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

Want to get the "Moment of Happiness"? A daily happiness quotation in your inbox. Sign up here close daily quote

Revealed! Book Club Choices for November. Happy Reading.

bookscolorfulBecause nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

  • One outstanding book about happiness.
  • One outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature. I have a crazy passion for kidlit.
  • One eccentric pick. This is a book that I love, but freely admit may not be for everyone.

 

I’ll post these recommendations here, or to make sure you don’t miss them, sign up for the monthly Book Club newsletter.

Shop at the wonderful Brooklyn indie WORD, BN.com, Amazon (I’m an affiliate of all three), or your favorite local bookstore. Or visit the library! Drumroll…

An outstanding book about happiness:

Til Roenneberg,  Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired. Buy from WORD; BN.comAmazon.

An outstanding children’s book:

Elizabeth Marie Pope, The Sherwood Ring. Buy from WORD; BN.com; Amazon.

An eccentric pick:

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx. Buy from WORD; BN.com; Amazon.

I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds. So I won’t describe these books, but I love all the books I recommend; I’ve read them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely loved.

If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think? Nettle’s Personality; Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase; and Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. So, so, so good.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here.

I've just finished writing my next book, Better Than Before, about how we can make and break our habits. If you'd like to pre-order the book, click here.

Story: My Inconvenience May Be Someone Else’s Miracle.

This week’s video story: Something that’s inconvenient for me may be someone else’s miracle.

 

Has this ever happened to you? Something that you know is probably an inconvenience for most people is actually extremely helpful for you? Unfortunately, it’s so easy to notice when the opposite happens, and a change is super-inconvenient; I remind myself of this story to help boost my attitude.

If you can’t see the video, click here.

Find the archives of videos here.  Almost 1.8 MILLION views. Don’t forget to subscribe.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here.

One Way to Boost Happiness? Connect with My Past.

GretchenandSOCLast weekend, I went to Washington, D.C., to attend the reunion of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s clerks.

This event made me happy for many reasons. I was thrilled to see Justice O’Connor. I loved catching up with many old friends and acquaintances. I enjoyed walking around the halls of the Supreme Court building.

And the entire weekend reminded me of the usefulness of my resolution to Stay connected to my past.

I have a terrible memory of my own past. I can barely remember my childhood. I have few memories from college and law school–though once I got married I got the advantage of being able to consult my husband’s memory. Many of my resolutions–like Keep a one-sentence journal or Keep photos or Take tourist photos of my own life–are aimed at helping me remember my own past.

Because I’m not a lawyer anymore, it’s especially easy for me to lose touch with my lawyer past. My husband and I met in law school–you can see photo highlights here–but he’s not a lawyer anymore, either.  Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that we’re not practicing law any more. Once a lawyer, always a lawyer.

I like being back in that environment, to get to listen to law talk and hang out with lawyer friends. It makes me feel more connected to my past, which makes me feel more rooted, more…coherent.

Whenever I’m trying to decide how to spend my precious time, energy, or money, I ask myself a series of questions. “Will this broaden or deepen my relationships?” “Will this contribute to an atmosphere of growth in my life?” “Is this a way to ‘Be Gretchen?’”  and “Will this help connect me to my past?

How about you? Do you take steps to try to stay connected to your past? Do you worry about losing touch with some part of your past?

I write a lot about the importance of keeping memories strong throughout Happier at Home.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here.

Note about the photograph: you may be thinking, “If the reunion happened in Washington, D.C., why is the New York Public Library in the background?” Well, you probably didn’t think that, but for accuracy’s sake, I’ll point out that this photo was taken in New York City a few months ago. Here’s a picture I took at the Supreme Court: SupremeCourt

Alert! The Problem with the Daily Emails Will Be Fixed ASAP.

broken-chainI’ve heard from many readers who have told me that they’re stopped getting the daily posts through their email.

Yes, there’s a problem that’s proving quite tricky to fix. But I’m working on it! They’ll resume as soon as possible.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, once I get this problem fixed, sign up here. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what RSS is, just ignore that.)

“A Man Gets an Immense Satisfaction from the Knowledge of Having Done Good Work.”

delacroix“You increase your self-respect when you feel you’ve done everything you ought to have done, and if there is nothing else to enjoy, there remains that chief of pleasures, the feeling of being pleased with oneself. A man gets an immense amount of satisfaction from the knowledge of having done good work and of having made the best use of his day, and when I am in this state I find that I thoroughly enjoy my rest and even the mildest forms of recreation.”

Journal of Eugene Delacroix

Do you agree? For me, this is very true. Even when I’m having a bad day, even “if there is nothing else to enjoy,” knowing that I’ve done some good work, in some way, is a great comfort.