happiness project

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?

Gretchen Rubin and the Happiness Project

I am an avid reader. Ever seen Gilmore Girls? You know how Rory Gilmore never leaves home without a book in her purse? Yeah, that's me. So it's a common thing for me to go content hunting on Twitter. I especially love finding lists of people in different categories that might be good to follow on Twitter and I really love finding authors to follow. Recently, I came across a list from Forbes Woman that was entitled 14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter. On that list was one woman that really intrigued. Her name is Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen has had a completely fascinating life. From her site:

A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School (where she was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal), Rubin started her career as a lawyer, and she was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she really wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters.

With that kind of life, where else can you go? According to Gretchen, she had an epiphany and decided to pursue happiness. She started a year-long happiness project and wrote a book called The Happiness Project. The whole idea is really intriguing me, so I've already purchased the book and started to check our her blog and the Happiness Project Toolbox. I'm going to start my own Happiness Project and I've decided that 2010 is my year of pursuit. I'm not just going to want to be happy or try to be happy. I'm going to pursue happiness.

Want to join me?