My current emphasis: how to make good habits and break bad ones (really)

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Yipppppeeeeee! An extremely happy day for me.

Hclogo_2Today has been an extremely happy day for me. Here’s why:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY (October 3, 2007) HarperCollins has acquired world English rights for THE HAPPINESS PROJECT: My Year Long Quest to be Happier by Changing My Life by bestselling author Gretchen Rubin. The pre-emptive deal was made by Gail Winston, Executive Editor, Harper, and Christy Fletcher of Fletcher & Parry. The book is tentatively scheduled to be published in Winter, 2010.

“Although the question of happiness has been examined by great thinkers and contemporary psychologists, this is a uniquely personal account of how one person actually learned to be happier,” says Winston. “Written with verve, intelligence, and a great sense of humor, this is popular non-fiction at its best.”

I’m thrilled! In celebration, Wednesday Tips will appear tomorrow.

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The indefatigable Ron Hogan wrote about the deal on GalleyCat. Fabulous.

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If you’re starting your own happiness project, please join the Happiness Project Group on Facebook to swap ideas. It’s easy; it’s free.

I'm just about finished writing my next book, Better Than Before, about how we can make and break our habits. If you’d like to hear when the book goes on sale, sign up here.

Sex and the City, the movie, comes right to my neighborhood — and brings a little happiness.

SexcityHow fabulous. Some scenes from the Sex and the City movie are being filmed in my neighborhood today.

The special “No Parking” notices went up a few days ago; they coyly said only “Untitled Movie,” but I suspected the movie was Sex and the City. When I came outside this morning, and confronted a fleet of Haddad’s trucks, I asked a woman with an earpiece, “What movie are they filming?”

“I really can’t tell you,” she answered, “but if you live right here, you’ll probably figure it out.”

A little later, I asked a neighborhood authority—a doorman. “Do you know what’s going on? What are they making?”

“Sex and the City,” he answered with customary doorman omniscience.

I’m getting a big kick out of seeing all the hubbub, and I asked myself–why? What happiness buttons are being pushed?

First, though this may sound surprising, it’s always engaging to watch other people at work. How they organize themselves, what the stages of the work are, how the people interact, the tools they use – it’s always interesting. For instance, the big movie trucks always have a set of doors marked “Lucy” and “Desi,” which I assume are bathrooms. But maybe not. Interesting.

Second, it created a nice neighborly feeling. Because other people were curious, I got curious. Like a lemming, or a nervous gazelle, when I saw the crowd of people staring up the block, I had to join them. Then we all chatted together.

Third, seeing the movie being made right near my house gave me a sense of the theatricality of everyday life. Suddenly, the mundane streets that I walk through many times each day seemed glamorous and exotic.

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My friend Marci Alboher just launched a terrific new New York Times blog, Shifting Careers, that highlights new ways of thinking about career choices and work. I was very happy to be included in her debut post, about Getting Happier, in Work and in Life.

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New to the Happiness Project? Consider subscribing to my RSS feed: Subscribe to this blog’s feed. Or sign up to get email updates in the box at the top righthand corner.
If you’re starting your own happiness project, please join the Happiness Project Group on Facebook to swap ideas. It’s easy; it’s free.

What a visit to Google taught me about happiness (a lesson I’m just understanding now).

GoogleI have a close friend who works for Google, and when I was in California a while ago, I went to work with her for the day. While she did her thing, I worked on my laptop in a conference room.

The Google offices were just like the articles describe. Dogs everywhere, people sitting on exercise balls instead of desk chairs, pool tables here and there, scooters to take you from building to building, and lots of free food and drink.

I was describing it to someone last night, and heard myself waxing enthusiastic: “They had healthy food, like cereal and fruit! And coffee, and different teas, and soda! All right there, you could just take it!”

Then it hit me. Cereal…fruit…coffee…Diet Coke. Just the kind of thing that’s freely available in MY OWN APARTMENT. Every day, for at least part of the day, if not the entire day, I work from home, where such a cornucopia is right at hand.

The things that seemed like such treats when I found them at Google were, in fact, the staples of my own house.

I realized yet again the peerless wisdom of Samuel Johnson, who told Boswell, “Sir, it is surprising how people will go to a distance for what they may have at home.”
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A blogland colleague, from LifeRemix, has launched a new social link aggregator that sounds very cool, Shoutingmat.ch. I checked out the “lifehack” channel, and immediately got sucked in. A great way to get to a lot of great content, fast.
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New to the Happiness Project? Consider subscribing to my RSS feed: Subscribe to this blog’s feed. Or sign up to get email updates in the box at the top righthand corner.
If you’re starting your own happiness project, please join the Happiness Project Group on Facebook to swap ideas. It’s easy; it’s free.

This Saturday: a happiness quotation from Oscar Wilde.

Wilde“I have got to make everything that has happened to me good for me.” –Oscar Wilde

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If you’re starting your own happiness project, you might like to join the Happiness Project Group on Facebook to swap ideas. It’s easy, it’s free.

One easy key to happiness: get more sleep. That means turning off the light!

Night_windowLast night, I practically fell asleep in the Big Girl’s bed as I was tucking her in. A little later, the Big Man proposed watching a TiVO’d episode of The Shield.

I wavered. I love The Shield; I wanted to hang out with the Big Man; 9:30 p.m. seemed a ridiculously early hour to go to bed; and I knew from experience that if I started watching, I’d wake up.

On the other hand, I felt very sleepy.

Why does it often seem more tiring to go to bed than to stay up? Inertia, I guess. Plus the exhausting pre-bed work of taking out my contact lenses, brushing my teeth, and washing my face.

I decided to head to bed. Because I went to sleep at 9:30, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. I spent ninety peaceful minutes working while my family was still asleep, and had a lovely, productive start to my day.

Too often, though, I choose to stay up, and then pay for it the next morning.

According to one study, a bad night’s sleep was one of the top two factors that upset people’s daily moods (along with tight work deadlines). Another study suggested that getting one extra hour of sleep each night would do more for your daily happiness than getting a $60,000 raise.

I have a lot of tricks I use to help myself get to sleep. But sometimes the most important trick is to remember to get into bed and TURN OFF the light.

At the same time, I did violate my happiness-project rule that, if possible, the Big Man and I should get into bed at the same time. But I knew there was no chance he was going to bed at 9:30.

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The great blog LifeTwo dedicated this week to the pursuit of happiness. There’s a treasure trove of information there – all about how to be happier. Be careful; once you start reading, it can be hard to stop. Topics include “From Happy to Happier,” “Hedonists and Rat Racers,” “Pleasure and Meaning,” and, one of my very favorite subjects, “The Importance of Goals.”

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Considering doing your own happiness project? Join the Happiness Project group on Facebook to swap ideas, strategies, and experiences.

New to the Happiness Project? Consider subscribing to my RSS feed: Subscribe to this blog’s feed. Or sign up to get email updates in the box at the top righthand corner.