Me hiking in Chiricahua national park

Making The Happiness Project My Own & What I Hope To Achieve

Welcome back for day 2 of my happiness project! I was so thrilled to see how many of you expressed your support for me and this project when I announced it just yesterday. 

I am beyond excited to start this not so little experiment – and let’s be honest, a little bit nervous too. Mostly about blogging every day for 25 days straight until my 35th birthday!

My blog has just passed it’s six month mark and before I started this project, it had 31 posts on it so far. So this little project will almost double my blog posts if I am able to stick to it – wish me luck!

In today’s post, I am going to keep what I liked from Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, and change what I didn’t like so much, in order to fit my own personal needs.

Let’s get started!

What I Liked About Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project

  • It offered a very clear and structured way to work towards personal growth and improvement.
  • It took a holistic approach to happiness, focusing on more than just short term pleasure.
  • It had a visual tracking system so you can see progress as you go, thus improving motivation and building self-confidence.
  • It uses daily self-reflection to help you think about what you did well, what you didn’t do so well, and how you can make tomorrow a better day than today.
  • The habit tracking charts help you to be more mindful of your actions which is the first step to changing them.
  • The project reinforces the growth mindset by showing people that they can always improve when they put in the effort.
  • It really stresses the ideas of consistency and never missing twice which are some of the most important concepts in making a change and adopting new habits.
  • It argues that happiness is a worthy cause and that it isn’t selfish to pursue your own happiness.
  • The framework is extremely flexible and allows for individualization and personalization for maximum benefit.

What I Didn’t Like So Much About Her Happiness Project

What I liked about the Happiness Project far outweighs what I didn’t like, but I do have 3 things to list here.

First, Gretchen Rubin’s project didn’t have any sort of an assessment of happiness levels before, during, or after the project.

This makes it difficult to definitively say whether or not the project actually made her happier. The only thing that can be truly measured (in the scientific sense) using this current set-up is achievement – but I feel that misses the whole point of a happiness project!

Second, her project adds 8 new “resolutions” each month. However, scientific research has shown that 30 days really isn’t enough to fully form new habits.

For this reason, I suspect that adding 8 new resolutions to the list each month may be a little overwhelming or off-putting for some people. Not to mention that by the last month of her project, Gretchen is working on 88 different resolutions at the same time! That’s an awful lot to keep track of on a daily or even weekly basis.

It is my hope to inspire some of you to take up your own happiness project, so I’d like to make it a little less intimidating for you if you do choose to follow in my footsteps.

And third, in Gretchen’s project, there is no real progression from month to month within the same happiness theme.

How My Project Will Be Different Than The Original Happiness Project

I have picked 5 areas of my life that I would like to work towards improving, rather than the 11 different happiness themes in the original happiness project.

I feel that focusing on fewer areas will allow me to dedicate more time and energy to each of the five areas of my choosing.

This will allow me to progress further in each of these 5 areas where I feel that my life really needs more work right now, rather than just progressing a little bit in a lot of different areas.

As I move through the months of the year, I will work on progressively more difficult goals within these 5 areas. This way, at the end of my project I won’t have 88 different resolutions in 11 different areas of life that I’m expecting myself to live up to every day.

Instead of adding more and more goals/resolutions, a slightly more difficult version of a goal in the same life area would replace the original one.

For example, let’s say the life area I am focusing on is physical fitness. In month one, my goal might be to get full range of motion back after my shoulder surgery. 

In month two, it could be to work on developing strength now that my range of motion has returned. 

In month three I could progress this goal by slowly working up to getting back to my usual active hobbies and recreational sport activities etc. 

One thing that I thought was really cool about Gretchen’s happiness project, is that she was seeking to increase her happiness without drastically changing her life in any way. 

That idea is super inspiring to me. I will try this technique in some of my 5 areas of life. However, in others, I do plan to make some significant life changes.

Finally, my project will use subjective measures of happiness to determine whether or not I actually became more happy during the course of my project or simply become more accomplished.

