Tim Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Workweek: http://fourhourworkweek.com/

Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habits: http://charlesduhigg.com/the-power-of-habit/

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