So I did it. I read The Happiness Project. I am going to be completely honest with you, I am not a self-help book kind of person. I think more often or not they are a bit hokey to me and I just don’t enjoy or take much from them. However, I have heard so many people say that The Happiness Project really did change their entire outlook on life or really gave them insight. I figured, why not? I am not going to go in to a whole review of the book or anything like that, but I do want to share a few things that I have really taken from the book that are already improving my life.
- Be Nadine – There are several references in the book where Gretchen tries something new or feels forced to do something and then she asks if this is something Gretchen would do or like. I am a people-pleaser. I know this about myself. Sometimes I will do something I don’t enjoy or act like I agree with someone just to please. Here’s the thing though, I am not being Nadine. Obviously there are compromises in life. I am talking about forcing yourself to do things you don’t like because you feel like you should like it or other people like it so maybe if you keep trying you will too. Enough!!! Just be yourself. Be true to yourself and you will find that you are a lot happier!!! Now, I was never one to be fake. I am the same Nadine in any situation, just sometimes if I am in a more professional setting or around people I don’t know I might be a more conservative version of myself but I will never pretend to be someone I am not. This is more about not forcing myself to like or want to do things that aren’t me.
- Do It Now – I can procrastinate about things. It is one of my flaws. I work much better when I am under a time crunch. One of Gretchen’s things is if a task takes a minute or less to do….do it now. How simple is that?!?!? All of the one minute tasks can add up really quickly if you let them slide. I am putting this to practice in my life right now and it is making such a difference in my productivity!!!
- Letting go of things that don’t bring you joy. I know I read Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but it really did nothing for me. Listening to Gretchen talk about her organizing was much more motivational and I related to it much more. Basically you want to let go of things that don’t bring you joy. She made the point that your closet will have more room and be much more organized with less items. And while you have less clothes, it will feel like you have more because you literally love everything you have. It just clicked and I let go of two huge trash bags full of items after reading this book.
- Identify the problem, find a solution. This is another simple concept but makes so much sense. Gretchen’s example was that there were these tiny little trinket toys that her kids loved and wanted to keep. The problem? There was no where to store them and having them all over the house drove Gretchen nuts. The solution? She went to The Container Store and bought beautiful glass jars to store them in and she put them on a shelf so not only do they have a home, but they look cute with her decor. If there is something in your life, home or work that isn’t making you happy, identify what the problem is and come up with a solution. Chances are you can only benefit from this!
- Needing gold stars. There is a section of the book where Gretchen talks about her relationship with her husband. It really hit home for me because it reminds me of how I can be. Gretchen admitted that she needs “gold stars” of recognition for things that she is constantly doing around the house and she feels like maybe her husband takes it for granted. I personally take on most of our household cleaning. While most days I go about my business and think nothing of it, some days I will come home and just be irritated that there is a pile of laundry on Chris’s side of the bed or he left a stack of dishes in the sink that I need to put in the dishwasher. Gretchen says that instead of being irritated that you are now having to do that task…think more of the fact that you are doing it for yourself because you cant stand to have the mess or clutter. This way, you can’t be let down when you don’t receive recognition or appreciation for these tasks. Mind. Blown.
There is so much more that I took away from the book, like simply waking up and choosing to be happy. But these are the top five things that I have put into practice and am happier for it. Have you read The Happiness Project or ever worked on a happiness project of your own? Jenn has her own Happiness Project that you could read about too if you are looking for ideas! her talking about the book and her own project was actually the final push for me to read this for myself so thanks Jenn!