Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project caught my attention from the bookshop shelf. The idea of a ‘project’ is really appealing – it conveys the impression of having a real plan and goal, something to work towards and be making progress on.

I love that Gretchen devoted a whole year to learning about and working on her happiness. That much research is bound to provide insight, and she shares it really convincingly.”

“The idea of a ‘project’ is really appealing – it conveys the impression of having a real plan and goal, something to work towards and be making progress on.”

“The book’s structure is appealing: Rubin splits her project into themes by month. ‘January: Boost Energy’ gets things off to an active start. The strategies she uses here to boost her energy are straightforward common-sense tips – e.g. go to sleep earlier, tackle a nagging task – but reading about how she puts them into practice and hearing about the litany of feel-good results she gets thanks to doing them really encouraged me to kick into action.”

“reading about the lift Rubin gets from tackling things she’s been putting off has encouraged me to become more aware of tasks I’m delaying”

“It’s genuinely hard to read this book and not be inspired to ‘get doing’!

Action #1: I started with a 30-day wardrobe declutter which resulted in several large sacks being donated (plus a major sense of satisfaction!). This chapter also really spoke to the procrastinator in me – reading about the lift Rubin gets from tackling things she’s been putting off has encouraged me to become more aware of tasks I’m delaying, why I’m delaying them, and to get to grips with them sooner rather than later…definitely an energy-boosting action!

One of her lines stood out for me: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” I keep reminding myself now how much better it can be to do something imperfectly than not to do it at all!”

“Action #2: The biggest and most meaningful action which reading The Happiness Project has encouraged me to undertake has been setting up and keeping a daily resolutions chart. Rubin’s assertion that “you manage what you measure” rang so true for me that I now keep a (somewhat mortifyingly!!) extensive spreadsheet of how I’m meeting – or not meeting! – the goals that are most important to me on a daily basis. This has really given me some much-needed oversight and focus. Like Gretchen, I’ve been finding that writing things down, having checkboxes, and being able to visually review how much time I’m devoting daily and weekly to my goals and priorities is hugely helpful – even life-changing!

Action #3: I’ve also incorporated into this chart her idea of a one-sentence journal from the August chapter: every day I try to record one ‘gold-star moment’ on it – just something small that’s made me smile or feel grateful during the day. I haven’t been doing this part for long, but already love reading back over it. I’d forget these little moments otherwise.”

“Action #4: In October (‘Pay Attention’ month), Gretchen keeps a food diary to encourage herself to eat mindfully. So there is now a food diary tab on my mega-spreadsheet! It’s the action from the book that, for me, has taken the most effort, but has also made the most impact. Sometimes just knowing that I’ll have to record what I’m about to eat prompts me to think twice about eating it at all…!

Action #5: Another simple idea Gretchen has that really appealed to me was starting an interests log – somewhere to keep track of little obsessions, passions, and recurring interests. Much like her, I’m not completely sure yet why I’m keeping this log, but I’ve been enjoying adding to it, and feel as though it could prove useful or inspirational in the future in who-knows-what magical ways!”

“the reality is that reading a book like this gets people motivated.”

I’d recommend The Happiness Project to my fellow YOU users because it ‘pressed my reset button’. Rubin’s get-up-and-go, sensible practical approach, helpful tips, insightful research, and sheer enthusiasm seeped into my consciousness, got me feeling inspired and positive, and spurred me into constructive action before I even really realised it.

I think people – if they’re like me, at least! – sometimes wait until they’re feeling motivated before they’ll read a book like this. The reality is that reading a book like this gets people motivated. It definitely did that for me, and is still helping me build some really useful new habits. I hope that reading it and dipping into The Happiness Project action pack will hold the same great benefits for all the YOU community too.”

-Fi, Dublin

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