“The Happiness Project”: Hop, skip, and jump into change

Today is my final re-post about Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. I’ve been reposting and updating my 2010 posts about it all week to celebrate the release of Gretchen’s new book “Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life”, which I’m looking forward to reading.

I’ve been writing about “The Happiness Project” because:

  1. It’s good.
  2. When I think about it, I feel happier.
  3. The more we talk, read, or write about something the more likely we are to integrate into our lives.

My positive feelings about the book come not just from what Gretchen wrote, but from what she did. Gretchen created the life she wanted. She did it by identifying her desire to change, believing she could, coming up with a plan, and taking action.

Change takes all those steps: desire, belief, planning, and action. Picture yourself skipping down the yellow-brick road of life singing, “desire, belief, planning, and action; desire, belief, planning, and action . . .” When you add the skipping and singing, change sounds kind-of fun. Actually, anything we say while walking or skipping sounds less intimidating. Turns out, our brains are hard-wired to work particularly well when we are moving.

Gretchen noted in her book that our bodies need a minimum of 10,000 steps a day for good health. She also mentioned that this is the same number of steps we need to take to keep from gaining weight, and that science has shown that “exercise-induced brain chemicals help people think clearly.” Other studies show that seniors, who walk at least 1.5 miles a week have the least thinking impairment.  And, that walking may reduce dementia!

I’ve learned that if I want to change my mind or my mood, moving my body helps. Walking, skipping, running, hopping, dancing, bending, twisting, turning, and stretching all make me feel better.

Just getting out of your chair right now can change your perspective, and maybe your life – go ahead, try it. I did, and it felt great. Change can start that simply. Afterall, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tzu. 

Take some time this weekend to move your desire and belief into planning and action. And, remember, even something as simple as a smile can be a step in the right direction.

Jump start your journey to a happier life with Wishful Thinking Works life coaching.

Contact Patrice Koerper to get started today.

Here’s what her clients have to say about their journeys.

“The Happiness Project”: A RARE Approach

As promised, here’s more about Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. I’m reposting and updating my 2010 posts about it each day this week to celebrate the release of her new book “Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life”.

Why I liked the “The Happiness Project”.

1. It was fun to read, had a nice flow to it, and was like listening to an interesting friend.

2. Gretchen had a great way of blending her skills as a researcher with her talents for storytelling.

3. I liked the approach she used to create the life she wanted, which I’m describing as “RARE”.

RARE: Gretchen did her Research, took Action, and time to Review her findings, while remaining Enthusiastic throughout the process. I like that, and think it is pretty RARE for someone to do that in their personal life.

Research

Gretchen conducted two types of informal research – internal and external.

Internal: Gretchen took time to figure out what she cared about – living a fuller life – and what she thought was missing – happiness, well, a deeper, richer happiness.

External: Then she spent time researching the topic – happiness – to find out if there were already answers to the question she was asking herself. Gretchen read everything she could get her hands on related to happiness from “Aristotle to Martin Seligman to Thoreau to Oprah”  (Martin Seligman is known as the “Father of Positive Psychology”. I’m a big fan and have blogged quite a bit about his research.)

Action

The research she did was her first action step; her second action step was organizing what she read and devising a series of “experiments” for herself – she tried all sorts of methods for increasing her happiness; her third step was creating charts to guide and track her progress.

Sounds like a lot of work, and it was, but she made it fun, and as simple as possible. Gretchen knew if she tried to change her life in a haphazard fashion, she wouldn’t see the results she wanted – so she planned, charted and even started a blog. Very cool.

Review

I love this part of her approach. Gretchen reviewed what worked and what didn’t work for her, and then made adjustments when needed instead of abandoning her efforts. She didn’t throw in the towel, or throw the baby out with the bath water. Instead, she reduced her self-incriminations and ramped-up the getting-back-on-the-horse and the back-into-the-ring approaches.

She never gave-up, she simply gave herself feedback and listened to it!

And, last but certainly not least, Gretchen remained . . .

