Eight Strategies To Boost Your Happiness

Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project

This is an exciting week for me! First, my book became available for pre-order. For the first time, the book feels real.

Second, and even more thrilling, the Happiness Project Toolbox is finally ready for prime time. Yes, it's ready! I've been working on this companion site for so long; it's hard to believe it's actually going out in the world at last.

What is the Happiness Project Toolbox? As I was working on my happiness project, I invented several methods that helped me to boost my happiness. My One-Sentence Journal, my Personal Commandments, my Secrets of Adulthood, and of course – most important of all – my Resolutions Chart.

I remember exactly where I was when I got the idea for the Toolbox. I was walking up Lexington Avenue, between 77th Street and 78th Street, when I thought, "Wow, it would be great to have a site where people could chart their resolutions." About ten steps later, I thought, "But a site like that should also allow people to keep their one-sentence journals, or post their happiness hacks." Then it hit me. A Happiness Project Toolbox! I was so struck by the idea that I literally stopped in my tracks – I remember that the woman behind me ran into me and shot me a very annoyed look as she passed.

It was easy to have the idea; hard to turn it into reality. As with so many things in life, if I'd known how challenging it would be, I might not have attempted it. But now that it's ready, I'm so happy I did it.

Novelty and challenge bring happiness; they also bring frustration and anxiety. In this case, despite periods of frustration and anxiety, I also had a tremendous amount of fun – in large part because of the brilliant, creative people at The Chopping Block, the web design firm who built the site. They love the project, too – they wrote, "The Happiness Project Toolbox is easily among the best projects in our twelve-year history. We're excited about the potential for building of a large community audience."

They had a lot of good ideas to add, and also helped me figure out if some of my ideas were possible. For example, I've always been mesmerized by PostSecret, and I'm fascinated whenever people post on my blog with their own Personal Commandments, etc. (for example, I think often of one commenter's Personal Commandment, "Choose the bigger life"), so one of my favorite Toolbox features is the ability to see other people's posts — unless they choose to keep entries private, of course. It's super-addictive to read other people's Personal Commandments, browse through their Inspiration Boards, learn from their Happiness Hacks…utterly absorbing. (Use the bar across the top to see other people's entries.)

The Happiness Project Toolbox offers eight free Tools:
Resolutions: record and track your resolutions.
Group Resolutions: challenge several people to a group resolution.
One-Sentence Journal: keep a journal on any subject you like (my online one-sentence journal is "What I'm reading today").
Personal Commandments: identify principles to guide your life.
Secrets of Adulthood: record what you've learned so far.
Happiness Hacks: share your hacks about clutter, exercise, mindfulness, etc.
Lists Tool: keep any list — to-do, favorite things, things-to-do-before-I-die, etc.
Inspiration Board: pull together your favorite books, quotations, images, and websites.

The amazing Super-Fans group got the first look at the Toolbox. Thanks again, Super-Fans, for your enthusiasm and your efforts! The Super-Fans were great about alerting me to problems. When I sent out the link, I thought the site was perfect, but of course, when hundreds of people tested it, they discovered a lot of bugs. Now it should be working very well indeed.

However, there still may be some issues to iron out. I'd really appreciate it if you let me know if you have a problem (or praise). It would be a huge help, though, if instead of emailing me directly, you post to this discussion on the Facebook Page. That way, the web designers can see your comment and address it, without me needing to act as a go-between. It's helpful to know what browser (and version) you use, and whether you're on PC or Mac.

I had a great time designing the Happiness Project Toolbox. Check it out! I hope it will help you reflect on your values, keep your resolutions, and pull together material that inspires you. And I hope it's fun! Please pass the link on to anyone else you think would enjoy it.

* If you'd like to work on your happiness project, but are more drawn to the idea of doing it with other people instead of using the Toolbox, sign up here for a starter kit for launching a group for people doing happiness projects. Groups have started from L.A. to Enid, Oklahoma, to Boston.

Filed under Blog by  #