The Happiness Project is a year-long quest for the author, Gretchen Rubin, to find happiness in the areas in life where she feels it is lacking. While Gretchen has a wonderful marriage, two beautiful little girls, and a stable job doing what she loves (writing), she thought there were areas where she could significantly improve her attitude and view toward life.
When I opened this book and started reading, I laughed out loud a few times because Gretchen resembled myself so much. I felt as though I was reading a book on my Happiness Project instead of hers. One thing that Gretchen mentions throughout her book is her need for "gold stars". For instance, if she spends the entire day cleaning the house and preparing a wonderful meal for her family, deep down she is begging for that "gold star" of her husband noticing the clean house and thanking her for a delicious meal. If that appreciation never came forward, she would feel upset and bitter toward her husband and it may possibly end up being an argument. This is me... to a T.
Gretchen split the book into 12 chapters, one for each month. She decided to tackle one thing at a time each month and then spend the last month of the year (December) to put everything into practice. The first month was something that I would love to put an entire year of concentration into... Boost Energy.
She did this by practicing going to sleep earlier, exercise better, toss/restore/organize (my favorite), tackle a nagging task, and act more energetic. She came to the conclusion that her need for gold stars was wearing her down because she now understood that she got more out of cleaning the house than her husband and therefore she started seeing it as a thing to do for herself. She felt more collected and in control when her house was less cluttered.
Since starting this book, I've noticed that I have been practicing some of her little tricks to improve happiness. One of them is so simple: if there is something on your to-do list that takes less than five minutes to complete, don't put it off. The satisfaction and weight off your shoulders can make your mood significantly improve by checking all those little things off your list.
Her book goes on to work on things such as her marriage, parenthood, work, leisure time, friendship, etc. I would highly recommend this book! It reminds you the little things that can make a big difference in your overall mood and outlook on life. It also puts you into the mindset that "the days are long, but the years are short" and it's never too late to make improvements. Just make it a resolution rather than a goal. Because a goal can be met (and therefore have an end) whereas a resolution can always be measured, altered, and worked on (changing your lifestyle rather than attempting something short-term like a "diet").
If you were to start your own Happiness Project, what areas in your life do you think you could improve and therefore increase your happiness?
I would like to improve my health through increasing exercise, improve my home through staying organized and getting rid of things that are not needed, and improving my relationship with my hubby-to-be, family, and friends. I would also like to join a group or team to feel more involved.