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Thursday Book Review: The Happiness Project
It’s time for me to give this book the space it deserves. I have written about it in two posts already (April Goals and Healthful, Happy, and Loving Project) so my regular readers know how much I love it, but let me give you some details.
The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, is for every person of every type of life. If you think you can get more happiness out of your everyday routine, or if you’re just looking for a bit of motivation, read it!
Basically it chronicles a lawyer turned author’s year-long quest to make a happier life for herself. What I love about it is that she decided she already loved the pieces of her life: her kids, her hubby, her location, etc, but she wasn’t as thankful for them and she knew she should be. How many of us are guilty of that? It’s probably why you read this blog (and any other blog) in the first place. You are trying to improve your life without seriously changing it.
And we have all tried. Goodness have we tried. Personally, I set goals pretty frequently but rarely do they make an impact on my life. That’s because they aren’t tangible resolutions. That’s a key phrase: tangible resolution. It has to be a resolution not a goal because goals only exist until you reach them, resolutions are forever. And you have to lay out tangible steps to make these resolutions a reality. Otherwise they will never stick.
^ Here’s my list of rules for my Happiness Project.
And here’s and example of my resolution: I want to lower my overall stress and anxiety level throughout the day.
My tangible steps to reach that goal: I will build in a walk or breathing meditation, some quiet time, in the middle of everyday so that I have a few spare minutes to reset my stress-meter. And it’s working!
Basically, this book is an inspiration. Rubin spent an entire year figuring out how to make her happiness a reality. She researched and then she experimented. She laid out a plan and then went for it. The sheer determination and will power it took to keep those resolutions was massive, I’m sure.
I have recommended it to several patients and now I’m recommending it to you. Any self-analytical and driven person should read this book. Check it out from the library, buy it here, or just follow Rubin’s blog! And no, I’m not getting paid for this, there are just things in life that deserve attention.
And if you read my blog with any regularity, you’ll see me implementing these resolutions myself. Mine need some work but I’m on the right path! I’ll keep you all updated. In the meantime, have a stellar Thursday 🙂
Love and a big smile. – Ash
The Healthful, Happy, and Loving Project …
- Take a 5-minute walk down the block, every morning between shower and work. SLOWLY.
- When I’m sad, stop thinking of the future. Just smile and try to make that moment happier.
- Chose a day of the week to talk to each parent and sibling. Like I do with Gran.
- Read this list every day.
- Remember to be happy when I succeed.
These seem like some pretty specific goals right? How did I arrive at them? Well …
There’s a really awesome book a friend sent me. It’s called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Instead of being all preachy and general, she chronicles the details of finding her way to happiness. She lays out a list of what she wants to improve and then divides that list into manageable parts. It’s basically a book about baby steps.
I’m finding it very inspirational so I’ve decided to do the same. Every month I’ll lay out my goals for you all to see. I’m not doing this because I’m particularly unhappy. I just have so much awesomeness in my life and I think I could appreciate it better. If I’m not 100% content when everything is hunky-dory, what will happen when life isn’t so nice? I want my happiness to be strong enough to withstand even the hardest challenges.
The questions I’m asking myself:
- What makes me feel good?
- What makes me feel bad?
- Is there any way in which I don’t feel right about my life?
- Do I live in a way that encourages growth?
My answers to solve these questions – 2013 Goals:
- Stop being so concerned with the future (haha, does the list of goals act against that?).
- Learn to switch off work and relax.
- Be outdoors more.
- Wake up more energized.
- Pay off my credit card bills.
- Invest in quality cooking and cleaning tools – then use them to their full potential.
- Communicate more regularly with friends and family.
- Improve our nutrition (eat more raw, nutrient-dense food and cut out all dinnertime grains and sugars).
- Remove toxins from our food, personal hygiene, cleaning products, etc.
- Learn to enjoy riding my bike again.
- Stop putting so much pressure on myself.
- Remember to be happy when I succeed at these goals.
Things I don’t want to change:
- My commitment to exercise.
- My love of healthy cooking.
- The strength of Mike and My relationship.
- The strength of my ties to my family.
- My plans for travel.
- My thankful heart.
- My cleanliness and organization.
- Just because it’s fun for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s fun for me.
- Me is the perfect person for me to be.
- It’s NOT “doing nothing,” it IS “active relaxation.”
- Life is play, not an endless stream of work.
- A true smile and laugh can change a whole conversation.
- Want what I already have.
- I don’t have to be good at everything.
To that end, I will let you know, each month what my focus goals are for that month. I’ll pick as many or as few as I think I can handle. Some of them may be focused on for multiple months, some may be much easier than that. Since March is 1/3 of the way in, this month’s list is relatively short. But there’s no better time to start than today!
Does anyone want to join me in this? It can be as big or small of a project as you like. Let me know!
Love and a big smile. – Ash