As promised in my Monday post, today we at God Blogging are attempting to launch a local Happiness Project. I’m following the starter kit advice from Happiness Project founder Gretchen Rubin for the topic of the first meeting, which is right now, virtually through this blog. (Yes, you’re at a meeting!) I’m looking for lots of participation, so if you read this blog and think “Hey, I’d like to be happier!” or “I know someone who should be happier!”, then jump in and add your resolutions in the comment section and send this blog to all your unhappy friends and family members.
If a large enough group forms here (and there is a valid vote of the people), we can take the next step and meet in person. Background on the original Happiness Project is at the end of this post, but for now, let’s start the meeting.
According to Gretchen (I’m thinking maybe we should get little wristbands that ask: “What would Gretchen do?”), the goals of a Happiness Project are to identify elements of your life that you want to change; find concrete, measurable resolutions that, if kept, will help you bring about that change; hold yourself accountable for keeping your resolutions; and decide whether you want to adjust, toss, or re-commit to a resolution.
So, let’s take the baby steps of identify, resolve and account for this next week. Who wants to go first? I’ll wait, jump right in. Don’t be shy. Anyone? Oh, alright, I’ll go first. Full disclosure: Being laid off sucks, and since the Tucson Citizen newspaper closed, I’ve been way more grumpy than usual. But aforementioned grumpiness is not making me happier – in fact, it is having the opposite effect. So the element in my life I want to change is my grumpiness, and my resolution would be to be less grumpy. HOWEVER, as Gretchen points out, vague resolutions get us nowhere. Confused? Here’s an example from Gretchen:
- Resolutions that are too general and thus, less effective — Find more joy in life. Appreciate the present. Be a more loving parent. Lose weight.
- Resolutions that are more specific and thus, more effective— Rent a movie once a week. Make your children dissolve into laughter once a day. Take a photograph each day. Take a 20-minute walk each day.
Concrete actions are what lead to happiness results – or so we hope. So, in my case, the two things I believe would lessen my grumpiness are getting rid of some of my isolation and getting a job. Ergo, I resolve to do something with a friend this week that will get me out of the house, and I resolve to set up a make-do Web site to host my clips so I can apply for media jobs that ask for links to published works instead of attachments in emails.
What about you? What do you think would make you happier? Think about it and post it in the comments section. Remember to be specific. Then we’ll meet back here next Wednesday to report on our successes. You can also follow discussions about this project from a nationwide perspective on the Happiness Project’s Facebook Page. I’ve joined and will try to follow some of the discussion threads to let folks in Tucson know what is up there. One thing that was posted yesterday was a question about how to explain Happiness Projects and a member left this great answer: “I explain it as an experiment in happiness: to carefully observe what makes us happy as well as a brainstorming session of sorts for ideas related to well-being.”
I think the careful observation part is really important. How many of us really know what makes us happy? How many of us even pay attention? Think about it, and join the convo!
The Happiness Project is a book to be published late this year by Gretchen Rubin recalling the year she spent “test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether form Aristotle or St. Terese or Martin Seligman or Oprah” about what makes people happy. Her daily blog recounts her adventures and insights during her year of trying to be happier. It is on the blog that Gretchen gives tips on how to start local Happiness Projects and also talks to people about personal commandments, rules, accountability, etc. It’s a great multimedia site, and you can go visit it here.