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The Happiness Project

February 8, 2010

I am a very goal-oriented person.When I was  younger, I had so many programs that provided me with the goals I strived for. In Young Womans I had Personal Progress as I worked toward my Young Woman Medallion. I had Girl Scouts too, with so many different badges and goals. And of course there was always school with the always-present goal of graduation, and then, college. As I get older, however, more and more of those structured goal programs have fallen away. Even school is over, for now anyway. It’s like the world has said to me, “Ok, Allison, that’s it! You don’t have to grow or challenge yourself anymore. You’ve made it to complete adulthood.”

But I resist that attitude. Right now in my life, I have my job, which even though I love, isn’t exactly much of a challenge. I have my marriage, which of course does need constant work. I have my church calling and housekeeping. Which are all very good things, but without school it’s hard not to feel that something’s missing. I miss having concrete goals to work towards and the feeling of growth and accomplishment as I reach them. Maybe there is no longer someone to give the goals to me and tell me what I need to work towards, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start making my own goals and resolutions to keep. I don’t think a person is ever done growing!

Recently I started reading a book that gave me just the inspiration and direction I needed to start my own program for growing. The book is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The author of this book realized that even though she was happy, she wanted to see if she could make herself even happier. So she did a lot of research on happiness and started her very own year-long happiness project. She made resolutions each month and tried to keep all her resolutions from the previous months and at the end of the year she was going to see if by making these small changes in her life, if she could make herself any happier. It’s a really good read, and I found myself relating to so many things the author said. I’m still not finished with the book, but I’m excited to see how it turns out for her!

The thing that struck me the most as I read was Gretchen’s First Splendid Truth: To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth. That last part is my favorite; ‘an atmosphere of growth.’ I discovered that ‘an atmoshpere’ of growth is exactly what I need to be happy too.

So now I am working on developing the structure for my own year-long happiness project. I decided I would use February for the preparation stage and start the project in March. March is a significant month for me because when I was in Young Womans I did a Personal Progress project in March that I called Project GW (or Project Good Works). As I think about my resolutions, I’m realizing how long a year really is! I want to start all my resolutions right now! But I know if I do I will be completely overwhelmed. So instead I will go month by month, day by day, and see what kind of progress I can make at being a better, happier person.

I highly recommend the book to everyone! You can also check out the website at

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    February 12, 2010 11:13 am

    I recent read a review of this book and want to read it. Unfortunatly my local library doesn’t have it. I was thinking about an inter- library loan, so, now that I have read your post I will head to the library sometime soon and request this book.
    Hope all is well and you are happy!

  2. Karen permalink
    February 12, 2010 11:14 am

    Ahh, spelling mistakes! I hate them. Please ignore them.

  3. Cassie permalink
    February 18, 2010 11:20 pm

    wow! that sounds like an amazing book! i hope you accomplish your happiness goals! 😀 love you!

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