The Happiness Project

I recently read a new book titled “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I have to tell you, sorry Matt, that I think that I have found my soulmate.

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

Gretchen wasn’t necessarily unhappy, she has an amazing husband and two loving daughters, but she realized that she wasn’t as happy as she would like to be. After researching the root causes of happiness and the psychology behind the feeling of happiness, Gretchen tackled a new set of resolutions every month: give proofs of live, ask for help, make time for fun and forget about results. And instead of drastically changing her life, she focused on improving the life she has already build.

During parts of the book, I felt as if I was reading about my own life. Gretchen and I seem to have very similar personailities:

  1. We both seek recognition for our accomplishments (i.e. we are always looks for the gold star),
  2. We nag our husbands and want them to be excited about the chorse we dole out, and
  3. We both get caught up in all of the things on our to do list that we forget why it is we are doing these things in the first place.

When I read the conversations between her and her husband, I could almost hear my own voice saying those same things to Matt. It was very surreal experience to read her  thoughts throughout the book; thinking the exact same things.

I began my own happiness project a year and a half ago when I began this blog. Like Gretchen, on paper, I had (and still have) a pretty good life. But I wasn’t as happy as I thought I should be. I was focusing on all of the negatives in my life instead of on the little things that make life so amazing. And while my project is a lot less organized that Gretchen’s; I think it is working. I can definitely say that I am much happier than I was when I started this blog.

But I am the first to admit, I still have a ways to go. I still want Matt to wantto take out the trash. I definitely still seek those gold stars. And I am still cranky if I am tired and/or hungry. But thanks largly to Robin Hood, my happiness in life has improved. As Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Thank you for following, commenting and supporting my happiness project. And don’t worry –  it is far from over.

30 Day Challenge

When I was home this weekend, my mom and I were talking about happiness.

Happiness seems like something that you should  achieve naturally. It seems like it should be this euphoric state that comes over you without a conscious effort to make it happen. Because if it were something that you were working towards, it would feel too forced to be true happiness. However, we both decided that this isn’t the way things work.

We were saying how happiness isn’t something that just happens; you need to take steps to find it and achieve it. You need to put yourself out there and figure out what will make you happy and then do it. It requires work, which can seem counterintuitive.

One of the things I miss most about swimming is the concept of being part of team and having goals that you work to achieve together. Having people hold you accountable for your actions and contributions to those goals can lead to incredible things. It may sound cliché, but we can achieve so much more together than we could as individuals. So, this weekend, we decided that together, we were going to take steps together to help us continue to find happiness in our lives.

After being Freshly Pressed last week, I had to opportunity to read a lot of blogs from folks who left comments on my post. One blogger wrote a post on her blog, “A Bit Of Everything” that featured a TED talk about 30 day challenges:

After watching it, my mom and I knew this was something we wanted to try. There are so many little things that we have always wanted to do, but for some reason or other, have never done. The 30 day challenge packages these things in a way that seem manageable and somewhat fun. After inviting Abby into the fun, we decided to start a blog  so that we could document our shared experiences (sorry, it is private – my mom isn’t ready for the fame that comes from a public blog just yet).

So with our newly minted blog, we have set out on our first challenge: take a picture every day for the next 30 days and post it to our site.

Our first 30 day challenge is not earth-shattering. It will not change our lives. But it will allow us to share and appreciate a small piece  of each other’s daily lives. And while it may not be awe-inspiring photography, I believe we will at least capture a few moments and memories that we may have otherwise missed.

Onward to happiness!