My bookshelves and Kindle are filled with cookbooks and diet books, and rom-dram reads. I rarely read a living ‘how-to’ book, and even when I try to, I never make it past the first chapter.
But in the summer of 2014, my last Friday of maternity leave from Parker’s birth, the boys and I made a stop in our favorite odds and ends store where I picked up The Happiness Project on a whim. I was feeling incredibly disheartened about returning to a lifestyle that felt so wrong, and thought the book would make for a nice read while pumping.
I never did make it past the first 50 pages; things just got too hectic with my return to work, followed by my quick departure, and then transition to working from home for two different employers. And unfortunately the book was forgotten in my bag with my shelved breast pump.
It wasn’t until my 2016 planner arrived the weekend of Thanksgiving that I thought about that book again and went digging to find it. I went back to page 1, and made my way through the details; only this time my head was truly in the space of growth, as opposed to problem solving.
And I enjoyed so much about The Happiness Project as I finished it over the weekend. As someone who loves list making and goal setting, this book totally delivered on the ‘how-to’ harbor happiness without belaboring the point.
By page 10 Gretchen introduces you to her ‘12 Commandments‘ and ‘Secrets of Adulthood‘. She wastes no time getting down to business, defining her guiding principals, and getting you to think about yours.
It took me a bit of time and research through notes from yesteryear to land on my commandments, but I feel pretty good about what I came up with.
Here are my 12 commandments for happiness:
How can two words be so revolutionary?
Yes, be Monica. Love what I love. Do what I do. Don’t worry so much about others, and stop the comparing.
Stop. Look. Listen.
Put down the dishes. Turn off the phone. Close the laptop. Leave the laundry in the basket another day. Be where the memories are made.
Let it go.
You gain nothing from stewing on annoyances.
Identify the problem.
If you find that letting go is a challenge, figure out what the problem is and develop a solution.
Smile at strangers.
The power of a smile, whether given or received, should never be underestimated.
Keep it simple.
A phrase that applies to everything – dressing, designing, cooking, writing…
Live the way I want to feel.
Make choices that reflect my values.
Enjoy the process.
Chipping away at the vision piece by piece IS progress, and to be appreciated as part of the journey.
Invest in relationships.
Create opportunities to make new friendships. Put time into existing relationships, and ‘show up’ for loved ones.
Go guilt free.
Just stop. Stop the stupid should have spirals. There is no should, just the choices you make. Live with them, learn from them, and move forward.
Express gratitude often.
There is no such thing as saying thank you too often. Whether taking a moment for a silent prayer or stopping someone to express your appreciation – do it.
Get at it.
Get up. Get moving. Get organized. My productivity and focus are at the start of the day