Book Review - The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
So is it possible to actually create a project and plan to increase the overall happiness in your life? Gretchen Rubin set out to do just that in her book The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. It wasn't that she was horribly dissatisfied with life. It's just that she felt that there could be so much more if she really thought about it and started making changes. The project became a blog, and the blog turned into this book. While your project would not be the same as hers, she does present the basic project components, and makes some good points on how anyone can get back to the basics of what makes them happy.
January - Boost Energy (Vitality); February - Remember Love (Marriage); March - Aim Higher (Work); April - Lighten Up (Parenthood); May - Be Serious About Play (Leisure); June - Make Time for Friends (Friendship); July - Buy Some Happiness (Money); August - Contemplate the Heavens (Eternity); September - Pursue a Passion (Books); October - Pay Attention (Mindfulness); November - Keep a Contented Heart (Attitude); December - Book Camp Perfect (Happiness); Afterword; Acknowledgments; Your Happiness Project; Suggestions for Further Reading
During the project, Rubin had to think hard about what she wanted, what really made her happy, and how she could take all her study and research and condense it down into nuggets of truth for her. For January, "boost energy" became the actionable items of go to sleep earlier, exercise better, toss/restore/organize, tackle a nagging task, and act more energetic. September's pursuit of a passion turned into writing a novel, making time, forgetting about results, and mastering a new technology. It all sounds simple in theory, but she often struggled behind *why* certain things worked and didn't work in her life. For me, I quickly faced the realization that I really don't *know* what I want in many cases. Too much "letting life happen" and pleasing others leaves me with a lack of understanding about what makes *me* tick. As such, I found this book rather convicting and uncomfortable in places.
Since I tend to be a bit more "to the point" in my reading preferences, I found a few places where I wanted to trim up the narrative a bit. It was also a bit hard to get excited about a project month for a topic that just didn't fall onto my radar screen (or at least not in the way it did for Ruben). Still, The Happiness Project is well worth the time spent reading. Because of what I learned, I have some major thinking to do and actions to take.
Obtained From: Author