The Happiness Project
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!
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