And She Writes
Fay's Monday Musing: The Happiness Project - More than a Review
When I say that this book may have impacted me personally more than anything else I’ve ever read, I am not overstating. As I mentioned in our first Tuesday Morning Tidy, there was a lot going on for my family and me back in May, 2018. I was trying to get my life (and mind) organized, and fortunately stumbled on Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project during this time.
From the first page, I was hooked. I felt like Rubin was my kindred spirit--she’s Midwestern, approximately my age when she wrote this, has two children and is an avid reader. She too loves to make lists to organize her thoughts, and I’ve always felt that list making gives me a sense of control over the tasks in my mind. Her book was well-researched, well organized and tackled issues that I knew I had, like lack of sleep, exercise and overall presence.
By chapter two, I knew that I needed to do more than just read. I started studying The Happiness Project much the way I used to study my college textbooks, complete with underlining and scribbling notes in the margins.
I loved the way she tried to build habits through monthly goals, and I saw how well it worked for her. It changed my outlook. I told my mom and husband how thrilling this was to read--I’d found someone who had put into words exactly what I was feeling. I also fully appreciated that Rubin shared ideas both for what not to do, and for some positive actions to take. For example, in the “Remember Love” chapter, she discusses both the negative (stop complaining) and the positive (hugging).
"I told my mom and husband how thrilling this was to read--I’d found someone who had put into words exactly what I was feeling. I also fully appreciated that Rubin shared ideas both for what not to do, and for some positive actions to take."
Fortunately, this all happened around the same time that I discovered the Bullet Journal method, so by page 47, I had started outlining the beginnings of what could be my own personal Happiness Project and moving the ideas into my new journal. I did not start my own official Happiness Project until October of that year, because I wanted to prepare for it in a very intentional way. As Rubin says, “Happiness takes energy and discipline.” As part of this endeavor, I also developed a few lists that Gretchen created for herself during her Happiness Project, including Favorite Quotes and Personal Commandments. A few ideas that made my personal list of favorites are from Rubin herself:
Look for happiness under your own roof.
The days are long, but the years are short.
You don’t have to figure out what you want to do forever. You just have to figure out what you want to do next.
A few Commandments of hers that really spoke to me:
Accept ourselves and expect more from ourselves
Choose the Bigger Life
Let it Go
Do it Now
I encourage you to read this book. I encourage you to think about this book, and then think about it some more. If you want to do your own Happiness Project, it is a worthwhile investment in yourself. I am definitely a better mom, wife, employee and overall person because of the investment I made. The back of her book, and her website, provide a host of tools to help build your own Happiness Project. There are apps and groups you can join for help and accountability.
"I encourage you to think about this book, and then think about it some more. If you want to do your own Happiness Project, it is a worthwhile investment in yourself."
Ironically, as Samantha and I start this new blog, it seems that The Happiness Project is really what led to Gretchen Rubin’s phenomenal blogging career, though I hesitate to call her just a blogger. I think her experiences speak to so many who read or listen to them through her podcast, and as a result, she has found success in all her endeavors. Her ability to continue to take the next step, and lean on discipline and curiosity to find success, are wonderful concepts for anyone on a lifelong journey of continuous improvement. We’re all a work in progress, and pursuing happiness is definitely worth the effort.