good reads: the happiness project

New Year, New Me, right? What if in 2020 you actually went through with all of your goals and came out the other side an improved version of yourself? It might be something small that you keep putting aside, like drinking more water and going to bed earlier. Or it could be something bigger like loosing 50 pounds and finding that perfect job. No matter which goal you are trying to accomplish, Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project is a great motivator to get you started.

In her year long experience, Rubin sets off to discover how to create true happiness. Divided in months, each chapter is dedicated to a specific area of her life that she wanted to improve but wasn't taking the time to put in the work. Drawing on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world examples, she delivers an engaging, eminently relatable chronicle of transformation.

I read this book back in September and as soon as finished I felt really inspired to work on my own Happiness Project. I thought, what better time to start than with the new year around the corner? So in 2020 I'm going to work on 12 news habits / areas of my life that I want to improve and challenge myself to stick to it all year long!

The following is the list of areas Rubin worked on and their corresponding actions.

JANUARY - Boost Energy (Vitality)

  • Go to sleep earlier

  • Exercise better

  • Toss, restore, organize

  • Tackle a nagging task

  • Act more energetic

FEBRUARY - Remember Love (Marriage)

  • Quit nagging

  • Don't expect praise

  • Fight right

  • No dumping

  • Give proofs of love

MARCH - Aim Higher (Work)

  • Launch a blog

  • Enjoy the fun of failure

  • Ask for help

  • Work smart

  • Enjoy now

APRIL - Lighten Up (Parenthood)

  • Sing in the morning

  • Acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings

  • Be a treasure house of happy memories

  • Take time for projects

MAY - Serious About Play (Leisure)

  • Find more fun

  • Take time to be silly

  • Go off the path

  • Start a collection

JUNE - Make Time For Friends (Friendship)

  • Remember birthdays

  • Be generous

  • Show up

  • Don't gossip

  • Make three new friends

JULY - Buy Some Happiness (Money)

  • Indulge in a modest splurge

  • Buy needful things

  • Spend out

  • Give something up

AUGUST - Contemplate The Heavens (Eternity)

  • Read memoirs of catastrophe

  • Keep a gratitude notebook

  • Imitate a spiritual master

SEPTEMBER - Pursue a Passion (Books)

  • Write a novel

  • Make time

  • Forget about results

  • Master a new technology

OCTOBER - Pay Attention (Mindfulness)

  • Meditate on koans

  • Examine true rules

  • Stimulate the mind in new ways

  • Keep a food diary

NOVEMBER - Keep a Contented Heart (Attitude)

  • Laugh out loud

  • Use good manners

  • Give positive reviews

  • Find an area of refuge

DECEMBER - Boot Camp Perfect (Happiness)

  • Recap of the year

In the book she mentions feeling a better sense of accomplishment when she was able to check something off a list, so I bought a wall calendar where I'll be able to write down my actions and check them everyday to see how I'm doing. That way I'll have a daily visual motivation and it's an easy way to track my progress at the end of the year.

I've always been the kind of person to look back at the past year and reflect on the good and bad and what I would like to change and improve, but that motivation always seemed to fade by March, so I'm very excited to challenge myself this year and see how far I can go with this project.

What about you, what would be included in your Happiness Project?