Book Talk: Getting happy with “The Happiness Project” book review

05 February 2020

By Alanna Warwick-Smith

New Year’s resolutions always feel like a fast-moving train — you either hop on and keep going or miss the call and wait for the next train to arrive the following year.

I, like many others, usually fall into the trap of waiting for 1 January to execute my master plans of self-improvement and growth. If I’m lucky, I’ll maybe make it six weeks before falling off and deciding this wasn’t the year and I’d try again next January. A book, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, was my attempt to combat this unfulfilling cycle of failure.

The book begins with a note to the reader explaining, “A ‘happiness project’ is an approach to change your life.” Like Stephen Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Rubin has dissected the principles known by many, and created an amalgamated one-year plan to execute happiness in her life.

Rubin explains that this book is not a how-to guide; it is an honest account of her experience in hope that readers will find inspiration and run with it, even if it is not 1 January.

Rather than identifying resolutions, Rubin makes a point to set themes for each month, and then establish the associated goals thereafter. These themes, such as January’s “Boost Energy,” are married with her own personal “commandments.” These commandments serve as moral compasses to help her if she ever struggles to keep her goals and include guidelines like, “be polite and fair,” “do it now” and “enjoy the process.”

Rubin differentiates herself from the norm of “challenge”books by setting realistic goals that allow her to accomplish her short-term desires and turn them into long-term habits. She has sprinkled quotes among the chapters to keep readers inspired and thoughtful.

Rubin is painstakingly honest throughout the process in reminding readers that her experience as a privileged woman living in the upper-east side of Manhattan is her journey and that any reader’s journey will be different from hers, partially because happiness is different for every person.

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “Getting happy with The Happiness Project.”

About the author

Alanna Warwick-Smith is a Marketing Coordinator supporting the real estate marketing team for Dart. Alanna has worked in Dart’s flagship development of Camana Bay for the past seven years, when she began her career working at the town’s bookstore, Books & Books. A lover of the written word, Alanna reads and writes poetry in her spare time, and has written content for a range of platforms in the past, including her own blog and Camana Bay Times.