The Happiness Project

One of my favorite hobbies is reading. I have loved to read & write since I was a child. Therefore, I think it is time for a book review.
One of my best friends, Alex & I decided at the end of 2010 that we would like to start a book club. Then we discussed how to go about organizing a book club: invite others, set a date & time, make a group decision on what book we would begin…And to be honest, we can be very lazy.
So this is how our two-person “Exclusive Book Club” began.
I have a list of 37 books on my current reading list & an additional 30 books sitting on my shelf  at home waiting to be read. And let’s not forget the list of authors that I adore or am interested in & will read anything they write (there are only six on that list right now). Yes, I realize that this is probably unhealthy. But it’s one of the best obsessions one could have, agreed?
So in January of 2011 we decided to tackle this book:
What initially attracted me to this book was that Gretchen described herself as “happy”; she was living in NYC, working as a writer (one of my fantasies – actually after the world met Carrie in Sex & the City, I’m sure that life became a fantasy for many of us), married to a wonderful husband & had two little girls.
Her life was everything she could have dreamed of. But she felt like she could appreciate it more. She felt like she could be happier, not by having more things or life being different, just in the way she treated life.
I too, felt like my life is on track with my dreams: I have a college degree, I married my high school sweetheart, we own a home together close to my family, we’ve both made some solid friends over the years, I have a good job that I love. I wanted to take it all in & appreciate it to the fullest.
So Gretchen embarked on a year of trying to be happier & Alex & I followed, month by month.

 She divided her life out into 11 areas and made goals each month, based on the area she was focusing on for that month (December was used to practice everything).
Gretchen had 3-5 goals for each month (this WAS her full time job, as she is an author). Some of her goals included: go to sleep earlier, fight right, launch a blog, acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings, take time to be silly, don’t gossip, indulge in a modest splurge, keep a gratitude notebook, master a new technology, stimulate the mind in new ways and laugh out loud.   
We didn’t end up doing a full-on “Happiness Project”, like Gretchen, but it was fun to read her experience & take away pieces of info. that we now incorporate into our daily lives. For Christmas, I even got us “Happiness Project” Daily Desk Calendars, to help remind us of all of the things we read about the year before. 
Alex & I on her birthday this past December.
So if you’re looking for a fun, little project (okay – it’s not that little) to take on in an effort to improve yourself, this book is great. You can take the outline & make it completely your own, or like Alex & I, not begin a project at all, simply take away ideas from Gretchen’s project.
Happy Reading!

4 thoughts on “The Happiness Project

  1. Cool project and well-written piece! At the end of each year, I like to spend some time thinking about when, in the previous year, I was most happy. I used to be surprised at how little time I spent doing the things that made me happiest! Now I know better and I try to spend as much time as possible on happy activities. Sometimes you just have to make stuff happen! 🙂

  2. Love this post! Happiness Project gave me a new way to tweak the way I look at situations in life. With so much change in my life at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, I dont think we could have picked a better book! Looking forward to your thoughts on SJC in 2013!

    PS. I absolutely love the Happiness Project daily calendar you got me. I find myself wanting to save each page for a soon to be “inspiration board”!

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