A Happiness Project

I'm thinking about starting A Happiness Project.

My News Year's Resolution last year was to have a more positive attitude and outlook and to be less judgmental and more open to difference.

I think I definitely went some way towards achieving this goal although it is difficult to measure because I didn't set out with any concrete goal or even resolutions about how I would achieve this achieve. My husband says that he has noticed a difference so something must have worked.

Still, I think that I could try even harder to make more concrete change. The more mindful I am of the change better chance I have of making it permanent, right?

As part of my efforts last year I read quite a few books about minimalism, parenting and enjoying life. One of those books was The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin. I actually came across it reading one of Rachael Macy Stafford's books (either Hands Free Mama or Hands Free life, I can't recall which one). Rachael Macy Stafford recommended Gretchin Rubin and I love Ms Stafford's approach to life and parenting, so it seemed like a natural progression to read the Happiness Project next.

This is what GoodReads says about The Happiness Project:

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

From what I could tell, people either really enjoyed this book or they don't.

Initially I wasn't too sure what I would get out of it. This really is the account of one woman's approach to bringing about a subtle but lasting change to her daily life by really getting to know herself, accept herself and to use that knowledge to live a happier life.

How can that help someone else? I actually found that I really identified with Gretchin Rubin. She was a lawyer who not altogether satisfied with her career choice (me!). She had a husband and two kids (me!). More than just these basics, I identified with the ways in which she felt before she started her project. She recognised that she had a great life and she was happy and satisfied with it.. She just felt that she could be getting more out of life by being more intentional about her thoughts and activities in a way that increased her happiness. Not through some massive sea change that isn't practical for most people. Just through small but meaningful changes.

So, now I have read the book and considered her approach and I am now thinking about embarking on my own Happiness Project.

At this stage I am not quite sure what it will look like. I am not sure that I can do the structured month by month approach that Rubin took. I do think that there are certain areas that I would like to make changes that I feel could bring me and my family more happiness. Things like money, togetherness, mindfulness, health.

What I just need to do now is actually sit down and think about what approach I want to take to a Happiness Project, what areas of life I would like to make change in and how to go about it. The reality is that I am not a very creative type so it will very likely look very similar to Rubin's Happiness Project (while covering different areas of my own life obviously).

Change can be a good thing though and I am ready for some. So let's give it a try.

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