Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Very Own "Happiness Project"

I've mentioned "The Happiness Project" in my last two blog posts, so I wanted to take a moment to tell you why I loved this book so much, and why I highly recommend it to anyone who is trying to enjoy their life more and be present in every situation. I honestly don't know where to begin, so I'll just give you a brief synopsis of the book so you know if you would benefit from reading it or not.

Gretchen Rubin, the author, realized that although she was happy, she was letting life slide by without soaking in the moments She knew she could become even happier. So she started her own "happiness project". Each month she concentrated on a certain area of her life to intentionally become a happier person. One month she organized and purged. Another month she focused on parenting. This chapter was especially inspirational for me. She made her kids laugh at least once a day. She gave them time without any other distractions. One of her main rules was "Be Gretchen." She realized that she had to be who she was, not what she thought she should be or what others thought she should be.

Disclaimer: Parts of the book I found unrelatable. For example, one month she focused on finding a spirtual master. Way to "new-agey" for me. I absolutely believe that Jesus Christ should be the center of our life and without Him it is impossible to be truly satisfied, but I also believe that in some ways we are masters of our own fate and there are ways we can make our like better than its current state.

It sounds cheesy, but this book has really changed my life. There. I said it. It's crazy, but it's true. I feel totally empowered and inspired. Let me give you some examples:

  • The other night I was so tired of looking at Ysmaille's pile of clothes on his dresser. So I folded them and hung them up. It took maybe a minute. I immediately felt better and I'm sure he appreciated that I wasn't nagging.

  • Today I was on the internet, for no other reason that it was available. I noticed Ysmaille and Amirah on the floor playing. They were having so much fun together. And although I was in the room with them I was totally unengaged. I stopped what I was doing and joined them.

  • Last night as I was driving to a party the song "Cotton-eye Joe" came on the radio. I immediately turned the station because I didn't want anyone to hear me listening to THAT song. Then I thought, "This is ridiculous. I actually kind of like this song and it makes me happy." So I turned it up and sang along. I was being Melanie. No apologies.

I don't know what the next 12 weeks will look like, but I do know this. I am going to make some small changes to my life that will hopefully add up in a big way.

January's goal: Organize and purge.

I've already cleaned out Amirah's closet and started reading "Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay That Way!" Thanks to Sabrina for the loan.


  1. OMG- I totally heard Cotton Eyed Joe the other night on the radio in my car, turned it WAY UP and danced & sang til my heart was content. : )

  2. Melanie, I read this post about a month ago, and was interested. I came back to read it again because it really has me intrigued. The premise of the book, letting life slide by without really soaking it in, is one of my greatest fears! I've been trying to make improvements in several of these areas of my life, but my lack of focus and attempt to master them all at once has made success seem elusive. I'm definitely checking this out. Thanks for sharing!