Happiness: Don’t Worry About the Quality, Focus on the Quantity? Gretchen Rubin Tries to Live a Happier Life by Counting Her Moments—Literally

At Slate.com, Gretchen Rubin has a way for increasing her happiness that works for her:

[T]he fact is, if you want something to count in your life, it helps to figure out a way to count it. To put it another way, as one of my Secrets of Adulthood holds, “You manage what you measure.”

That’s one of the key reasons that my Resolutions Chart works so well. Setting myself a concrete task, and measuring each day whether I’m complying with it, makes me far more likely to stick to my resolution.

Difficult-to-measure resolutions like “Find more joy in life” or “Be present in the moment” are tougher to keep than “Once a week, make plans with friends” or “Don’t use my iPod when I’m walking to work.” It’s hard to tell whether you’re getting more joy out of life, but it’s easy to score yourself on keeping a weekly outing with friends.

In my own case, with my workaholic tendencies, I realized that if I didn’t measure certain values in my life, I’d neglect them. My friends like to make fun of my paradoxical resolutions like “Force myself to wander” or “Schedule time for play,” but if I don’t put these things on my calendar and score myself on my Resolutions Chart, I just won’t do them.

Her “Resolution Chart” is a little Ben Franklin style card (inspired from his Autobiography) in which Rubin checks off whether she did something that day (or not).

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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3 Responses to Happiness: Don’t Worry About the Quality, Focus on the Quantity? Gretchen Rubin Tries to Live a Happier Life by Counting Her Moments—Literally

  1. Dear Santi,
    I saw the nice mention of my blog, The Happiness Project, here. I so much appreciate those kind words and you shining a spotlight on my blog! Thanks and best wishes, Gretchen Rubin

  2. santitafarella says:

    Gretchen:

    I thought that you had a good and simple idea. In my 20s, I tried a Ben Franklin card to monitor things I wanted to improve about myself, but I put vague (and severe things) on the card. I thought you turned such a practice into something positive and tangible.

    —Santi

  3. edhird says:

    Benjamin Franklin had a remarkable impact in so many ways, especially in his character development tips. A Benjamin Franklin article just received the ‘Top 100 Electricity Blogs’ Award http://bit.ly/z8Ckp

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