Hopefully it will be both!

What I Hope To Achieve By Doing My Own Happiness Project:

  • More happiness obviously… I mean that’s kind of the point, right?
  • More confidence – this project will force me to step out of my comfort zone in many ways.
  • More time for things I’m passionate about by weeding out those things that are just “killing time” as Mark Manson pointed out in his quote.
  • More life balance (I’ll talk about this more tomorrow).
  • Improved blogging skillset – it is going to almost double the amount of posts I already have, so I would expect to learn a lot during this process as I become more and more efficient. 
  • A bigger audience for my blog.
  • And to help me overcome my perfectionism. By having to write blog posts quickly, I will be forced to overlook some things that I might usually waste a lot of time on making perfect.
  • And finally, and probably most importantly, I hope to inspire a few of you to pursue your own happiness even if it is on a smaller scale than this project I am undertaking.

That’s it for today! Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you all back, same place, same time tomorrow! <wink, wink>


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Author: clarissa.cabbage

Clarissa is a teacher, a coach, and an avid adventurer! Armed with a master's degree in Exercise and Wellness, she is on a mission to teach people how to build healthier habits that support the adventurous lifestyle of their dreams. There is nothing Clarissa is more passionate about than helping people get active and live their lives to the fullest!

20 Replies to “Making The Happiness Project My Own & What I Hope To Achieve

  1. I love how you point out that in the original project, Gretchen did not really go about upturning her entire life for the sake of more happiness, and instead choose to find happiness by making some small tweaks.

    We usually end up thinking that we need to to completely change some big aspects of our life to find more happiness, but really, even some small mindset shifts have the ability to uplevel our lives, if you choose to see it in that manner.

    And good luck on your project! 🤗

    1. Thank you Shirsha!

      Yes, I absolutely agree that mindset can make all the difference in the world! I have learned that first hand. Hopefully I will have a few more epiphanies along the way!

  2. I wish you all the best with this challenge. Mindset plays a huge part in every aspect of live and so to see the positives in things will only make things better. Its great that you’ve been able to adapt the challenge to make it more attainable for you.

    1. Thank you Liz! It is a pretty interesting book! I really admire how Gretchen Rubin put herself out there for all to see! It’s definitely going to take some courage to step out of that comfort zone and I’m excited for the challenge!

  3. Good luck with this very worthwhile challenge! I’m really glad you recognize that nothing in life is one size fits all, and you are modifying the challenge into something that works for you. Much better odds of sticking to it that way! I look forward to reading more about your experiences! Oh, and I did “Blogtober” last year and posted every day for a month as a new blogger – it’s tough, but you will learn so much from thie experience!

    1. Thank you Lori! I started a little late on the blogtober thing, because I wasn’t sure I was ready as a new blogger. But then I decided, what the heck?! Why not, what have I got to lose? It’s very encouraging that you were able to do it when you were still a newbie. I look forward to all the lessons and growth that are to come! Are you doing blogtober again this year?

      And I 100% agree that pretty much nothing is one size fits all. Thanks so much for the encouragement and sharing your experience!

  4. All the very best for your happiness project.
    Life will indeed be happy if we actually follow happy and positive things in life

    1. Wow, what a journey! I recently read a really cool book called the Happiness of Pursuit, which was all about people undertaking these huge “quests” as the author called them. Your friend reminds me of that book which is one of my new favorites.

  5. You’ve got some great points. Honestly, I would find adding 8 resolutions each month to be a little too much to commit to. I already have a busy schedule and the time that it would take to make sure that I’m sticking to and working on all of those new habits would be far more than I feel that I could maintain. I agree with you that limiting that down would definitely increase the chances that someone would reallly benefit from it.

    1. Thanks for reading Britt! 88 total resolutions is definitely overwhelming and intimidating, not to mention time consuming! I’m hoping I can come up with a solution to remedy that problem. Thanks for your input!

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