Monday, August 1, 2016

The Happiness Project Revew

Hey there! I hope your weekend was fantastic and your Monday is off to a good start!

Now that Cora is sleeping a little more I am really enjoying having the time to read books again. I have to admit that when she was 6 months old I would watch people reading jealously, wondering if that would ever be me again. Obviously, sleep deprivation leads to dramatization. 

I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This book, or idea really, is super interesting to me. Over the course of a year, Rubin works on specific aspects of her life to make herself happier. She makes a whole slew of resolutions and tackles them step-wise month by month. Along with her life experiment, she adds a lot of supportive evidence through science and literature, which helps to make the book interesting.

Some of the things she did I have already implemented in my life, and admit have a huge impact on my happiness:
  • Finding things to be thankful for everyday
  • Consolidating my clothes closet (although the rest of my house could use a major dose of this)
  • Exercising daily or almost daily
  • Giving up "fake food"
  • Having good manners and generally being nice to people
  • Choosing to be happy

However, there were other things she tried that I hadn't really thought about until reading the book, but when I tried them, made a huge difference:
  • Being silly with my kids. This was a game changer for me. I guess I didn't realize how serious and uptight of a mom I was. After little to no effort, other than telling myself to lighten up, I found that singing, dancing, wrestling, and silly joke telling with the girls made me so much happier, and in turn, them so much happier.
  • Laughing out loud. On purpose.
  • Not being negative/nagging with Dan and giving him proofs of love (I can't say that I haven't tried this before, but seeing new evidence that it helps is always good for a new boost).
  • Tackle a nagging task. Instead of letting something loom over my head (Ina's dentist appointment, rolling over Dan's old 401k, finding someone to watch the girls when Danielle is out of town, etc.) for much longer than necessary, as soon as I thought about the fact that it needed to be done I did it. So much relief!
A few other concepts that really stuck with me from this book:
  • Her happiness formula - look at my life and think about what makes me feel good, what makes me feel bad, what makes me feel right, and what makes me feel in an atmosphere of growth.
  • Something isn't going to be done unless I make time to do it
  • Be myself. Just because something makes one person happy doesn't mean it is going to make ME happy. 
  • Lighten up. Seriously, I can't tell you how much this has helped my family dynamic. 
  • A way to make myself happy is to make others happy. A way to make others happy is to be happy myself.
After reading this book, I really want to try a Happiness Project for myself. I generally consider myself a happy person, but it couldn't hurt to be "happier." Plus, as Rubin's husband points out at the end of her project, it will help me feel more in control of my life. 
As a Christian I know that I am actually not the one in control of my overall life, but there are many aspects of my life that would run smoother, be easier, yes, make me happier, if I had them under control. See the difference?
A few ideas I have jotted down already:
  1. Self care - making my appearance (hair, nails, eyebrows, etc.) a priority and not something I think about once every year. I know that this is incredibly vain, but it is what it is and when I got my hair cut and my eyebrows waxed I felt so much better about myself.
  2. Clutter: constantly a struggle.
  3. Prayer/bible reading: ingrain the routine.
  4. Parenting: less yelling, more loving, and getting out of the house in the morning without someone yelling.
  5. Marriage
  6. Pictures/photo organizing/photo printing
  7. Work: less down time and more productive time
  8. Relationships: be a good friend/family member
  9. Pursuing a passion - writing more.
A few more and I have my 2017 new year's resolution. If you want to join me, you have plenty of time to read the book in between now and then. :)

Have a great week!


  1. I LOVE THIS BOOK! It's sitting on my shelf right now. It was a great read before kids and I think now that I have an 18 month old, I might take another look at it with my mom eyes. Thanks for the reminder of this great find!

    1. Yes! Mom eyes are totally a real thing. Ha! :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm so glad you reviewed this book. I read it, too, this year and wanted to do a list like this so I'd remember things. This makes me want to go back and re-read it and take notes.

    I did, however, find her actual project very overwhelming, but she has helped others with it.

    I agree with you on self-care. It's not vain. It's the little things like after taking a shower, taking the time to blow dry my hair and straighten it rather than put it up immediately because I'm lazy. It's worth it to feel good!

    The thing I took away from her book about clutter (at least I think it was in her book and not somewhere else!) is that if it takes less than a minute to do - do it. I also am getting better at making sure everything has a "home" so there is always a place to put something back. Oh! I liked her tip on keeping magazines and things you want to read "later" together. She gave them a home so that when she'd go workout, all she had to do was go to that spot and grab them. It's such a little thing, but now I don't have magazines scattered everywhere.

    Thanks for the reminder, Racheal!


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