Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Happiness Project: Here Goes Nothing

A few months ago Ashlee and I were in Anthropologie and we saw the book, The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. Since I’m a girl on a budget I typed the information into my phone so I could see if our library had a copy I could check out. Finally, about a week ago I got my hands on the book. I didn’t really have any expectations; it just looked like a fun book, a book about happiness.

I have been very pleased with what I’ve read and I am inspired to start my own Happiness Project, which I mentioned in my post earlier this week, when I wrote about my Twelve Commandments. What better time to start than with the new year beginning? I will be using Gretchen’s model as a starting point, making a few changes so the project relates better to me.

Let me start with sharing why I what to do this project. In her book Gretchen talks about how one day she realized that she wasn’t giving any thought to her life and she was in a rut of sorts. Sometimes I feel the same way, I’m waiting to arrive somewhere and not really appreciating the journey.

Gretchen talks about the “arrival fallacy,” the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happier. I repeatedly fall prey to this. I thought that I’d be happier when I graduated high school, then college, then my internship. Gretchen said, “This arrival fallacy is a fallacy because, though you may anticipate great happiness in arrival, arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate.” So true! I find that I am easily bogged down with life and the unknown of the future.

I often find myself so grumpy and down. Sometimes I think it is easier to be unhappy, it really takes no effort at all. It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light. I believe that one of the only things we have control of in life is our attitude. I hope this project will be beneficial in helping me grow and appreciate life. Gretchen said, “The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted.”

I am reminded of Elizabeth Gilbert’s own Happiness Project of sorts, Eat Pray Love, when she traveled the world. I wish I could do that, but I think I need to do as Gretchen did and work this into my life as it is now.

So here is my plan. Each month I will tackle a topic or theme. Under each topic or theme I will have specific resolutions to accomplish. As the months progress I will add to my tasks, so in March not only will I be working towards those resolutions, but I will continue with January and February as well. December will be boot camp month where I try to do ALL the resolutions together.

I am very hesitant to call these resolutions because of the stigma associated with "New Years Resolutions". People seem so flippant about them. I want these to be life changes, which is basically what resolutions are. Each day I will try to live up to my resolutions. Somedays I may succeed and some I may fail, but each day is going to be a new opportunity to change my life for the better. These resolutions are challenging, but they will give me the chance to grow.

Below are the topics I will cover and my January goals. I’ll share the rest of my goals as the months progress.

January: Energy
-Go to sleep earlier (I'm going to shoot for 10:30pm.)
-Exercise better
-No coffee or pop
-Act more energetic

February: Creativity
March: Work
April: Family
May: Faith
June: Play
July: Friends
August: Money
September: Education
October: Attitude
November: Food
December: Happiness


Ben Franklin said, “On the whole, though I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet as I was, by the endeavor, a better and happier man than I otherwise should have been had I not attempted it.”

What are your goals and resolutions for the new year?


  1. Heather -- I'm thrilled to hear that my work resonates with you, and I loved reading about your plans for YOUR happiness project! Can't wait to read more about it.

    HAPPY 2011!

  2. How exciting, Heather! I look forward to following along with you!

    ♥ Bethany

  3. Gretchen, I'm so honored that you took the time to read my blog. Thank you for sharing your own journey.

    Bethany, Thanks! I'm so excited to do this! :)