Book Review: The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project

by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project Cover

My Rating:  *** (3 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

Honestly, I can’t remember why I chose to read this book.  I began it in April, at a time when I was really trying to focus on de-cluttering, so I must have seen it referenced somewhere since de-cluttering is one of the key recommendations for becoming happier.  I really liked the concept of the book as well.

Summary (from Goodreads)

What if you could change your life without really changing your life? On the outside, Gretchen Rubin had it all — a good marriage, healthy children and a successful career — but she knew something was missing. Determined to end that nagging feeling, she set out on a year-long quest to learn how to better enjoy the life she already had.

Each month, Gretchen pursued a different set of resolutions — go to sleep earlier, tackle a nagging task, bring people together, take time to be silly — along with dozens of other goals. She read everything from classical philosophy to cutting-edge scientific studies, from Winston Churchill to Oprah, developing her own definition of happiness and a plan for how to achieve it. She kept track of which resolutions worked and which didn’t, sharing her stories and collecting those of others through her blog (created to fulfill one of March’s resolutions). Bit by bit, she began to appreciate and amplify the happiness in her life.

The Happiness Project is the engaging, relatable and inspiring result of the author’s twelve-month adventure in becoming a happier person. Written with a wicked sense of humour and sharp insight, Gretchen Rubin’s story will inspire readers to embrace the pleasure in their lives and remind them how to have fun.

What Did I Think/Recommendation

This book took me a really long time to finish.  It did not hold my attention as well as I thought it would have.  I expected it to be a really easy read because the topic is something that I am very interested in, but it was not as easy of a read as I had anticipated.  I admire the author for her honesty and the way she points out her own flaws, and I can relate with her in many ways.  The book is filled with many examples from the author’s life, but in my opinion, it was a little too detailed and difficult to get through at times.

There are lots of great tips, precepts, and quotes in the book.  Nothing comes to mind that really stood out or inspired me, but I have done a lot of research on the topic of happiness so there wasn’t much that was new to me.  Just because the book didn’t have a life-changing impact on my life, it doesn’t mean it won’t on others, so I would still recommend checking it out for yourself.

You can find other reviews on The Happiness Project, and find out more about the author at Goodreads.

 

Book Review: The Millionaire Messenger

The Millionaire Messenger:  Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice

by Brendon Burchard

The Millionaire Messenger cover

My Rating ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

I am inspired by Brendon Burchard, and I would eventually like to read all of his books.  Until now, the only book I have read of his was The Charge (another 5 star book…see my review).  I have a long list of books I would love to read.  The Millionaire Messenger was on the list, but it was not one that I felt I needed to read right away.  Until a few weeks ago.  When I watched one of Brendon’s free videos promoting his program Experts Academy, he referenced The Millionaire Messenger often and I felt called to read it right away.  So, I got it from my library and began to read…

Summary (From Goodreads)

“In The Millionaire Messenger, Brendon Burchard pulls back the curtains on the once-secretive “expert industry” and shows how to become an influential and highly paid advice expert through websites, books, speeches, seminars, coaching, consulting, and online programs.

Blessed to receive life’s golden ticket – a second chance – after surviving a dramatic car accident, Burchard has dedicated his life to helping others find their voice, live more fully, and follow their dreams.

By following his 10-step program, average, ordinary people can learn to package their struggles, successes, research, or life’s story into advice for others and become experts on any given topic.  In the industry of people who share their advice and knowledge with the world and get paid for it, Burchard is the “guru’s guru.”
If you’ve ever wondered how the gurus spread their message, serve others, and build a real business, then this is a must-read.”

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I found this book to be both inspiring and motivating.  There is so much information in there, and it is difficult to take it all in at once.  It definitely is not a leisurely read.  To get the most out of it, you must do the work.  I found it helpful to have my journal nearby and answer the questions that were presented as I went through the book.  I especially enjoyed the questions he presented at the beginning.  He asks the reader to list 5 things they have learned about a variety of different topics.  I enjoyed answering those questions and learned a lot about myself through that exercise.

I feel like I need to read this book again because it is so packed with content and there are so many of his ideas I want to implement into my work.  If you have a message you want to share with the world, as I do, then I highly recommend reading this book and doing the work involved along the way.

Experts Millionaire Messenger

For more reviews on The Millionaire Messenger, visit Goodreads.

