Choosing the Road Less Happy?

Fork in the Road
Image by caribb via Flickr

Gretchen Rubin, author of the original book about a Happiness Project (The Happiness Project), posted last month about the advice for happiness that she doesn’t follow (The Happiness Project: 7 Ways I Violate Some Standard Happiness Advice.).

In the spirit of my new-found sense of community in the blogosphere, I was going to comment on her post. But as I drafted a comment in my mind, I realized it was rather longer than comment-length, and I decided to just go with a blog post.

Some of the advice that I don’t follow overlaps with Gretchen’s. I, too, can’t keep a gratitude journal, I don’t have date nights with my husband, and if I can swing it, I read when I eat (I spent every lunchtime during my early-20’s office-working life doing just that).

My two other really big ones:

1) I only sporadically get to bed at anything resembling a reasonable hour.


2) I turn on my computer during the day, even when the kids aren’t otherwise occupied (even though I know that things run more smoothly, I get more done, and everyone is happier if I leave the darned thing off until at least nap time).

Oh, and I also can’t seem to keep a regular exercise regimen. But while I enjoy regular exercise, I don’t know that it increases my happiness that much. I did better during the year I vowed to use the car only once a week. My daughter and I walked and rode public transit all over Salt Lake City (which, if you haven’t been here, is pretty hilly in parts). We got fresh air and sun and exercise in addition to the self-righteousness that came with waiting for the bus while single-passenger SUVs were idling in line at the drive-through coffee place mere steps away from the bus stop. It was exercise disguised as green living.

Maybe sneaking up on myself is the key. Perhaps if we stopped using electric lights as a way to reduce our energy use, I’d go to bed at a decent hour. Or as one commenter on Gretchen Rubin’s post explained, she kept a worry journal instead of a gratitude journal. Gradually it began highlighting all of the things that were going well in addition to all of the things causing her stress. (Like my “Awful Mom mantra.”)

What are some of the things that you are pretty sure will bring you happiness but that you just can’t bring yourself to do?

3 Replies to “Choosing the Road Less Happy?”

  1. Hmmmm, well, there’s the going to bed at a decent hour; the weekly yoga I keep insisting will be a magic fix for everything but deep down know it will fall short of panacea and therefore keep putting it off; the ridiculously long to-do list at work that just keeps getting longer because I allow myself to be distracted while at the office; the difficult conversation I know needs to be had with a defaulting subtenant, but am putting off while simultaneously touting my own lack of aversion to confrontation and bud-nipping to the lesser bud-nipper of the partnership; the decluttering at home which unfortunately seems to be more of a stack-relocation project than a true riddance of the damned “stuff”… I could go on, but then I’d just be delaying bedtime further. 🙂 Love your blog, your insights, and your friendship. Thanks for what you put out there for us all to digest (an interesting medium for an introvert – a blog…suits you well 🙂 ).


  2. My big elephant in the room is, of course, remaining fully present. I’m so used to my patterned behaviors: worrying over the future, regretting things in the past…

    But also, like you said, getting enough sleep and exercising outside everyday. I have my yoga and meditation practices, but I really do need to get walk/bike everyday, too. I’ve actually been doing it for the past couple of weeks. I also had to sneak it in, as you say, using another reason. Mine is the dog. She was acting up and I was discontent with how negatively I was feeling toward her. Daily walks calm her down and help me enjoy her more (and there’s my excuse)


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