Enthusiastic

She celebrated her successes – big or small – and rewarded  herself along the way. The celebrations and rewards kept her enthusiasm high, and allowed more time for positive results to develop, which improved her life and gave her the energy she needed to keep going.

I’m not saying she never felt disillusioned, she did and explained when and why in her book with humor and engaging humility, but she did not let those feelings stop her.

Gretchen put her time in, paid her dues, and committed to the process. She plotted and planned, which is a good strategy for any type of change. Plotting and planning almost always makes the process more valuable to us. The more effort we expend, the more we value the process and the more we tend to want to make it to the finish line.

Gretchen used a RARE, year-long approach to finding happiness, and it worked!

Ready to begin your own “happiness project”? Contact life coach Patrice Koerper to get started.

Happy is as happy does. 

“The Happiness Project”: Be you

Happy Wednesday!

Each day this week, to celebrate yesterday’s release of Gretchen Rubin’s new book “Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project,  Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life”, I’m reposting and updating my articles from 2010 about her first book “The Happiness Project”, because it makes me happy!

As part of Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project”, she created her own “Twelve Commandments.”  Her first commandment, and my favorite, was: “Be Gretchen”, which for her meant accepting her personal likes and dislikes, and then acting on them.

Gretchen explained that she loved reading children’s books, which eventually led her to start a book club with other folks she knew, who also love reading children’s books. At first she felt reading children’s books was a bit foolish and not the best thing about herself to share with others, but by being open about it, she learned others loved it, too, and now they can share their interest and enjoyment together. (Admitting to reading children’s books as an adult might not seem like a big deal, but it probably would have surprised Gretchen’s law school classmates and readers of her more scholarly books on Churchill and Kennedy. And, for the record, most of the things we “hide” about ourselves are not such a big deal either.)

Are you willing to open your life to your likes?

Perhaps you would rather eat burgers, than pretend to enjoy foie gras?  Drink beer than champagne. Or you might, prefer spending the night alone reading, rather than going out. (Please note: each and every one of these examples could be reversed – you might prefer going out rather than reading anything, anytime – there are no “right answers,” only you and what you like.)

Here’s Gretchen’s point – if you like eating ice cream right out of a container rather than baking (or buying) fancy pastries, why not serve containers of ice cream with spoons for dessert at your next dinner party? (Not that you need to have dinner parties, but if you do, you could!)

Make what you love doing a part of your life in fun ways. Have a beer tasting. Or a potato chip tasting, or ask your friends to make and bring their favorite comfort food to your next gathering. The list is endless and can bring you great joy and happiness, and will probably do the same for others. Have fun doing and sharing what you like!

Are you ready to discard your dislikes?

Stop doing things you really dislike!  And, stop spending time obsessing about not doing the things you don’t like. (Three negatives make a positive!)

Gretchen learned to accept her dislikes, which for her meant that she was never going to”visit a jazz club at midnight, or hang out in artists’ studios, or jet off to Paris for the weekend, or pack up to go fly-fishing on a spring dawn”, so she learned to stop worrying about not doing them!

Now remember – there’s nothing wrong with doing those things, but if you don’t want to, let yourself off the proverbial hook, and set yourself free to focus on what you do want to do – and then do it!

When my kids were 4 and 5, I found creative ways to include them in chores I really disliked. Giving them a pail and some dish soapy, sudsy water became a game and my kitchen floor got clean without as much help from me! (Yes, I really did that, it was a tad messy, but still more fun than me facing it alone, and they grew-up to be happy, healthy adults, who clean stuff and love the water!) As they grew older, we instituted a rule that while everyone had chores to do, no one would ever have to do their least favorite chore – it worked liked a dream for them and me, and I avoided having to empty the dishwasher silverware tray until they left for college!

Being you” has many silver linings, following Gretchen’s lead, I’ve come up with three:

1. Learning to”be you” will help you create more happiness in your life.

2. The happier you become, the happier the people you love and meet may become. (Research shows happiness is contagious.)

