First of all, I wish you a beautiful Christmas with your beloved ones!
It is the last week of the year and I have something beautiful to share with you!
Today I would like to share with you a project that changed my life.
A project that made me quit my job, start studying and create Caule. This project also help me to cope more easily with anxiety, be more calm and focus on myself.
It helped me understand what is really important in my life, what matters and what makes my life significantly better. It helped me to simplify my life and feeling stronger. It helped me to nourish my own Caule!
And what project is it? The Happiness Project.
I first heard it last year through a portuguese podcast called Officina.
In officina, Cláudia (the person behind it) dedicated one episode to The Happiness Project.
The Happiness Project is a one year long project conducted by the author Gretchen Rubin.
Gretchen concludes with this project that it is possible to feel happier every day without making major changes in our lives.
In her book she demonstrates that big shifts such as moving out of your house, breaking up with your boyfriend or quit your job and move to Thailand do not play much of a big role for your happiness. Even though I believe it might help in some cases.
This project proves that we can be happier by investing our time everyday on small things.
Yes! You can feel happier by just spending 10 min in the morning drinking your tea instead of quitting your job .
However, these small details of your day are not randomly chosen. These “small things” are the key for this Project because they are considered by YOU as important and you know they can improve your life quality. In this project you will find your own recipe for Happiness, not someone else idea of happiness that you will follow just because.
The project works in a very simple way.
Each month you focus on one area of your life that you would like to improve. To each area you define actions that will guide you to achieve that month goal.
Each month you focus on a different area. Each month you work towards your happiness.
In the end of the year you have worked in all these different areas and realize which are the “small things” you want to keep.
How to make your own Happiness Project
The project itself it is quite difficult to start. It is not only difficult to choose what you would like to improve but also choose what to be committed to.
So let me guide you on this step by step:
STEP 1: Get a pen and a sheet and write all improvements you need or desire to do in your life.
In this first step, you just need to write without limits and see what comes out. You want to write the most random things. The rule is: you write things that will play a role in your life quality. This is YOUR PROJECT and YOUR HAPPINESS so go for it!
STEP 2: Divide those improvements into areas and define actions to each area in order to reach your goal.
In this step you can choose up to 12 areas. For each area you write an action you would need to focus on in order to achieve your goals.
For instance, if in the first step you wrote as desire be more active; do more sports and feel more energized you might put all these three together and create the area “Energy”.
After that, you can set as action “walk three times a week for 45 minutes”; “Going to the gym twice a week”
STEP 3: Divide them by months
In this step you need to divide each area throughout the year. You can focus in more than one area each month. However, I highly recommend you to focus on one area each month for greater results.
An example would be:
January – Energy – Walk three times a week for 45 minutes
In order for this Project to be successful it is important to specify the main area (what you would like to improve); when and for how long. These will help you to follow what you are committed to.
You can also add the reason why you are doing this, if it helps.
It would look like this:
January – Energy – If I am more active, I feel better and with better mood for the people around me – walk three times a week.
There are also other extras you could add to your Project
- In the beginning of your project write about what is happiness for you; what is your main goal with this? What would you like to achieve?
- Write about what you already know that makes you happy.
- Secrets of adulthood – Gretchen Rubin suggests in her book to write a list of your learnings as an Adult. These secrets will remind you those small realizations that you tend to forget.
- Mantras – each month you choose a mantra to help you with your goals. For example, if you would like to be more mindful in anything you do for a month, you can start your day by repeating to yourself “I am centered and present in each moment of my day”.
- In the end of the month, give yourself some time to write about what you’ve learnt, what you need to improve, how you feel and which are the new actions you want to add into your life.
Here I leave you a small example of my happiness project for 2019
What is happiness for me:
Happiness is having time. Time for me, for the people i love and to spend time doing what I love. Happiness is to be by myself, listening to music, read and breathe. It is also being with other people, talking to them and listen to them. It is travelling and somehow help people and the world around me.
What makes me happy:
- Calm mornings
- The cold breeze in the morning
- Music! A lot of it!
Secrets of Adulthood:
- I am the most important person in my life. I need to take care of myself
- If you do not like it, change it.
- It is better to spend money on experiences than goods.
- Sometimes you are not hungry, you are just bored.
Area & Mantra
“Cooking my own food provide me joy and health”
“I am an energetic being”
Why does it work?
The Happiness Project book has been translated in more than thirty languages and sold more than 1.5 million copies. It is no longer considered a book, it is a movement. As mentioned in Gretchen website, people have been gathering in groups to analyse the Project and understand how to adapt it to their lives.
Personally, I believe this Project works so well because it is defined by you, with your ideals and values. It is a project made by you for you. You know from the start that it will benefit your wellbeing.
On top of that, it is a project with specific directions, time and place. I even dare to say that you have to make more effort to not follow it rather than follow it.
Personally, it helps me to follow an action line, understanding what it is worth to work on and make my actions more clear and goal-driven.
I sincerely recommend to anyone to take some time of their day and put up their own Happiness Project to see where it takes you. I’ve done it. It took me to the most beautiful places!
Let me know what you think about this Project. Have you done it before? Are you planning to do it next year? Which are the areas you need to improve?