Thursday, August 25, 2011

The project of happiness

I just read the greatest book, and had to release my feelings. Its called "The Happiness Project."

Gretchen Rubin was a middle aged woman with two children, married living in New York and working as a lawyer turned writer. She sat down one day and asked herself the question
"am I really truly happy?"
She realized that yes, she was happy, but she found herself yearning for more and to not forget how fortunate she was. She decided that every month she would dedicate her life to a few goals and resolutions that she wanted to tackle.
For example; in January she would go to sleep earlier, exercise better, toss restore and organize, tackle a nagging task and act more energetic. Every month she changed the topic and focused on resolutions on that subject, such as, work, children, love, energy, health, etc.

When I started reading this book, her optimism was extremely infectious. (Even though it was in writing). She realized she had things she wasn't perfect at, and she wanted a change. The book is full of tidbits about happiness and how it is so much deeper than just a random emotion. I was constantly having an "Oprah" AHA! Moment, and highlighting like crazy. My book looks like it has been through a children's coloring rampage.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book really put happiness into perspective for example-

" One is not always happy when one is good; but one is always good when one is happy."

"Its part of being human, isn't it? And more particularly so in the world we live in- we see so much of what other people do, have, are...But then there's the majority of humanity who have SO MUCH LESS than us- we are the rich, privileged west. That usually sobers me up when I start comparing my material situation to that of others who have X, Y or Z."

"One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.
One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself."

Gretchen also talks about having a list of
personal commandments.
I came up with a few of my own.
  • Forget the past
  • talk to strangers
  • stay in touch
  • stop the venting and complaining
  • go outside
  • give thanks: for the ordinary and the extraordinary
  • Be the kind of woman ill want my future daughters to be.
  • choose not to take things personally
  • Imagine my eulogy: how do I want to be remembered?
  • What would I do if I weren't scared?
  • Be specific about my needs.
  • Giving without limits, give without expectations.
  • Let it go
As she goes through each month and her goals tackle her problems such as money, her marriage, her friendships and her health she comes to the realization of "by pushing myself to be mindful of my happiness, I can truly experience it."

This book was a huge wake up call for me. I realized in my own life that I was living in the moment, but not fully appreciating the world around me, and the things that truly make me happy. The joy I get from reading, spending time with family, creating better bonds with friends, enjoying my amazing boyfriend, and looking at the positives of my fortunate life.

I don't know if ill exactly complete a happiness project of my own with specific goals for each month, but I did walk away with the conscious decision to change the way I view the world. I need a positive attitude, a smile, some jokes, and determination to be better at whatever I do. For once I feel in control of my own happiness, obtaining it, truly appreciating it and enjoying the emotion I feel on a daily basis. Because lets be honest, it may not be a good day, every day, but there is something good in every day. If you get a chance, definitely read this book. You can also go to her website,

I know this post also sounds like I'm receiving some sort of incentive or payment, but I'm really not. I truly just really enjoyed the book and am making a conscious effort to recommend it to my friends! Although if Gretchen Rubin wants to personally send me a check I wouldn't be opposed to that idea... ;)


  1. Catherine, may I borrow this book from you?

  2. I have been wanting to read this book but have been too cheap to buy it full price. After reading your blog I think it will be money well spent. :)

    I loved those quotes you put up.

    And the pictures :D Especially the last one. So cute. I'm printing it out and hanging it in my room.

  3. I LOVED this book! Glad you found and enjoyed it too! Sometimes when you read a great book, it just must explode out of you. I am not a re-reader, but this one is on my list to read again. It IS so full of great ideas. Love your personal commandments!

  4. i want/need to read this! thank you kitty cat. you are a beauty.