I'm Not Making You Read This
I personally love manifestos because you know when someone writes one of them, they're fucking crazy. And that's all your tweets are. Your tweets are just teeny manifestos. And you know what blogs are, right? Blogs are a conversation no one wanted to have with you.
— Michelle Wolf, Joke Show
I've been taking the Science of Well-Being class online at Coursera. I highly recommend it. It's a survey of (mostly) recent research in the field of "happiness" (and such). Techniques and exercises for applying the findings to your own life are presented alongside the science behind them. You're no doubt familiar with many of the ideas already: exercise elevates mood, mindfulness meditation reduces stress, money only buys happiness up to a point, favor experiences over material possessions, practice gratitude, and so forth. Give the course a try anyway, Monsieur Know-It-All. Having these ideas collected together with advice on how to act on them is enlightening. If nothing else, you'll likely learn for yourself WOOP works exceptionally well, even though it sounds hard to believe. (I think the original nomenclature "Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions" had far more gravitas, but I guess it's harder to sell books about something called MCII.)
As part of my participation in the class, I'm to spend a few weeks engaged in one of the techniques from the lectures. I've chosen to meditate 30 minutes or more each day. I've been trying to get back into a daily practice for several years now. This assignment was an opportunity to break down and do it already. Last week went well; I only missed one day. In week two, which is this week, I'm supposed to tell someone about this goal, thereby making a social commitment to stick to it. The general idea is that once you tell people about your resolution, you'll feel more obliged to do it, so as not to look foolish. As a former smoker, I don't believe such social commitments are especially motivational. Every smoker I've ever known has announced an intention to kick the habit on numerous occasions. But it's part of the assignment and I'm doing it.
I can't think of too many people likely to be interested in a discussion about my plans to spend half an hour sitting on the floor every morning, so I figured I'd tell the entire internet and let you all sort out who cares.