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Spring into Balance – A Happiness Project for 2014

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“Spring into balance” is an initiative guided by the friends at Good Not Perfect, Simplify, Live, Love, and some other guests who will be making thoughtful contributions over the upcoming weeks. This 10 week initiative is aimed at simplifying, finding time for yourself, and being more happy. Doing more of what you want to do, and less of everything else.

Deep down, we want to nourish ourselves. Most of us just don’t approach it in the same systematic, goal oriented way that we approach family, home, and work life. So join us, grab a notebook and a pen, and be ready to take control of your own happiness.


My life involves fighting many fires.

Not literally, but figuratively. There’s always something of vital importance that has to be handled right now. Before I can play a game with my kids, we have to clean off the table. Before I can cook dinner, I have to clean off my counters. Before I can read a book, I have to grade papers or network on line for my blog. Before friends can come over, I have to clean. I equate the way I live to fighting fires instead of living life.

It’s time to get life under control.

Spring into Balance – A Happiness Project for 2014

I keep thinking “when I’m done with this project I’m working on, I’ll finally have time to tackle the mess that is our family closet.” Or, “after my kid stops waking me up in the middle of the night, I’ll be able to get up earlier.” Or, “after I get this place cleaned up, I’ll finally have time to play with my kids.”

And then somehow I find myself unmotivated to do anything after resting with my kids while they go to sleep at night. At only 9 pm, I fall into my own bed and waste time on my phone. Or I realize I’ve just spent 45 minutes surfing the Internet, checking in on Facebook, instead of putting away laundry or grading papers or reading any of 16 half-read books that sit untouched on my bedside table. The mess remains in the closet. And I haven’t worked out regularly in years.


See what I mean? (This is Laura’s “mess.” I’m not posting a picture of mine just yet. :D).

It’s hard to fit it all in.

Laura at Good Not Perfect talks about a class she had near the end of her MBA program was called Managerial Leadership. It was taught by Harry Kraemer, a former CEO of a $9 billion corporation who still managed to find time to jog, be a history buff, spend quality time with his wife and kids, and teach a class to MBA students at night.

I’m jealous of the people who seem to have it all together. They have no problem getting up early in the morning and hitting tasks that I should be able to do in about half the time it currently takes me. I have a million excuses for why getting up early just doesn’t work for me. But there are plenty of people who prove that it can be done. I know {theoretically} of other homeschool moms who are also successful bloggers and manage to work out too.

If they do it, I wondered, why can’t I? I should be able to structure my time in such a way that I can take care of everybody and also make some time for me. I gripe about having four kids to take care of sometimes, but the fact is, I have four kids. Most of them are now old enough to be good help! I have to better utilize my kiddos, develop a team spirit, and get everybody helping out, instead of trying to do it all myself and failing miserably in the process.

It’s time to for more teamwork so that instead of taking care of everyone else, I can also take care of myself. Did you read my recent  post where I  said, “Though I insist my kids eat a healthy breakfast, I often don’t eat one myself. I’ve also started relying on too much coffee, not enough water, and especially in the winter, not eating enough veggies.” My current life is unsustainable for me.

Let’s do something about it. Together.

What would Professor Kraemer say? While the long-ago MBA class was technically about Leadership, what has stuck with Laura years later is not anything about how to inspire teams. {Uh oh. I’m in trouble.} Well, at least not directly.

What Laura remembers are two things: he maintained his sanity (and thus was a more effective leader) by:

  1. Keeping a journal (“checking in with himself”), and
  2. Remembering there are 168 hours in a week.

He lived in comfort knowing that while he may not be able to fit everything he wants to do in a day, he could usually find ways to fit it all into a week.

Gretchen Rubin made many of the same points in her book The Happiness Project. Her thesis essentially is that if you approach happiness as a goal, and structure your life around making yourself happy (as she did for a year), it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

**You can read reviews and a description of Rubin’s Happiness Project book here. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth getting a copy. It may change the way you approach your own happiness.

**I’m also reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine.  Crystal is a very successful mom blogger, and a homeschooling mom, and she manages to work out and spend quality time with her kids. She’s got some helpful hints in her book that I hope to put into practice in my life.

The purpose of the next 10 weeks for us, and YOU should you choose to join us, is our own little mini “happiness project.” The holidays have passed, the New Year’s rush to catch up on everything you put off during the holidays may be done, and the miserable Polar Vortex should be on its way out.

Yes, we have sunshine and longer days working in our favor, so let’s use that “happiness” momentum to try a little project.

Let’s “Spring Into Balance.”

The project.

We’ll try to guide each other on some reflection and the basic premise of: doing more of what we want to do and less of the other stuff. We’ll ask ourselves a few basic questions.

  1. What do we want to do with more time?
  2. How can we structure our lives to make more time for those things? How can we lighten our load?
  3. How can we restructure our habits to consistently do more of what we enjoy?

It won’t be easy, but it should be fun. It should not only help us be happier, but also indirectly help those around us. At the very least, you will have spent some time on reflection.

The commitment.

Here’s what you will need:

  1. An open mind
  2. A notebook for your weekly journal entries
  3. A calendar
  4. Optional: Instagram access to share your progress #springintobalance. You can find SimplifyLiveLove here and Good Not Perfect here.


Who’s in?

SimplifyLiveLove is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blankLinda Kinsman says

    I’m in! Oh my goodness am I ever in. You have put into words some of my own thoughts and feelings of never having enough time to get it all done, or put myself back on my to-do list, or organize my house better… or, or, or.
    I hit the wall big time after the holidays and spent February seriously considering giving up my blog or my side business; feeling like if I gave up something I could get it all done. This happiness project could not come at a better time for me so I sincerely thank you ladies for sharing it!

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