Top 10 Inspirational Books I Read in 2015

top 10 inspirational books 2015 done

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss

Reading is something I am passionate about.  I never leave the house without a book.  You never know when you will have to wait, and I find that a book always comes in handy during those times.  There are so many interesting things to learn in life, and reading books is one of my favorite ways to keep life exciting and learn about those things I am interested in.  As 2015 comes to a close, I am reviewing the books I have read this year and reflecting on all the wonderful and exciting things I have learned.

I use Goodreads to keep a list of the books I would like to read as well as to rate, review, and keep track of books as I read them.  At the beginning of 2015, I had set a goal for myself to read 26 books.  I only finished 18 books this year, but I also wrote a book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge, so I’m not going to beat myself up for not reaching my goal.  Of the 18 books I read this year, here are my Top 10 Recommendations.  They are listed in no particular order.  Click on the hyperlink or the book image for my full review of each.

  1.  A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson shares her reflections on A Course in Miracles and her insights on the application of love in the search for inner peace.  I loved this book!  Marianne is filled with wisdom about life and love, and I truly enjoyed reading it.  There is so much information in here about every aspect of life!  I absolutely recommend it to anyone who is open to hearing the messages in it.  It is the type of book that will appear in your life when you are ready for it.

A Return to Love Marianne Williamson

 

 

 

 

 

2.  One Month to Live by Kerry & Chris Shook

What if you only had one month to live?  How would you make each day meaningful?  How would you relate to others differently?  What would you do to make the rest of your life really matter?  This book helped me to realize the importance of living intentionally so I may make the most of my time, fulfill my purpose on this earth, and make the difference I was sent here to make.  This book reinforces what really matters in life:  relationships.  Relationships are eternal, but everything else is temporary.

One Month to Live

 

 

 

 

 

3.  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

“Creativity is God’s gift to us.  Using our creativity is our gift back to God.”  That was a very powerful quote from the book that spoke to me.  We are ALL artists.    We were created to create.  This book will help you to unleash your inner artist and reclaim that creativity that you may have hidden deep down.  This is the book that gave me the push and the tools to help me write my own book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge, which was published this year.

The Artists Way

4.  Rachel’s Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott with Steve Rabey

“The Columbine tragedy in April 1999 pierced the heart of our country. We later learned that the teenage killers specifically targeted Rachel Scott and mocked her Christian faith on their chilling, homemade videotapes. Rachel Scott died for her faith. Now her parents talk about Rachel’s life and how they have found meaning in their daughter’s martyrdom in the aftermath of the school shooting.”  This book had a huge impact on my life.  Rachel’s spirituality inspired me greatly.  After my first reading of the book several years ago, I began writing letters to God in my journal just as she had.  My letters to God have brought me to a whole new level spiritually, and it is all because of the influence of this authentic 17-year-old girl who just wanted God to use her to make a difference in the world.  She sure made a difference in my life, and I’m sure she has inspired countless others as well.  Her parents also inspire me through their positive attitude, their willingness to forgive, and their belief that God used the Columbine tragedy for the good of the world.

To anyone who has any interest in deepening their spirituality, I certainly recommend this book.

Rachel's Tears

5.  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I loved this book!  I would highly recommend it to EVERYONE.  It may have initially been written to help improve marriages, but the concepts in the book can apply to any relationship.  Once we recognize the love language of our partner, friend, child, etc., we will be better able to show them we care and help to improve that relationship.

The Five Love Languages

6.  The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware

I loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in living a happy and authentic life and having no regrets when they get to the end of it.  Sadly, death is a subject many people fear and they do not want to think about it until it is too late and they are forced to.  We are all going to die someday.  The sooner we accept that truth, the sooner we will be able to set our own priorities and live a life focused on the things that are really important to us.

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

7.  There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Wayne Dyer

I love the teachings of Wayne Dyer!  If I had to describe this book in one word, I would say it is about LOVE.  Wayne Dyer passed away this year, but he knew about love and being connected to everyone and everything, and I’m so grateful he is going to live on through his books and teachings so we can all learn to do the same.  I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is open to embracing their spirituality and connecting more with everyone and everything in the universe.

There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem

8.  Weekends with Daisy by Sharron Kahn Luttrell

I would recommend this book to readers of all ages!  It kept my interest the entire time, and it was a fairly quick and easy read at just over 300 pages.  Whether you are currently a dog-lover or not, you will finish this book with a new appreciation for dogs.

