A Practice for Becoming a Happier Person

After such a strong reader response to this piece on a quick way to be happier, it was clear that the practice from The Happiness Project resonated. The comments were a great indicator that you guys loved hearing about happiness, and are also working on ways to get happier yourself. So today, I have another idea that I’m borrowing from the book, and am thrilled to share!

This is another practice that I did while reading the book, and to this day (5-6 years later), I still revert to these personal commandments often. They’ve made a lasting impression on me and I truly believe they lead me to living a happier life.

The practice is called Personal Commandments, and the gist is that you write out 12 guidelines for yourself. These commandments should be unique to you, specific but not so specific that you can’t apply in many situations, and they can be fluid—change them when needed.

The idea is that by having these commandments that you live your life by, they’ll be a roadmap of sorts to feeling happy. They’ll lead you to better decisions and can be a constant reminder whenever you’re feeling lost when it comes to happiness. They aren’t tasks, like exercise, but instead “overarching principles”. Ready to make yours?

If you need help getting started, below are Gretchen Rubin’s—the author of The Happiness Project— followed by some that I’ve curated from my list and this blog post of hers. But remember, these should be relatable to YOU and the steps that’ll push you to feeling your best, happiest self.

  1. Be Gretchen.
  2. Let it go.
  3. Act the way I want to feel.
  4. Do it now.
  5. Be polite and be fair.
  6. Enjoy the process.
  7. Spend out.
  8. Identify the problem.
  9. Lighten up.
  10. Do what ought to be done.
  11. No calculation.
  12. There is only love.

Other commandments: Do you. Be the bigger person. Make a decision and move on. Don’t apologize unless you need to. Let relationships go. Introduce yourself. Be lenient. Say yes. Say no.

Would love to hear yours!

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  1. Loved this exercise! Here’s my list:

    Be patient.
    Do it now, not later.
    Stay present.
    Make a decision and stick to it.
    Let the past go.
    Do what makes YOU happy, not what you think will make someone else happy.
    Appreciate the little things.
    Say no when you really don’t want to do something.
    Only say “sorry” when you actually mean it.
    Listen more, talk less.
    Value your (and other’s) time.
    Stay true to you.

    P.S. I need to read this book ASAP. All of your challenges from it have been so inspiring!

  2. Oh, this sounds really interesting and worth trying it. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this little piece of happiness.

    Have a nice day,

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