Earlier this year, I joined a fun book club. When asked to join, my first response was “I’m not really a book club kind of girl.” And my friend’s response was, “Oh – we just get together and drink wine.” Now that I could get into.
The first book on the docket was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I was totally intrigued because I’m always into real life stories, I like the self-help genre, and it seemed relatable. And it totally was. One of the first lines that really grabbed me was this: “How can I discipline myself to feel grateful for my ordinary day?” Who wouldn’t want to accomplish that?? Another good one: “Aim for a higher standard of behavior.”
I won’t give away any spoilers, but a couple of things in that book have totally impacted my life. That seems extreme to say, but it’s true. The first “Happiness” take away that I literally use everyday is…
“Don’t postpone any task that can be done in less than one minute.”
I adhere to this advice (sometimes actually saying it out loud) and it makes a big difference in my day. Once I put My Girl to bed, I don’t have a dozen small projects to get to; I’ve completed them as the day progressed. Which obviously means I have an extra 15 minutes of Real Housewives watching. Whoop!
My other big take away is to make a list of nagging projects that you always think, “Oh – I should really do that” but you actually never do and you totally forget about it until you have another fleeting reminder to get it done. I made a list of about 20 constantly-neglected things and placed it prominently on my refrigerator – and a month later, everything had been completed. I felt so accomplished and, honestly, less stressed. Having the list constantly right in front of my nose kept me motivated to be productive when I had an extra 20 minutes in my day. And a lot of those things could be accomplished while watching Real Housewives. Double whoop!
I haven’t made a full-on Happiness Project for myself, but I may. And I really do intend to incorporate some other ideas of hers into my life – like raiding my closet, treating my husband to a full week of nothing but niceness, becoming a recorder of my family’s memories.
If you’re interested in The Happiness Project, give her website a good look.
And since I love a good quote, so I’ll leave you with one last one from Ms. Rubin: “I have a healthy, affectionate little girl, and I want my actions as a parent to rise to the level of that good fortune.”