I had seen The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin at the book store a few times and snapped a picture to remember to look it up at the library – in my lifestyle I don’t own too many books – they are heavy to travel with and we don’t have much space for storage where we live. I know, I know, I can always get books on Kindle but I actually like to hold a book. Plus I tend to only read books once – however it would be nice to mark up a book as I read it to make notes of passages that stand out to me. A couple weeks ago I saw it on the shelf at the library and it was perfect timing for me to pour through it.
Gretchen Rubin creates a different resolution each month to explore her own happiness, her own journey of changing her life, without actually “changing her life.” Meaning she didn’t pack up everything she had to go and travel the world or change careers or anything too drastic. She made some simple adjustments to her everyday life.
The last couple months I’ve been really struggling and feeling a general unhappiness. It really hit hardest about the last week of April, 2012 while traveling through Australia. I didn’t know exactly what I was feeling and why I was so emotional. I mean, really, I do have a great life, right? I get to travel, chase summer, do amazingly cool things and don’t “have” to work since my boyfriend earns enough to support this lifestyle. Yet, I found myself in tears on a regular basis, generally frustrated and just not nearly as happy as I “should” be given the circumstances I am in. I won’t get into all of that here and now as I am still processing it all myself and figuring out what I need and want out of my existence here on this wonderful rock. One of the best ways for me to “process” is to read at one of my favorite spots on Kauai.
A few passages stood out to me that I feel are worth jotting down.
~People’s basic psychological needs include the need to feel secure, to feel good at what they do, to be loved, to feel connected to others, and to have strong sense of control.
~It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that if you have something you love or there’s something you want, you’ll be happier with more.
~A sense of growth is so important to happiness that it’s often preferable to be progressing to the summit rather than be at the summit.
~Knowing what you admire in others is a wonderful mirror into your deepest, as yet unborn self.
I wont list them here but she made a list of her own personal 12 commandments. The most recurring one being “Be Gretchen” which, in my opinion should really be all that is needed, right? Another one is “Be polite and be fair” but if “Be Gretchen” encompasses fairness and politeness, doesn’t that cover it? Anyway… I am inspired to make my own commandments – although I’m not sure I’ll come up with twelve.
I am also inspired by her idea to make 12 resolutions. They weren’t “goals”, as she explained at the end of the book, “You hit a goal, you keep a resolution” this, to me goes hand in hand with the idea of growth and reaching the summit – or that the journey really IS the destination. I like the idea of resolutions vs goals when it comes to health and fitness. Instead of making a goal to reach a certain weight to resolve to exercise daily and eat more leafy greens. That way when you reach your “goal” you still have your resolution to stick to!
The monthly resolutions reminded me of something we learned at the Beachbody Coaches Summit in June, 2012. I had the pleasure of hearing Chalene Johnson, creator of TurfoFire and other workouts speak. She encouraged us to pick something to learn or improve on each month. Instead of trying to do everything all at once, spread it out for the 12 months. This, and the 12 resolutions is something I would like to incorporate – although I have NO idea when, or if I’ll actually start. Resolution #1, stop procrastinating…
The book closed with the Four Splendid Truths Gretchen learned from her project, I won’t write those here – you should read the book to learn them yourself. Or maybe check out her blog, www.happiness-project.com.
Have you read this book? I’d love to hear if you took any of her tips or if you followed your own happiness project. Fill me in!
What a what to start a new year.
Earlier this week we ran out of internet.
What? What does that even mean – ran out of internet? Well here on this little island in the Pacific miles and miles from anywhere internet isn’t all you can eat and somehow we managed to make it through 20g of it. What they hell did people do before the internet? Guess I can log into my Kindle acct and download… scratch that, guess it’s off to the library.
A few weeks ago we headed out to a BBQ at a friends house. You know those days you just don’t feel like going out? This was one of those days, but we had said we were coming and I knew sitting at home on my couch wasn’t going to be any better. Towards the end I started chatting with this guy and he mentioned that he read a book called Yes Man by Danny Wallace and really enjoyed it. I knew the movie but didn’t know it was a book and added it to my requests at the library. Fortunately it came in when the internet went out so I had plenty of time to devour it.
