Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson


Jaunty Post


I just finished reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s an account of how she spent one year “test-driving” theories and practices of happiness. Before starting her research, she’d had an epiphany: “The days are long, but the years are short.” She realized time was passing and she was not focusing enough on the things that really mattered.

The book really resonated with me. As a selling writer, I find life to be a constant juggling act. I’m always mindful of striving for balance between work and family.   More often than I’d like to admit, life gets out of balance. The result: my family and I get very unhappy.

Enter The Happiness Project.

I loved Gretchen’s method: after analyzing what made her happy, what made her unhappy and what felt “right,” she developed twelve personal commandments and devoted one month each and to exploring short lists (different each month) of resolutions designed to enrich her life and make her truly happy.

Among practical and profound tips for living a happier and more fulfilled life, the book also made me realize that all the items on my list of New Year’s resolutions and goals didn’t necessarily have to be tackled at once. Why not break them down, assign them specific months in 2013?  Why not look at it as my own personal Happiness Project? I’m hoping it will make it easier to achieve my goals without feeling overwhelmed. I’m hoping I can keep each ball in the air as I add others (after the previous goals have gained traction). It sounds doable and exciting!

For me, first up in January: setting office hours during which I concentrate solely on my work. I won’t answer the phone, check email or allow myself to be interrupted. The goal is to reach my page goal during the day (weekdays) and devote nights and weekends to my family. February’s focus will be keeping up the productive office hours and working in more time dedicated to social media. I know meeting all of my 2013 goals and resolutions will greatly up my happiness quotient. I’m excited to tick the completed goals off my list (and keep practicing them as I add more each month).

How about you? Do you have any tips for sticking to and accomplishing your 2013 goals and resolutions?   If you’re interested in learning more or setting up your own Happiness Project, check out



6 thoughts on “The Happiness Project: A Different Way To Look At Goals

  1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    Great post, Nancy. I love the part about breaking goals down into monthly ones.

    I’m definitely going to check out the website!

    1. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Cindy!

  2. Great timely post. Thanks! I tweeted

  3. Nancy, what a great idea. I’m going to have to put some thought into what I can accomplish split over a range of time frames. I, too, have the goal of sticking to set times where I focus only on writing so that it doesn’t bleed over into the weekend time with my family. Did really great at it…until Thanksgiving hit. Then all bets were off. I’m working hard now to get back into the routine. I find it really helps. Good luck!

  4. Lorelei says:

    What a neat project! I like breaking mine into monthly projects, too…. I also love the “any type of random act of kindness brings happiness” statement 😉 from her site.
    Thanks for sharing!

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