Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Let us dig into what exactly is her Happiness Project:
A “happiness project” is an approach to changing your life.
First is the preparation stage, when you identify what brings you joy, satisfaction, and engagement, and also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse.
Second is the making of resolutions, when you identify the concrete actions that will boost your happiness.
Then comes the interesting part: keeping your resolutions.

So the author took upon her Happiness Project and implemented it in her life by dividing all her resolutions in the months from January to December.

1 January: Boost Energy – Vitality
2 February: Remember Love – Marriage
3 March: Aim Higher – Work
4 April: Lighten Up – Parenthood
5 May: Be Serious About Play – Leisure
6 June: Make Time for Friends – Friendship
7 July: Buy Some Happiness – Money
8 August: Contemplate the Heavens – Eternity
9 September: Pursue a Passion – Books
10 October: Pay Attention Mindfulness
11 November: Keep a Contented Heart – Attitude
12 December: Boot Camp – Perfect Happiness

She has written extensively about her journey on her blog documenting her journey. What she did every month, what were her experiences, what she learned and how it contributed to her Happiness overall.

On the basis of what she learnt in this 12 months journey she developed her 12 Commandments


  1. Be Gretchen. (Be yourself)
    One of the biggest surprises of the happiness project was just how hard it was to know myself (Gretchen).
  2. Let it go.
    One fact of human nature is that people have a “negativity bias”: we react to the bad more strongly and persistently than to the comparable good. Hence for our well being it is much better to let go our negative thoughts /beliefs /grudges we hold on.
  3. Act the way I want to feel.
    I had to build my happiness on the foundation of my character; I had to acknowledge what really made me happy, not what I wished made me happy.
  4. Do it now.
    It isn’t goal attainment but the process of striving after goals—that is, growth—that brings happiness.
    By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished. We tend to overestimate how much we can accomplish in an hour or a week and underestimate how much we can accomplish in a month or a year, by doing just a little bit each day. “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”—Anthony Trollope .
  5. Be polite and be fair.
    Oscar Wilde observed, “One is not always happy when one is good; but one is always good when one is happy.
  6. Enjoy the process.
    One thing that makes a passion enjoyable is that you don’t have to worry about results. You can strive for triumph, or you can potter around, tinker, explore, without worrying about efficiency or outcomes.
  7. Spend out.
    People’s biggest worries include financial anxiety, health concerns, job insecurity, and having to do tiring and boring chores. Spent correctly, money can go a long way to solving these problems.
  8. Identify the problem.
    “What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you.”
  9. Lighten up.
    “The things that go wrong often make the best memories.”
  10. Do what ought to be done.
    One of the biggest surprises of the happiness project was just how hard it was to know myself.
  11. No calculation.
    William Butler Yeats. “Happiness,” wrote Yeats, “is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
  12. There is only love.
    Pierre Reverdy: “There is no love; there are only proofs of love.”

The author advocates that One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself. The author states that I found out what I knew all along: I could change my life without changing my life.

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
By contrast, Gretchen Rubin realized, happiness has four stages.
To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.

I insist you be a part of Gretchen Rubin Happiness journey and create your own Happiness Project.