So, picture this.
You’re 18, in your first year of college at a university 600 miles from home. You’ve had some trouble adjusting, and have come to find yourself homesick, lonely, and generally unhappy. Aimlessly walking around the bookstore, you stumble across this bright blue and yellow book in the Self-Help section. The Happiness Project you read, and you’re intrigued by the author’s inspirational description: “Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.” It sounds like everything you need some more of in your life. And so, you begin the trek back to your dorm, with your new book in hand, eager to get reading about this Happiness Project.
Because who knows, maybe it could actually help you?
The Happiness Project: What is it?
For those of you who have not read The Happiness Project, it is essentially a one year account of the author’s journey of self-development. The Author, Gretchen Rubin, dedicated one month at a time to an aspect of her life that she wanted to improve. For example, in January, her first month, she focused on her Energy. She wrote out 5 resolutions that she would devote her time and focus to for the month, i.e getting more sleep, exercising regularly, increasing her water intake. Come February, she shifted her focus onto something else, while still carrying on her resolutions from January, and so on. By the end of the year, the idea was to be this one big happy ball of good habits and good intentions, living the good life.
Enter: Me. Laney!
That college freshman was me two years ago. I was having the toughest time acclimating to my new home. Isolation, boredom, and binge-eating became my norm. This book gave me the nudge that I needed to make a change in my life. It urged me to assess all angles of my situation, and rethink my perspective, attitude, and lifestyle. In the two years since first reading this book, I’ve changed the way I live my life. Now, I’m ready to take the next step.
I will soon be launching my own Happiness Project! My hope is that dedicating myself to this year-long project will hold me accountable, and allow me to reap the same benefits as Gretchen.
Now, part of the appeal of the “Happiness Project” for me was how Gretchen organized it. She outlined her project in a way that made my virgo heart sing. She was detailed, thorough, and focused. On top of her monthly resolutions, she gave herself 12 commandments; kind of overarching principles that she would always remember and remind herself of if she was struggling, or found herself resorting back to some old habits. Lastly, in addition to resolutions and commandments, she made a “Secrets of Adulthood” list, a slightly less serious list of reminders consisting of notes like “always bring a sweater, and soap and water remove most stains.”
I plan to organize my project the same way: commandments, monthly resolutions, and my own version of Gretchen’s “Secrets of Adulthood”, though mine will be more of “Secrets of your very early twenties”.
Stay tuned for a post outlining my full year to come!