Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I Read Wednesday: Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

A few weeks ago I finished Happier at Home  by Gretchen Rubin. This is her second book following her bestseller The Happiness Project. In Happier at Home Rubin makes a handful or resolutions each month focusing on a particular home related topic. She cover many topics including belongings, neighborhood and community etc. I listened to this book on audio and I really enjoyed the way ti was read.

There are a couple of things that really struck a cord with me.

One of Rubin's resolutions was to Celebrate Holiday Breakfasts, even on smaller holidays such as Valentines Day or St. Patrick's Day. She did this as a way of making even minor holidays special. This idea is something I want to start incorporating into my own life. We might not celebrate breakfast specifically since that doesn't really work well with our schedule but I want to make each holiday special. I already dropped the ball on St. Patrick's day but if at first your don't succeed, try try again. April Fool's Day is coming up (I'll have to think fast) followed by Easter. I have a collection of ceramic bunnies that my grandmother gave me in my Easter basket every year. I'd like to get them out and have them on display around the house. I'd like to do something special for my husband on Easter Sunday instead of just handing up a bag of jelly beans and calling it a holiday. I'm not sure exactly what yet, but I'd like to make all holidays, major and minor, special in some way.

What I will not be doing is celebrating Easter with candy.

In the month of December Rubin decides it would be less stressful to just give up sweets all together instead of worrying about all of the tempting holiday treats. Some people questioned her decision as too extreme but she responded

"By giving myself limits, I give myself freedom." (page 124)

I have done this before. The first time was near Easter a few years ago. The abundance of Easter candy had me over indulging and it was simpler for me to just say no to everything instead of using up my willpower trying to only head one handful of jellybeans instead of the whole bag. By giving myself the limitation of no sweets, I was able to freely enjoy everything else about the season knowing I wouldn't have any sugar related regrets later.

Another resolution Rubin made that stuck with me was Suffer for Fifteen Minutes. What she means by this is spending fifteen minutes a day on a task you've always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to yet. In the book she focuses on organizing her family's photos and home movies. In my life I'd like to use this idea as a challenge to get some things done around my house. I have a spare room that sort of a catch-all for the stuff I don't know what to do with. The thought of cleaning out the room seems like an overwhelming project but when I spent just fifteen minutes in there last week I was surprised by the amount of cleaning I got done. I hope to keep this up and then move onto other tasks. Maybe spend fifteen minutes a day leaning or polishing a skill, like photography or calligraphy. Over time small steps make a big difference.

Those are just a few of the things from Happier at Home that have really inspired me. I have not read The Happiness Project yet but it is definitely on my list. You can learn more about Gretchen Rubin and her works at her website

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