The Happiness Project: A Book Review

Cover of The Happiness ProjectHere's an interesting concept: Can you truly MAKE yourself be happier? I've been on the fence regarding the answer for a long time. I tend to waver between you can make your own destiny to you need to make the best of what is given to you. But I always end up somewhere in the middle and end up saying the same thing. I'm not entirely sure.

It appears that Gretchen Rubin had the same questions so she set out on a personal journey: One Year to Focus on Her Happiness. And The Happiness Project was born.

The concept is intriguing, isn't it? With all the talk about the laws and power of attraction and spiritual teachers and psychological writers telling us to Think Big to Change Your Life, it's not surprising that a happier life would be extremely appealing.

The Happiness Project is simple in concept: Resolutions + Self Reflection on a daily basis and each month revolves around a theme. For instance, Month 1 focused on Energy, Month 2 focused on Marriage, etc. Gretchen says (and I agree) that everyone's project is and should be different because everyone is in a different place in life. But certainly some of Gretchen's resolutions intrigued me:

  • Start a collection
  • Emulate a Spiritual Master
  • Give Something Up
  • Ask for Help
  • Tackle a Nagging Task (side note: when I read this part, I immediately tackled two nagging tasks and felt much, much better)

Can these simple things really make you happier? Perhaps I should find out. Rather than jump into something like this (as I have the tendency to do) I'm going to do a bit of planning and research and aim for September 1 to start my own Happiness Project. I'm doing this for two reasons.

  1. It will give me time to figure out what areas of my life I really want to improve and how to measure whether or not I'm truly happier
  2. It still gives me plenty of time to ramp up for the holidays.

If you were going to do a Happiness Project of your own, I first recommend reading Gretchen's book for inspiration. Then, Check out her blog and the Toolbox site she has set up.

But, if you're going to do it, let me know. We can do it together and it will make me accountable for really following through on things in general.

What resolutions do you think would work for you? What resolutions would scare you to try?