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Recently, I found myself in a self-improvement kind of mood.  All I needed was a goal.

I was at the airport my second home as I travel so much with time between flights and decided to investigate possibilities at a bookstore. After sorting through their numerous self help titles, I chose The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Be happy? Sure! That’s an easy enough goal for someone like me, who already considers herself pretty content.

But be happier? Challenge accepted.

Rubin's book chronicles her self-prescribed, yearlong search for happiness, focusing on the things that really matter to her. She starts by outlining her own “Twelve Commandments” and goes on to exercise these tenets throughout her experience.  Although, to some people, happiness may seem like a trivial goal, Rubin points out that, “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.”

She notes that it is much easier to be critical and judgmental than to be open. Some people even perceive being unhappy, or cynical, as a sign of depth.

After reading the book, I became more mindful of how my attitude affects other people and more aware of the ways I let other people's attitudes affect me, as well. If happiness is not easily achievable, remaining positive is at least a step in the right direction.

The Happiness Project instructs: "One way to make yourself happy is to make others happy." This is a piece of advice I took to heart. Following Rubin's design, I have created a list of my own commandments going forward:

1. Meditate.

2. Write more.

3. Keep things light.

4. Cultivate creativity.

5. Make time.

6. Love fully.

7. Let it go.

8. Give back.

9. Make others happy.

10. Be Mindful.

11. Travel.

12. Do what you do and keep doing it.

What should your own happiness commandments be?

photo credits: amanda owen, randy p. martin

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