The Happiness Project

A chronicle of my attempts to test-drive every tip, principle and scientific study that promotes happiness

Join the 2011 Happiness Challenge! With Videos.

Join the 2011 Happiness Challenge!

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in -- no need to catch up, just jump in right now.

When I started my happiness project, I asked myself, “What do I want less of in my life?” Among many other things, I decided I wanted less yelling at my children in the morning, less nagging of my husband, less feeling guilty about eating fake food. I also asked myself, “What do I want more of in my life?” I decided I wanted more time reading, more time imitating a spiritual master, more hugging and kissing my family. Then I made specific, manageable resolutions aimed at helping me make these changes.

I like trying lots of resolutions at once, but for many people, it’s more effective to pick just one thing. And it can be a very small change! One small change can be enough to launch your happiness project. You can change your life without changing your life.

If the idea of making resolutions appeals to you, consider signing up for the 2011 Happiness Challenge, to make 2011 a happier year. Studies show that taking an action, like signing up, will help you hold yourself accountable for your resolutions. Thousands of people have signed up for the Challenge already.

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Each month, I'll identify a theme, and each week, I’ll post a two-minute video about a specific, manageable resolution aimed at that month’s theme. Even if that particular resolution doesn't resonate with you, it may help you think of a resolution that would suit you better.

Although it's fun to make resolutions, it's very challenging to keep resolutions. There’s something about the accountability of being part of a group (even an invisible group, like this one), and the enthusiasm that’s generated, that makes it easier to keep up the resolution-keeping momentum.

Here's the introductory video to the 2011 Happiness Challenge:

But whether you follow my suggestions or not, remember, pick something small and manageable! Something you can really do. And then do it. My own experience with a happiness project, and with resolutions-keeping, has convinced me that it is possible to become happier, by making small changes to everyday life.

I'm curious -- what are some resolutions (small or big) that people are undertaking for 2011?

* I was thrilled to see my friend Kamy Wicoff profiled in the Wall Street Journal. Kamy is founder of the great site and resource She Writes, as well as the fabulous New York Salon of Women Writers (a group from which I've made many writerly friends). The article focuses on Kamy's support for Girls Write Now, another terrific organization which pairs high-school girls from underprivileged New York City schools with writer-mentors.

* Sign up here for the 2011 Happiness Challenge, to make 2011 a happier year.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a book and a blog about her adventures learning to be happier.

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