The idea for this blog arose a while ago when reading Gretchen Rubin’s novel The Happiness Project. I have been reading many books on happiness, books that prescribe meditation, that tell you to stop procrastinating, that know your own emotions better than you do. You must do this and you most definitely should not do that. What I loved about The Happiness Project is that Gretchen Rubin does not make you do anything – one thing is not better than another. She describes what worked and what did not work for her, and from there on you can decide for yourself which strategies you want to adopt and integrate into your own life, and which ones you would rather disregard.
From her book I got the idea to start my own Happiness Project, with August as the first month. Rubin gave every month a different theme, such as “Boost energy” for January and “Lighten up” for April. In those months she would set herself little goals and resolutions which on the long term would increase her happiness. My first month of the project will be similar to Rubin’s, focused on going to bed earlier and working out. In addition, it will be a month where I focus on me – a month in which I will exercise and eat healthy food, but also a month in which I start listening to myself better. To find out what it is I enjoy doing, and get myself out of bed and just do it. So often I find myself lying on my bed, surfing the web or watching TV, all the while thinking that the days go by so fast, and why is the weekend almost over? One thing I vividly remember from Rubin’s book was the quotation “It’s easy to be heavy, hard to be light” and I was astounded when I realized the truth that lingered in that single sentence. Although in my mind I am actively working on becoming a happier person overall, my actions do not necessarily reflect that. Before I go to bed I have all these ideas about what I can change and what I can do differently, but do I actually do this? It is so much easier to keep doing what you are doing, even though this does not make you feel good. It is indeed so much easier to stay inside and be miserable instead of going out the door and finding things that make you happy, solely because the latter takes more effort. If it makes us happier in the long run, why would we not fight the urge to remain “heavy” and work on “being light”?
All the books I have read on happiness have given me many insights and epiphanies, as well as strategies I should give a try, but Gretchen Rubin’s book is the one that started my engine, the one that set everything in motion. By keeping a blog and logging my progress (and inevitable failures of course – apparently, you should risk failure to reach success) I can remind myself of why I am doing this, and perhaps have the discipline to keep going for a change. The step to create this blog was a major step for me already. In my head I kept thinking of things I could write, or topics I could write about, but I never took the leap. Some weeks ago I had a talk with a good friend of mine about possibly giving it a try, and she encouraged me to just do it – but I should do it because I like it. I should do it for me, because I enjoy writing and because I want to write about happiness, not for people who will possibly read this post. So that is what I will be doing.
The first month of my own Happiness Project, inspired by the amazing Gretchen Rubin. August, I am ready for you.