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The Happiness Project

June 5, 2011 | Karin

What steps can you take to become happier?  Gretchen Rubin tackles this question in her book, The Happiness Project: Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, a #1 New York Times bestseller.  She writes that the book is “an approach to changing your life.”  Her basic method is aggressively taking concrete steps and keeping accountable by charting progress with stickers. You might be seeing more about this book as Kristin Davis is signed to star in a show based on The Happiness Project for NBC.

On the one hand, the project seems like an elusive chase and something that only someone in the elite tiers of society could so focus their energy on.  Ms. Rubin herself graduated from a top law school, clerked for a Supreme Court Justice, lives in New York City with her husband and two children and is able to write full-time.  On the other hand, the project is accessible to everyone as we can all take small steps to become happier.

Ms. Rubin comes up with her basic principles to live by in order to become happier, her own Twelve Commandments:

  1. Be Gretchen.
  2. Let it go.
  3. Act the way I want to feel.
  4. Do it now.
  5. Be polite and be fair.
  6. Enjoy the process.
  7. Spend out.
  8. Identify the problem.
  9. Lighten up.
  10. Do what ought to be done.
  11. No calculation.
  12. There is only love.

This has made me think about my basic principles.

For each month, Ms. Rubin focuses on an area of her life that she wants to improve: vitality, marriage, work, parenthood, leisure, friendship, money, eternity, books, mindfulness, attitude and happiness.

I think it is a fair critique that Ms. Rubin seems to take on more than her readers can relate to because she is able to do this full-time.  However, I appreciate that she is taking personal responsibility for her life and concrete steps to improve it.

I wanted to share this book.  You can read a sample chapter or learn more about doing a happiness project as a group.  Have you read this book or any other books lately that have made you think about how to make concrete changes in your life to make you happier?

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