I first heard of this book on a podcast, and have heard it referenced several times since. (That’s usually an indication it needs to be added to my list of self-help books.) I just finished Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project book. Everyone could use a little more happiness in their life, so I’ll share a few thoughts.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with or endorsed by the publisher or author, and am receiving no compensation for writing this article.

The Happiness Project

This book is the reflections of Gretchen Rubin’s year dedicated to being more happy. Gretchen wasn’t depressed, or even unhappy, but she wanted to make a conscious effort to increase her happiness. I think that is a worthy goal!

Gretchen broke her year into a theme for each month, with associated resolutions. Each month, she would add her new resolutions to the ones she’d started since January. In December, her goal was to execute all the resolutions from January through November perfectly. She called that month “Boot Camp-Perfect.” The book tells the story of her experience throughout the year of her Happiness Project.

The themes Gretchen Rubin chose for her Happiness Project were:

  • Energy
  • Marriage
  • Work
  • Parenthood
  • Leisure
  • Friendship
  • Money
  • Eternity
  • Pursue a Passion
  • Mindfulness
  • Attitude

These choices were based on her research of what influences happiness as well as what felt right to her. She stated in the book that each person’s Happiness Project would be unique. (And encouraged readers to start their own happiness project.)

Resolution Chart

Gretchen took inspiration from Benjamin Franklin’s virtues chart. She created a sheet where she could score herself each day on how she performed on her resolutions. This resolution chart was credited with being the single most effective step in her Happiness Project. This makes sense in the context of what James Clear wrote in Atomic Habits about using a habit tracker.

Nuggets of Wisdom

There were some great nuggets from the book. Gretchen Rubin’s “Twelve Commandments of Happiness” were very insightful. I also enjoyed “The Four Splendid Truths” from the Happiness Project. (She has added 4 more since writing the book.) Gretchen’s “Secrets of Adulthood” also hold good wisdom.

The Happiness Project Book

Though I didn’t agree with every idea in the book, it was well written and includes references to her research, her own personal experiences, and insight from blog readers who followed along in her journey. I love the idea of a Happiness Project! I recommend getting a copy of the book for yourself so you can learn how to create your own Happiness Project. I’m putting together one of my own, and I hope to be able to report back positively on my Happiness Project right here on the Personal Improvement Academy blog! 

Looking for another great self-help book? Check out this Girl, Wash Your Face.

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