Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Happiness Project

I was a little backwards in my reading of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I actually read her second book pertaining to The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, first.  I loved it.
As an avid list maker who constantly needs reassurance and accolades, Rubin's writing style and the project itself really appealed to me.

Here is a brief description of The Happiness Project from Amazon:

"Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference."

Rubin has a different focus for each month throughout the year, then break those into subcategories.  The ones that resonating with me the most were the sections on marriage, parenthood, and mindfulness.

I, like Rubin, consider myself a happy person.  However, there are many points that she brings up that would definitely improve my happiness.  I'm sure my husband will be appreciative of some of the changes the marriage section has inspiried...or maybe he won't even notice?  That's the beauty of The Happiness Project, it is something to do for yourself.  If a change you make positively affects someone else's happiness, then great!  Don't do it for anyone else.

A few highlights

Quit nagging- Ha.  I'm sure my husband will notice a difference in this.  It can be difficult to transition when you are with a toddler all day...I don't mean for my voice to come across as nagging, but I know that a lot of times it does.  Sorry husband, I'm working on it.

Don't expect praise or appreciation- I enjoy doing things for my family, however I definitely want the accolades for the things I complete.  I want my husband to come home and say "Wow!  The house looks great!  I noticed you vacuumed (<--the spelling of that word irritates me), mopped the floor, cleaned the ceiling fan, and rearranged your shoes"
This is about me, not him.  I need to work on this and remind myself that even if he doesn't list specifics, he is still appreciative.  I shouldn't need constant praise.

Acknowledge the reality of people's feelings- Don't say "no" or "stop"- Yes, my son isn't quite three years old yet, but I could definitely do a better job explaining why we can't do certain things or why things may be dangerous.

Keep a food diary-  I've always kept a food diary or a rough variation of one.  However, I've been very lax on it during my pregnancy.  Realistically, this has probably been the time that I've needed it most!  I need to work on being more mindful of my eating habits, especially when setting an example for a toddler.  "Mommy is eating cookies for lunch? Me too!"  I make better decisions when I hold myself accountable.

These are just a few of the sections that stood out for me.  Nearly everything that Rubin wrote resonated in one way or another.  You can read her blog at The Happiness Project.
I strongly recommend signing up to receive the monthly newsletter and the daily happiness quote.
You can also download Rubin's "Resolution Chart" and follow along with the steps in The Happiness Project.  It also comes with one blank month to create your own resolutions.

I highly recommend this book to everyone.  There will be sections that affect you personally, whether or not you decide to make a change is on you.

But being more mindful never hurt anyone!  :)


  1. I absolutely loved this book too! I really liked what you said about the changes being for you, not for anyone else. If they notice, great, but if they don't that's fine too. I plan to implement much of Gretchen's advice.

    1. Hi Kim, thanks for stopping by! I'm so disappointed in myself that I put this book off for so long. I wish I would have read it when I first heard about it! I couldn't believe how much of it resonated with me & (hopefully) creates some positive changes.

  2. How did you like her second book, compared to the first? Is it more geared towards marriage/parenthood or not so specific?

    And by the way, I love your font! :)

    1. I really enjoyed her second book (even though I read it first!). I would say that it was similar to the first, especially in the set up. There is a main section for each month, then broken into resolutions. There are sections on marriage and parenthood that I really enjoyed, however I think the ones that made the biggest impact for me were the chapters on possessions and atmosphere (and the interior design- respond to the "spirit" of a gift). I would definitely recommend it!

    2. Great, that's cool to know! Since I'm not married or have kids, I wasn't sure if the book would really pertain to me. But it sounds like it covers other topics as well, so I'll definitely have to check it out.

      Thank you very much for sending over the resolutions chart as well. I'm with ya on the printable love and I'm also a huge list fanatic so this will be doubly great lol. Thanks again!!


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