The Happiness Project

Be Happy on Your Way to Reaching Goals, Not Just When You Accomplish Them

The Sixth of my Personal Commandments is “Enjoy the process.” I learned this commandment from my father, who reminds us to “Enjoy the process” at every turn.

I’m finishing up the first-pass page proofs for my book. This is the first time I’ve seen my manuscript looking like a real book, and it’s very gratifying, as you can imagine.

Nevertheless, as I was editing, I was feeling overworked and plagued with self-doubt—when I remembered an afternoon a few years ago, after I’d just started actually writing the book, when I’d fantasized about the delights of the very stage I’m in right now.

And I realized, Enjoy the process ! This is the fun part! I like editing much more than writing. It’s exciting to see the book taking shape. Instead of getting worked up and agitated, I should let myself take pleasure in hitting this milestone and in moving forward.

As corny as it is to say, it’s true: I’ll be happier if I find happiness along the way (technical term: pregoal attainment positive affect ) instead of expecting to be happy when I reach a certain goal. Even if hitting that goal doesn’t make me as happy as I expect , if I enjoy the process, I’m happy.

* For people who are thinking about careers and career changes (lots of folks like that, these days), a great resource is the Career Renegade blog and book, Career Renegade: How To Make a Great Living Doing What You Love .

* Hey superfans! As expected, the prelaunch of the superfabulous soon-to-be-unveiled Web site has been pushed back—now, to April 20. Hang in there! I think that date will hold.

If you haven’t signed up as a superfan but would like to volunteer to help with the prelaunch of the Web site, or other various things, I’d be thrilled to hear from you. You can click here or e-mail me at gretchenrubin1 [at] gmail [dot com] . Just write “superfan” in the subject line.