The happiness project summary

[Book Review] The Happiness Project

Once again the thrift store bookshelf made me buy another self-improvement book. This time it was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The book wasn’t in the best shape but something about the bright blue cover and the theme of happiness that intrigued me. Apparently the world was telling me I needed more happiness in my life.

But I didn’t read the book right away. I left it on my shelf for months. Even started it in the summer but never got into it. So back on the shelf, it went. Until recently when I made a resolution to start reading the books I already have before buying any more books. And once again the bright blue cover caught my eye.

What I Thought About The Happiness Project

I loved how raw her writing was. It wasn’t preachy about what you should do or how to act. But raw about her own behaviours. She wrote about some of her undesirable behaviours (nagging and snapping) that were affecting her happiness and the happiness of her family.

I loved that she was true to herself throughout the process. “Remember to be Gretchen.” That something that really stuck with me. That you have to be brave enough to be yourself. And that something that makes someone else happy might not make you happy. That something you used to make you happy, might not make you happy now. And that’s ok!

Personally, I thought this book was more of a journey of self-discovery than truly finding happiness. Yes, finding happiness was the theme of the book but the book was really the journey of one finding what happiness looks for themselves. The discovery of what makes you happy and what doesn’t make you happy. And being brave enough to embrace your happiness choices.

I loved that she shared her failures. She was real with her struggles. And that she just didn’t make this project a fluffy Pinterest worthy endeavour.

One Sentence Journal

I love the idea of a one-sentence journal. While I am a lover of my bujo, I can appreciate the informal nature of a one-sentence journal. A journal that is unformatted and raw. A place to write down a quick moment in time.

You can buy her One Sentence Journal here.

What I Didn’t Like About The Happiness Project

The only negative of the book was the inclusion of blog post comments. I just didn’t love them. I get that the comments were helpful to make the content relatable to the reader. And that the comments did provide different perspectives on the content, I just didn’t love them in the flow of the book.

Takeaways From The Happiness Project For Me

  1. You are responsible for your own happiness
  2. Not everything you do will make you happy
  3. Making others happy, will help you feel happier
  4. Stay Present – Enjoy Now
  5. Read The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux
  6. Start a one-sentence journal

Quotes From The Happiness Project That I Loved

Quote by Collette ”what a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

“Never start a sentence with no offence”

“A line by G. K. Chesterton echoed in my head: “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light”

“Look for happiness under your own roof.”

“Pierre Reverdy wrote: “There is no love; there are only proofs of love.”

“It’s hard to find pleasure in the company of someone who finds nothing pleasing.”

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

“I can DO ANYTHING I want, but I can’t DO EVERYTHING I want.”

“Enthusiasm is a form of social courage.”

“Life is too short to save your good china or your good lingerie or your good ANYTHING for later because truly, later may never come.”

“You hit a goal, you keep a resolution”

Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project

January: Vitality

  • Go to sleep earlier
  • Exercise better
  • Toss, restore, organize
  • Tackle a nagging task
  • Act more energetic

February:  Marriage 

  • Quit nagging
  • Don’t expect praise or appreciation
  • Fight right
  • No dumping
  • Give proofs of love

March:  Work

  • Launch a blog
  • Enjoy the fun of failure
  • Ask for help
  • Work smart
  • Enjoy now

April:  Parenthood

  • Sing in the morning
  • Acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings
  • Be a treasure house of happy memories
  • Take time for projects

May: Leisure

  • Find more fun
  • Take time to be silly
  • Go off the path
  • Start a collection 

June:  Friendship

  • Remember birthdays
  • Be generous
  • Show up
  • Don’t gossip
  • Make three new friends

July: Money

  • Indulge in a modest splurge 
  • Buy needful things
  • Spend out
  • Give something up

August:  Eternity 

  • Read memoirs of catastrophe
  • Keep a gratitude notebook
  • Imitate a spiritual master

September:  Books

  • Write a novel
  • Make time
  • Forget about results
  • Master a new technology

October:  Mindfulness

  • Meditate on koans
  • Examine True Rules
  • Stimulate the mind in new ways
  • Keep a food diary

November:  Attitude

  • Laugh out loud
  • Use good manners
  • Give positive reviews 
  • Find an area of refuge.

December:  Happiness

  • Everything (She aimed to do everything from the previous months altogether)

How To Start A Happiness Project

If you are looking to start your own happiness project, I urge you to check out Gretchen Rubin’s website The website is full of free resources to help you get started on your happiness journey.

Other Happiness Project Ideas

  • Spend time outside
  • Travel
  • Explore your city
  • Get to know your neighbours
  • Spread of kindness
  • Listen to music
  • Dance
  • Limit technology
  • Social media free month
  • Eat more colourful veggies
  • Learn to pick your battles
  • Learn a new skill
  • Finish an unfinished project
  • Go on adventures
  • Be spontaneous
  • Read a challenging novel
  • Try new restaurants

Not Sure What Makes You Happy? Check Out This Blog Post On Creating Your Happy List

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