Talk about taking on a major New Year's resolution! Gretchen Rubin took on such a large project that it called for a large title for the resulting book, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.
Gretchen Rubin is totally honest about her own inclinations and faults. She admits, "I have a perfectionist, dissatisfied, fretful, worrying nature, and I'm not easily thrilled." So, she decided to take on a happiness project, a different approach to changing her life. Each month, she took one step to work on her happiness, and, as a result, the happiness of her family. Rubin felt as if she was failing to appreciate the life she had. She said she was haunted by the words of the writer Colette. "What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner!" Rubin was determined to lead a happier life, by changing her moods, her actions, and her life. So, she dedicated one year of her life to trying to be happier.
The resulting book takes us through that year, month-by-month. Each month, Rubin focused on an over-all project, but the following months would build on the first. So, in January, she tried to boost her energy, get enough sleep, and exercise. In February, she wanted to remember the love in her marriage. Then, in March, when the focus was work, she started her Happiness Project blog, a blog that caught the attention of others wanting to change their lives.
My favorite month was September. That month was spent in pursuing a passion, and Rubin's was books. It's a passion I share, so it was interesting to read about her month devoted to books. Gretchen Rubin is a reader, and all of her steps along the way were inspired by books. There's a lengthy list of books about happiness at the end of this one.
Rubin admits she didn't accomplish everything she wanted. But, she knows the attempt to achieve happiness is a life-long quest. She learned a great deal about herself during the year. Most of all, she learned that she needed to "Be Gretchen." Great advice, to learn to be ourselves in order to be happy.
The Happiness Project is an inspirational book for anyone who might want to change their life, or even shake it up just a little. Gretchen Rubin has given all of us something to think about in this account of her own resolution.
Gretchen Rubin's website is http://www.happiness-project.com
The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin. HarperCollins, ©2009. ISBN 9780061583254 (hardcover), 301p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this review copy from the publisher so I could read and review the book.