The Happiness Project

Be Happier: Join or Start a Happiness Project Group

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too ! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in—no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

A few months ago, in a post about the resolution to Join or start a group , I threw out a suggestion: You might consider launching a group for people who were interested in pursuing their own happiness projects.

As I explained, I think this would be great. People could swap ideas, build enthusiasm, give each other accountability for doing happiness projects—and not only that—just the fact of joining a group, whatever the focus might be, would build happiness.

I promised that if people were interested, I’d create a starter kit to help get the ball rolling. To my shock and delight, more than a thousand people have written to request the starter kit. Zoikes! Sign up here to get your own kit.

It’s very exciting to see the first few local Happiness Project Groups begin to take shape. Who’s next?

—Michael has started a group in Los Angeles .
—Wendi has started a group in Gainesville, Fla .
—Elizabeth has started a group in Waterville, Maine .
Elizabeth reports: “I introduced the happiness toolbox, photocopied the weekly topics pages and have started to do the projects as an adjunct to our group support. At this point almost everyone in the Women’s Group has signed up for the Happiness Project Group.”
—I’ve heard about groups forming in D.C., Chicago , and the SF Bay area . More on those soon.

If you have friends in those cities, please let them know that these groups that are forming.

Also, if you’ve started a happiness-project group yourself, please set up a Facebook Group for it and add yourself to the Group Directory . (This sounds like a pain, but it’s not as arduous as it sounds—but if you can’t deal with these logistics, don’t worry about it.)

Now, I realize that many (or perhaps even most) of the people starting happiness-project groups are forming them with friends. In that case, you don’t need help spreading the word. Please do go ahead and make a Facebook Group for yourself and add yourself to the Group Directory, anyway.

In the future, I’m hoping to be able to offer certain things to the Groups and the Group Leaders, so I need to be able to find you! Also, a directory will allow the groups to communicate among themselves.

One observation for those who are considering forming a group: It takes special energy to start something. The number of people who are willing to get something rolling is much smaller than the number of people who will join up. As Samuel Johnson noted, “The production of something, where nothing was before, is an act of greater energy than the expansion or decoration of the thing produced.” But every time I’ve made the effort to start something (for example, my two children’s-literature reading groups ), I’ve ended up being very happy that I did.

Keep me posted about these groups! I can’t tell you how interested I am to hear about what everyone is doing.

* On Gimundo , I ran across a video that shows 500 years of female faces in Western art in less than three minutes. Mesmerizing.

* Again, if you’re interested in forming a group for people who are working on their own happiness projects—to share ideas, provide accountability, and have fun—you can sign up for a starter kit here .