3. Learning to “be you” will help you understand and accept that your spouse/significant, kids, parents, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. need to be themselves, too. If you get really good at all of this – you will let them be them, which will make them happier, and in turn, you’ll be happier, because happiness is contagious.

Well, there you have it: “Be you.” Get happier. Pretty profound stuff for a Wednesday morning. 

So, what are your “Likes”? Any you’d like to share?  (All pun intended.)

Any you’ve been denying or hiding? Admitting them may be the first step to truly enjoying them!

Don’t be shy, once you share your “hidden” likes, others will too. It’s really quite freeing. I’ll start.

I used to read the newspaper every single morning, now I don’t. To many of my friends and former colleagues that’s akin to treason.

I used to watch the movie “Speed” with Sandra Bullock when I had a really stressful day at work, somehow the action relaxed me!

Oh, and I might as well tell you that I read children’s books all the time, eat ice cream from the container, watch lots of TV reruns, and truly dislike sushi – except for the veggie kind.

I also find almost all nightly news shows boring, I love the in-depth shows and morning news, but nightly news reporting is not for me.

There, you have it, a few of my likes and dislikes. Oh, yes, I’m perfectly happy eating any sort-of leftovers for breakfast, preferably cold, like pizza with a liberal sprinkling of vinegar. (I will sprinkle vinegar on just about anything.) And, truth be told, most days, breakfast is my biggest meal of the day, and I will still nibble my way through the morning.

Are you still there? TMI? Hope not, because after all, I’m just being me! Try being you, and let me know how you like it!

If you want help bringing more happiness into your life, contact Patrice Koerper for Wishful Thinking Works life coaching at 813-719-0769 .

Happy is as happy does. 

“The Happiness Project”: “The days are long, the years are short.”

“The days are long, the years are short.” 

That is the thought that started Gretchen Rubin on a year-long happiness-seeking odyssey, which led her to become a New York Times and an international best-selling author for her book “The Happiness Project”.

Her second book, “Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project,  Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life”, is out today, and to celebrate just how wonderful being happier is, each day this week I’m reposting and updating my articles from 2010 about her first book, “the Happiness Project”, which I loved. Hope they make you happy! 

Now, say it to yourself, very slowly with your full attention: “The days are long, the years are short.” Let it sink in.

What Gretchen was thinking, and through her book was telling us is, it’s time to get more out of life! To be happier and to become more fulfilled. You see, no matter how long the days seem, the years are flying by!

Do something today – anything – that moves you closer to your dreams. Be a tad braver, a bit kinder, and a smidgen more positive, too. Work smarter, play harder, love more, complain less. (I know it’s hard to get back into the groove of things since it’s the day after a holiday, but precisely because the “The days are long, the years are short”, today is the perfect time to do it. And, I know you can; I believe in you.)

Then repeat what works, and stop doing what doesn’t, because after all, “The days are long, the years are short.”

Okay? Great! We agree; it’s time to get started on the life you really want! Super!

Oh, and stop back here tomorrow for more posts about “The Happiness Project”, there is absolutely no reason you have to do it alone.

If you want to feel more positive and energized,

contact Patrice Koerper for Wishful Thinking Works life coaching.

Happiness can be a way of life!

“Happier at Home”

Gretchen Rubin’s new book “Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project,  Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life.” is due out tomorrow.

Gretchen is the author of the #1 New York Times and international bestseller, “The Happiness Project”, which I blogged about in 2010.

Here’s a sample chapter from her new book and her one minute video about it.

Hope you enjoy, and they make you “Happier at Home”.

Have a great day off.

Patrice

PS To celebrate Gretchen’s new book, I will be reposting my articles about her first book “The Happiness Project” each day this week. I just reread them, and I’m happy to say, they made me happy! I think they might make you happy, too. :-)

If you want to bring more happiness into your life, contact Patrice Koerper for Wishful Thinking Works life coaching at 813-719-0769.

Sadness and stress do not have to be a way of life.