Weekends with Daisy

9.  What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles (Review not available)

After being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, I went back to work for the first time this year, and I wish I had read this book before I tackled my resume and went on my first job interview in over 17 years.  I did get through it and found the perfect job for me (actually, two of them — both part time).  This book is filled with current resources and tips that can be helpful to anyone in search of a job.  This book goes further than general tips as it asks you to really get to know yourself and find out what you are really looking for in a job.  I especially enjoyed Appendix A: Finding Your Mission in Life.  A must read for those in search of a job.

What Color is Your Parachute 2015

10.  The Julian Chapter by RJ Palacio

Wonder and 365 Days of Wonder, both by R.J. Palacio, were both very inspiring to me.  They are some of my all-time favorite books.  The Julian Chapter is the final book that completes the story, and I love this one as well!

The Julian Chapter

For more inspiring books, here are the top 10 books I read in 2014.

Which books have inspired you this year?  Please let me know in the comments below.

A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

Are you tired of making New Year’s Resolutions you can’t keep?

This year, instead of focusing on all the things you want to change about yourself, what if you made a different kind of resolution? What if the only resolution you made was to love yourself more, exactly as you are?

You are a perfect creation just as you are!  You were born with so many natural gifts to share with the world, but when you focus on all the things you think are “wrong” with you or that society tells you are “wrong” with you, your precious time and energy will be spent on the wrong areas and everyone will be missing out on the real gifts you have to bring to the world. Instead, why not focus on being yourself, discovering those gifts, and sharing them with those around you?

When you learn to love yourself unconditionally and live a more authentic life, all of the things you think are “wrong” with you will naturally take care of themselves. For example, if losing weight was going to be your resolution, that will naturally happen when you take the time to love yourself as you are and commit to discovering the emotional cause of your eating habits. Once you are able to deal with and overcome those emotional issues, you will naturally want to care for your body and fuel it with real foods that nature intended us to eat. Then, the weight will fall off naturally. The same goes for any other area of your life that you think might need improvement.  When you begin to live authentically, everything begins to fall into place and your dreams will begin to come true!

If you do want to live a more authentic life and get to know and love yourself more but you don’t exactly know how to do that, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge was written to help you do just that.  It requires just 15 minutes of your undivided attention each day for 31-Days. You will learn to embrace your uniqueness, discover your priorities so you can spend your time and energy on those things that really matter in life, and recognize your gifts and talents so you can share them with the world and fulfill the purpose that you were sent here to make.

The_31Day_SelfLove_Cover_for_Kindle

 

So, whatever challenge or resolution you decide to make for this New Year, I wish you much success!

The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge is Now Available!!

Do you want to live a more authentic, peaceful, and purposeful life? Do you want to live your life to the fullest and use your natural gifts and talents to make the world a better place?  If so, I am SO excited to introduce you to my very first book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge!

The_31-Day_Self-Love_Cover_for_Kindle

This 31-day guided journal will help you learn to recognize your worth, identify your purposes in life, and develop the habits necessary to become healthy in body, mind, and spirit.  It is intended for anyone who is starving for a little bit of alone time, or anyone who is willing to dedicate a little more time to get to know and love yourself more. If you know anyone who could benefit from this book, I would be grateful for your recommendation. It is currently available through Amazon here.

Also, if you enjoy inspiring quotes or would like to follow my journey as an author, please “Like” my FB Author page Stacy Rancourt.

A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep: Do You Want to Love Yourself More?

Do you want to make a New Year’s resolution you can actually keep this year?

What if the only resolution you made this year was to spend some time getting to know and love yourself so you could live a truly authentic life, using your natural gifts and talents to make the difference you were sent to make in this world?

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you love yourself?  How well do you know yourself?

If your answer to either of those questions is not as high as you would like it to be, I invite you to download my FREE e-book/journal to participate in my 31-day challenge beginning on January 1, 2015.

You will need 15 minutes of uninterrupted time each day to focus on yourself.  Turn off the phone, television, and get away from any distractions.  Each day, you will be asked one question that will help you get to know and love yourself more.

At the end of the month, the desired result will be a deeper connection to yourself, more inner peace, love, and acceptance of yourself, and hopefully a clearer vision of your priorities and where you are going in life.  You will not need to reveal your answers to anyone.

If that sounds like just what you need right now, you can download my e-book/journal The January 2015 Love Yourself More Challenge  for FREE.  The e-book will only be available for free for a limited time, so click on the book cover below to download it, and join me in working toward becoming healthy in mind, body, and spirit!

lym cover2 resized updated

Inspiration Friday: 39 Secrets to Happiness and Peace

We’ve all heard that happiness is a choice, and that is true.  It is not what happens to us, but our attitude and the way we react to situations that will determine our happiness.  Here are a few “secrets” I have discovered so far in my 39 years that have led me to a life filled with happiness and inner peace.

attitude of gratitude

1.  The attitude of gratitude will ALWAYS bring you happiness.  Find something to be thankful for.  We are all constantly surrounded by so many gifts and blessings.

