Tell Other People about What Makes You Happy — a New Feature of the Happiness Project Toolbox.

A few days ago, I wrote about the happiness of creative collaboration. Another collaborative project which has been a huge source of happiness, novelty and challenge, and fun for me has been the creation of my companion website, the Happiness Project Toolbox.

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 Secrets of Adulthood.” 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 done, 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 Post Secret, where people anonymously post their secrets, and I’m fascinated whenever people post on my blog with their own Personal Commandments, etc., so one of my favorite Toolbox features is that you can see what other people have posted (unless they choose to keep entries private).

To see other people’s entries, click on the bar across the top. It’s super-addictive to see what other people write.

It’s fun to see what other people do; it’s also fun to let other people know what you’re doing. So we just added a terrific new feature. When you post, if you check the box at the bottom, “Post to Facebook,” you can share what you’ve added with your Facebook friends.

So if you add a book to your Inspiration Board, or make a new Resolution, discover a great new Happiness Hack, when you note it for yourself, with one click you can also share it with both your Facebook friends and other Toolbox users. Another way Facebook can boost your happiness.

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” though I admit I’m sporadic about keeping it up; I read a LOT).
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.

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.

* I really enjoy the funny, thought-provoking blog Notes from the Trenches. A major theme? Searching for ways to focus on the joys and pleasures of everyday family life, even when your kids are driving you crazy. The days are long, but the years are short.

  • LivewithFlair

    Thanks! I love what you said about novelty! Today I’ve been thinking a lot about how break free from “cliche living.” I found this weird little Japanese quote involving mother hens and tapping 🙂 that is really about finding happiness. Enjoy!

  • Lyyli

    What perfect timing!! Just today, I finished my personal commandments (some of which I’ve definitely taken from here):

    1. There is only love.
    2. Accept myself and my limitations, but strive to improve.
    3. Be compassionate to myself so that I may be compassionate to others.
    4. Stop evaluating others’ choices or keeping score.
    5. Stop thinking future events will make things easier—the challenge is now
    6. Practice self-discipline daily.
    7. Do it now: steadily, persistently, passionately.
    8. Keep things in perspective.
    9. Identify the problem/need.
    10. Enjoy the process.
    11. Spend based on who you are, not who you want to be.
    12. The limitation on our resources is what creates the value in our choices.

    Can’t wait to go see the new site!!

    • gretchenrubin

      What a terrific list. I’m copying several of these down.

  • JenDC

    What a fabulous new addition! We are so looking forward to using the toolbox!

  • Sandy

    I have registered and am working on my toolbox! Thanks so much for putting together such an awesome site. I have been meaning to write you and ask you about your Resolution Chart, and lo and behold here is the fabulous post that explains it all! I LOVE IT.

    • gretchenrubin

      Wonderful! I’m so happy to hear that you’re finding the site useful.

  • Sltresso

    great idea! thanks for doing this gretchen

  • Deeshakc

    Wow I love this toolbox. I’m so crazy about interactive goal planners that allow u to enter all your crude info and helps you make something beautifull out of it, leading you to your goals beautifully.
    Thank you Gretchen for this wonderful blog full of optimism…I too am on the path of searching for my true happiness(who isn’t) and from today, I’ll follow your blog closely. Plus I’m a very messy/disorganized person. Hopefully your tips will help me be the tidier, organized person
    Btw similar to the toolbox Gretchen told us about, I found this:
    Simpleology 101 which is similar. It is the science of getting what you want. Interactive with lessons, tasks to build up towards your goal to be done each day,with to do lists; filling your short, medium, long term goals and ur ultimate life goal. It shows you your ultimate goal each day so that you are efficient and build towards your aim.Try it for free!It helped me beat my lack of motivation and procrastination.
    And on the page, it may seem like you have to pay for the service. But you actually don’t. You need to pay if u want to use simpleology 102,103 etc(science of getting money etc)…But if you are patient enough to skip through all the things the guy tries to sell us, u’ll find somewhere a little checkbox saying “i’m not interested in other offers.just simpleology 101” then u manage to get this beautifool tool that will change your life, for free!
    check out

  • Randy Bosch

    One of the tools I have used for years sounds like a focused Inspiration Board – the Idea Wall. I wrote a brief post about it (The Idea Wall) at You’re approach is fabulous – keep it up! You walk the talk!

  • Mallory

    Seeing people laugh make me happy…brigtens my mood :)Just found this neat contest, check it out at – you can cast your vote or enter a video of you laughing. It’s very fun to look at.