One last “Happiness Project” thought

Last Monday in May – Happy Memorial Day, and one last look back at Gretchen Rubin’s wonderful book, “The Happiness Project”.  If you have not read it already, I hope you do, I really enjoyed it.

In honor of the holiday, I will keep it short, and quote (italics and all) Gretchen’s “Second Splendid Truth”:

“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.

One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”

Gretchen’s “Truth” was a reminder for me that I could create the life I wanted by thinking and doing more for others; dropping my scorecard and my complaints; turning-down my whining a notch or two, and washing away any lingering grudges with the soft soap of friendship, love and family.

A good reminder on a holiday that honors the many, who faced their fears and gave their lives so we could exercise “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Special thoughts today for all who have served in the armed forces or have loved ones currently serving, and sincere condolences to those who have lost a loved one while he or she was serving our country.

A RARE approach: “The Happiness Project”

Good Monday morning!  As promised, here are more things I like about Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project.

1.  It was fun to read, had a nice flow to it, and was a bit like listening to an interesting friend.

2. She had a great way of blending her skills as a researcher with her talents for storytelling.

3. I liked the approach she used to create the life she wanted, which I am describing as RARE:

Gretchen did her Research (R), took Action (A) and time to Review (R) her findings while remaining Enthusiastic (E) throughout the process. I like that, and think it is pretty RARE for someone to do in their personal life.

Research: Gretchen conducted two types of informal research: internal and external.

The internal stuff:

Gretchen took time to figure out what she cared about – living a fuller life – and what she thought was missing – happiness, well, a deeper, richer happiness – then she spent time researching the topic – happiness – to find out if there were already answers to the question she was asking herself: Could I change my life without really changing my life? I am sort-of putting words into Gretchen’s head – but they represent the idea of what she was thinking.  She did not want to reinvent the wheel – her life – she liked her life, but she felt she could improve the way it was rolling along.

The external stuff:

Gretchen read everything she could get her hands on related to happiness from “Aristotle to Martin Seligman [father of the field of positive psychology] to Thoreau to Oprah” (Her words, except for the [ ].)

Action

The research she did was her first action step; her second step was organizing what she read and devising a series of “experiments” for herself – she tried all sorts of methods for increasing her happiness; her third was creating charts to guide and track her progress.

Sounds like a lot of work, and it was, but she made it fun, and as simple as possible.  Gretchen knew if she tried to change her life in a haphazard fashion, she wouldn’t see the results she wanted – so she planned, charted and even started a blog.  Very cool.

Review

I love this part of her approach. Gretchen reviewed what worked and what didn’t work for her, and then made adjustments when needed instead of abandoning her efforts.

No, throwing the baby out with the bath water for her!  No, “Why can’t I ever follow through with anything?”  No, “Why do things never work for me?” Gretchen reduced her self-incriminations and ramped-up the getting-up and dusting-off her pants part.

She never gave-up, she simply gave herself feedback and listened to it!  I like this, but not this.  Hmm, this seems to be working, but I feel it would even better if I . . . I really do not like this aspect, but I still want to keep going, so maybe I will try this instead! Okay, I am once again putting words into Gretchen’s head, but she knows what I am up to – so I am hoping she doesn’t mind.

And, last but certainly not least, Gretchen remained . . .

Enthusiastic

She celebrated her successes – big or small – and rewarded  herself along the way.  The celebrations and rewards kept her enthusiasm high, and allowed more time for positive results to develop, which improved her life and gave her the energy she needed to keep going.

Gretchen’s approach reveals she valued all the plotting and planning she did: she put her time in, paid her dues and committed to the process.  (Please note: doing the plotting and planning almost always makes the process more valuable to us –  if we do the work we tend to want to make it to the finish line. Good strategy for change.)

I am not saying she never felt disillusioned, she did and explains when and why in her book with humor and engaging humility, but she did not let those feelings stop her.

Gretchen used a RARE year-long approach to finding happiness, and it worked.  Join me Mondays in May for the details.

Have a great day, and remember May is a time of new beginnings and the perfect time to begin planning the life you want.

%d bloggers like this: