Gretchen Rubin

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.

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