One of the happiness-project resolutions that I’ve found to be most effective – and also the most fun – is to Join or start a group. Since I started my happiness project, I’ve joined or started eleven groups (!).
Some people are interested in starting or joining a group for people doing happiness projects – to my astonishment, thousands of people have requested the starter-kit for people launching such a group.
Participating in this kind of group can really boost your happiness. People can swap ideas, build enthusiasm, and – perhaps most important if you want to make changes in your life – hold each other accountable. People join Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers, for example, to keep themselves accountable.
Also, just being part of a group, whatever the focus might be, builds happiness. It helps you make new friends and deepen existing friendships. One thing is absolutely clear: a key to happiness is having close relationships with other people. Studies show that group membership helps people feel connected and gives a real boost to satisfaction and personal confidence. It’s a way to interact with people who share your values. Being part of a group can also be a source of an atmosphere of growth in your life.
Now, a lot of people say, “I don’t have time to form or join a group.” Maybe you can’t meet once a week, but how about once every six weeks? As someone who has very little free time, I find that being part of an organized group is a very efficient way to strengthen relationships. Instead of having to take the initiative to see the group members individually, I know I’ll see them together.
One observation: it takes special energy to start something. The number of people who are willing to start something is much smaller than the number of people who will join it. As Samuel Johnson noted, “The production of something, where nothing was before, is an act of greater energy than the expansion or decoration of the thing produced.” But every time I’ve made the effort to start something (for example, my three children's literature reading groups), I've ended up being very happy that I did.
Keep me posted about these groups! I’m wildly interested to hear about what everyone’s doing. To report, post a message on the Facebook Page.
Groups have already formed over the world -- in places like San Francisco, Singapore, Johannesburg, and Enid, Oklahoma. I've met some people who are members of these groups, and I'm always fascinated and thrilled to hear what they're doing.
And, finally, I'm ready to send out my NEW and IMPROVED STARTER KIT. If you're considering starting a happiness-project group, email me at grubin at gretchenrubin dot com. Just write "starter kit" in the subject line. If you requested the old starter kit, but haven't started your group, you might want the new one.
Many people have started book groups in response to the The Happiness Project. If you're considering starting that kind of group, the starter kit would be useful to you, too (I hope).
P.S. If you want to start your own individual happiness project, without being part of a group (which is the way I've done my happiness project), here are some ideas to help you get started.
* If you'd like the starter kit for starting your own happiness-project group, email me at grubin at gretchenrubin dot com.