Gretchen Rubin

April Fool! How a Prank Can Make You Happy.

My happiness-project resolutions include "Cultivate rituals and traditions," "Spread family cheer," "Take time for projects," and Be a treasure house of happy memories.

This cluster of resolutions runs together – meaning that doing a single action means I can give myself a gold star in several boxes (and yes I love those gold stars).

Last year, I decided to start doing holiday breakfasts, so these days I decorate the breakfast table for each holiday. This is easy, fun, and festive. I also decided to start playing April Fool’s pranks.

Yesterday morning, I combined the two. Before I went to bed the night before, I dyed the milk bright green -- in an opaque container. In the morning, when my two daughters were at the table, I got a big gasp when I poured the milk out onto their bowls of Special K. Much excitement. Then the green milk dyed their teeth and tongues green, another source of hilarity.

The happiness pay-off was huge. Both girls got a big kick out of it; they were very excited to tell my husband about it when he came into the kitchen; they were very excited to tell their friends that I had played a real joke on them. The morning felt special and fun.

I took a picture, so we can remember this morning for a long time.

This April Fool’s joke took me about ten seconds to pull off, but I had to decide to do it. Sometimes, even doing the smallest extra thing seems impossible, but it’s worth the effort. I constantly have to remind myself of the Third Splendid Truth: The days are long, but the years are short. I’m always happy when I take the time to observe a tradition, do a family project, spread a little cheer, take a photo.

Last year, I froze my daughters' bowls of cereal -- this year, food dye. Now I am officially out of kid-appropriate pranks. Any ideas? Please post!

* If you're interested in volunteering as a super-fan, to help me out with various tasks such as the early testing of my super-fabulous new website, you can click here or email me at gretchenrubin1 [at] gmail [dot com]. Just write “super-fan” in the subject line. To those of you who sign up -- thanks so much!

icon emailNewsletterLight

One Last Thing

Interested in happiness, habits, and human nature?

Sign up to get my free monthly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here and the Facebook Page.

Sign Up Now