I admit it: Happy people aggravate me. Why are they always smiling? How do they seem to have so much energy and time on their hands?
I think my aggravation stems from a deep-seated desire to be like those happy people. And, since I recently experienced a breakup and feel that this is not only a time of new beginnings, but also a time to change my outlook on life, I decided to see if I could train myself to be one of those happy people.
The first book I turned to was The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin’s #1 New York Times bestseller. The Happiness Project is an account of the year Rubin spent applying all the happiness research she could get her hands on to her own life.
I immediately became absorbed by her first resolutions for the project, which revolve around boosting energy. After a summer spent bemoaning my new single status and stressing about finding and moving into a new apartment, I was desperately in need of a boost of energy.
Gretchen’s five resolutions for boosting her energy were:
- Go to sleep earlier
- Exercise better
- Toss, restore, organize
- Tackle a nagging task
- Act more energetic
I was particularly intrigued by her third resolution. I take great pleasure in tossing, restoring and organizing my space. Given my recent move, I needed a reminder that those tasks can make me very happy.
Part of Gretchen’s resolution was to follow two daily rules: the One-Minute Rule and the Evening Tidy-Up, especially.
The One-Minute Rule is simple: Don’t postpone any task that could be done in less than one minute. I now regularly hang up my coat, gather recycling, fold the throw blanket, and wipe up crumbs from the coffee table, and it’s amazing how such little effort can yield happiness.
The Evening Tidy-Up is even more brilliant; take 10 minutes before bed to do simple tidying. Like Gretchen, I find that waking up to a neat kitchen and living room makes the morning so much more pleasant and less stressful. For example, I have a tiny sink and, before I started following the Evening Tidy-Up rule, I would leave my dinner dishes in the sink and grumble the following morning when there was no room to fill the coffee maker without doing the dishes. And, let’s face it, doing dishes before one has had coffee is just unthinkable. So, now I take 10 minutes every evening to tidy up so that I’m a happier person the next morning.
So, Go To It! Check out The Happiness Project book and website for more ways to create your own Happiness Project, and check back here in September for more tips and tricks from Gretchen’s forthcoming book, Happier at Home, our September Book of the Month.