The Happiness Project

I’ve just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, who was the first blogger I started following due to a notification from Linkedin. How modern and business-y indeed. Gretchen’s book details a year of her life in which she sets out to “change my life without changing my life” via tons of research and resolutions addressing how to be happier. It’s kind of in response to books like Eat Pray Love (which I still haven’t got around to reading and I feel like it’s been so over-talked-about that maybe it’s too late for me. Thoughts?)

Anyway, I like the concept of The Happiness Project. It’s kind of along the lines of what I was talking about in my post, Life is indeed a journey. You don’t necessarily have to run away and do something dramatic to improve your life and be awesome. I’ve always emphasised this feeling I have that any kind of exciting adventure I have is part of my life, not an escape from it.

The book is structured very systematically, with each month corresponding to a particular topic (“friendship”, “work”, “money”, etc). Her method is the kind of obsessively formulaic style that would appeal to those of us with more conscientious and slightly neurotic traits (See, I’ve been studying up on my personality theories). Like, she has a Resolutions Chart. I personally don’t think I can do charts. But from what she says in the book and from responses of her readers, a lot of people really swear by them.

It’s written as a personal account of her journey, with lots of information thrown in from her extensive research into the subject. I like that about books like this, especially those that kind of border on “self-help” like this. It’s very nice to be given some great ideas without being lectured to.

I guess it got me thinking about a few things to do with my life and what could boost my happiness, etc. Some points include:

–          When it’s not helpful to make a negative comment, you don’t need to. (Although in many cases I always argue it is helpful 😉 )

–          Be grateful in the moment (“The days are long, but the years are short”)

–          You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.

–          Resolutions can be more powerful than goals; it’s easy to go back to old habits after you’ve reached your goals, but you always aim to meet a resolution.

And my final point, which corresponds directly to this post (it could have been much easier to write if I’d have taken this up earlier)

–          Whenever you feel the urge, take notes for no particular reason, because you never know when you might need them. (She takes pages of notes while reading pretty much anything).


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