Did you see the movie? It’s been a long time since I saw it but I remember thinking it was fun and cool. From what I remember about the movie it sure isn’t a remake of the book it but took the major theme of it – obviously.
I loved how funny it was. Maybe I was just in the mood to laugh but I honestly did laugh out loud. I think it is one of the things that drives Chris crazy when I read. We are normally together so he is victim of my random giggles while curled up on the couch.
I loved that it took me on an adventure. Danny kept it fun and there were a couple of main events that you definitely wanted to know what happens at the end. I enjoyed his nemesis and love interest.
I loved how while Danny was changing his life and saying yes more it was changing others lives and of course can change the lives of people who read the book. It reminded me of the times chance meetings have changed the course of my life. How saying Yes has already changed my life.
I consider myself a Yes Girl a lot of the time. I remember a time while traveling in Australia and met a guy traveling who invited me to spend some time sailing around the Whitsunday Islands. I declined because I already had an onward ticket. I still wonder what would have happened if I had said yes. I don’t like to have things like that in my life – where I wonder “what if”. For the most part I believe I would regret things more that I don’t do than things that I do.
As I read this book I think about the things I say no to and would I be able to do this challenge. I don’t like beer or coffee and am currently on 30 days of not eating cookies, cakes etc. Needless to say, saying yes to all of that would go against a lot of my goals, but it might also mean I say yes to all those gadgets on tv for the ab chair and spanx – could balance itself out…
Anyway… as I read books when passages stand out for me I do love to jot them down, so here they are:
~pg 142 – “The only time you have no opportunies is when you decide to stop taking them.”
Life is full of opportunities. You just never know. Give it a shot, at least then you’ll know.
~pg 168 – “I’m just saying that maybe sometimes it’s riskier not to take a risk. Sometimes all you’re guaranteeing is that things will stay the same. Sometimes it’s more important to say yes to things than it is to say no.”
You’ll probably notice that many of the passages that stood out to me focused on regrets. Saying yes to Chris and the opportunity he offered to me was WAY more important than saying no and staying the same.
~pg 242 “So maybe Yeses are meant to be shared. Maybe life’s about finding opportunities to share with someone. That’s all it is, when you think about it. A series of opportunities to share.”
It is so much more fun to say yes with someone. Chris has the means and wanted a Yesser to enjoy life with.
~pg 253 “And what do I mean ‘No was best?’ I mean No is power. No says ‘I’m in charge.’ Think about how many times you’ve said yes in the past year, and how many times you would’ve liked to have said No instead. Maybe being able to say No is the one thing that keeps us sane. Some people go through their whole lives saying yes over an over again- yes to things they don’t want to do but feel obliged to, Yes to things that allow other people to take advantage of them, just because that’s the way things are, the way things have always been. Some people need to learn how to say No. Because every time they say Yes, they say No to themselves.”
It was really refreshing to see him really struggle with his challenge and want to throw in the towel and just say NO! As a Beachbody Coach I do encourage people to say NO more. Especially the women/mothers who are so used to taking care of others that they no longer take care of themselves and it shows.
~pg 292 “When you think about it, probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life, happened because you said Yes to something. Otherwise, things just sort of stay the same.”
Chris often says “When you are lying on your death bead I doubt you’ll say ‘I wish I hadn’t traveled to Croatia/bought that kite/learned to spin fire/etc.’” I think he has a pretty valid point.
~pg 388 “Maybe I was reading all this wrong, but suddenly, not having said Yes to something that would have been great seemed worse than having said Yes to something that could have been bad.”
Anyway – I hope I encouraged you to check this book out. After reading it I bought two copies. One for me and one to give to a friend – seems like it would be a perfect gift. Here is is on Amazon or just check out Danny’s website. Oh – and let me know if you end up saying yes to something that you might normally have said no to