Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Happiness Project and Day Zero

Hello! Again, it's been a while. I know, I'm not doing very well! Hopefully that will change now though, as I have lots of exciting new things to blog about.
So I've just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Here's the Goodreads description...

Published: January 2009 by HarperCollins

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and JuliaThe Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn't.

Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.

Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.

My Thoughts:

I don't know how I'd never heard of this book before I stumbled across it on Amazon! But I'm so glad I found it when I did. As the description says, Rubin did an excellent job in proving that you don't have to change your life in order to change your life. She then wrote an awesome book about it. The description is right again in saying that it will inspire you to start your own; it has certainly made me want to start mine.

What I love most about this book is the message behind it. Although I adore Eat, Pray, Love, and I've said before how much I can relate to Liz Gilbert, everyone can relate to Gretchen Rubin. Her project deals with every day situations that every single person has to deal with, and gives examples of how to get as much happiness and as little unhappiness and stress out of them as possible. Though Rubin expresses strongly that everybody's project is unique, which they are, I can already feel myself mentally adjusting myself and my reactions in situations, according to what I've read in Rubin's book. It's amazing what changing your tone of voice or forcing yourself to laugh can do for most situations.

I've been searching my brain for anything negative to say about this book, but I just can't. It might not be everybody's cup of tea, but I loved it, and therefore I'm giving it:


Day Zero is a project started in 2003 by New Zealander, Michael Green. The aim of the project is for people to achieve 101 things in 1001 days, approximately 2.75 years. My friend Louise (you can find her blog here) started it first, and it was her list, mixed with The Happiness Project, and my mum's 40 Things before I'm 40 list that inspired me to take this challenge on. 

So I started mine today (, and I now have until 30th April 2014 (WOAH!) to get through everything on the list. There's a mixture of short-term, long-term and on-going goals in there, and I hope that, like the Happiness Project, they will result in me being a lot happier and also help me get a lot more out of life than I am doing at the moment! My favourite is 'Write a letter to myself to open at the end of the 1001 days', which I think I'm going to attempt to write tomorrow. I think it will just be so cool to see the difference between now and then, after I've achieved all of these things. 

One of them is to keep track of the project on my blog, so this is now officially more than a book blog! I'm still obviously going to be writing about books and giving reviews (hopefully more successfully than I have been doing!), but I'll also be using this as a way to chronicle my adventures as I tick off things my list. I hope that you will all find it an interesting read :) 

1 comment:

  1. I hope your Day Zero project is going well. That sounds like a great way to achieve your goals!

    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)