2.  View every encounter and experience as a gift.  Even the seemingly bad situations are a gift in the end.  Try to recognize and appreciate these gifts every day.

3.  Be kind to everyone, but spend the majority of your time with like-minded, positive people who are also committed to improving their personal and spiritual growth and are willing to support you on your journey.

4.  Fill your mind with only positive, inspirational and uplifting ideas and thoughts.  Turn off the news and leave the disturbing books at the library.  “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ~ Philippians 4:8 (my favorite bible verse)

5.  Eat real food!! (It’s amazing how much energy you will have!)

6.  Do not multitask.  Do one thing at a time, give it your all, and be fully present in everything you do.  Heaven on Earth happens in the moments when you are fully present.

7.  Do not judge others.  You have no idea what anyone else is going through.  Everyone has reasons for their beliefs and actions.  We are all unique and just want to be allowed to be ourselves and be accepted for who we really are.  Only then can our true gifts shine through.  “If God is infinite, then nobody is wrong.” ~ Panache Desai

8.  Think before you speak.  Is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind?  If not, keep it to yourself.

9.  Forgive.  Holding onto anger never hurts the other person.  It only hurts yourself.  Let it go and let God take it from there.

10.  Do not gossip or spend your time consumed with other people’s lives.  Put your time and energy into improving your own.

11.  Practice acceptance.  Everything happens for a reason, and always for the overall good.  Even the most tragic situations result in more good than bad over time.  Unfortunately, sometimes it may take years to see the good, but just trust that it is for a reason.  God doesn’t make mistakes.

12.  Go for a walk every day.  Outside!

13.  When you’re feeling stressed, go outside.  Take a deep breath, look up at the sky, admire it’s beauty, and say “Thank You!”  An instant moment of peace!!

14.  Spend some time alone every day.  God speaks to you in the silence.  “The morning breeze has secrets to tell you, do not go back to sleep”~ Rumi

15.  Do less.  Downtime is NEVER wasted time. (It took me a very long time to learn this!)

16.  Do something creative every day.  Write, draw, cook, paint, anything.  Just create!

17.  The answers are all within you.  Stop looking outside of yourself for them.

18.  Focus on cooperation rather than competition.  There is an infinite supply of love and abundance in the world.  Collaborate with those who have common goals rather than competing with them.  Working together will benefit everyone!

19.  Stop trying to mask your true self.  Learn to fully love and accept yourself as you are.  If you NEED makeup to feel good about yourself, or you NEED substances (like drugs, alcohol, coffee, or even sugar…yes, sugar is a drug) to keep you going or wake you up each day, those things need to be eliminated from your life.  Your passion for life should get you out of bed each morning, not coffee!

20.  Embrace who you are and stop worrying about what others think.  Once you do this, others who are like-minded will enter your life.  You are never alone. (Although you may feel like you are for a while…just hang in there.)

21.  Go on dates with those closest to you (your spouse, each of your children individually, your mom, etc.)  Let them know they are special and worthy of your time and undivided attention.

22.  Remember, you do not set the master plan for your life.  Embrace distractions and view them as gifts.  Everything is happening in its own perfect time, so stop trying to rush everything.  Stop trying so hard and just let go and allow God to work through you.

23.  Don’t do anything out of guilt or obligation.  Only do things out of love.

24.  Have no expectations.  You will never be disappointed, and you will begin to view everything in your life as a gift and blessing.  Every day is full of wonderful surprises!

25.  The best things in life are free!!

26.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  We are all connected.  If you love yourself, that love will pour out onto others.  If you hurt yourself, you hurt others.  The opposite is true as well.

27.  Every action is a choice toward love or away from it.  Always choose the path toward love.

28.  Guard your time.  Only spend it on things that are truly important to you.  Don’t ever feel guilty for saying no.  Doing something out of guilt or obligation is not an act of love.

29.  Dedicate one day a week to rest and to be fully present with those you love.  Turn off the technology on this day and enjoy your time together creating, exploring God’s wonderful creations, and just enjoying life and making memories together. (For me, that day is Saturday and is ALWAYS my favorite day of the week and always filled with love, blessings, and gratitude!)

30.  Let go of your attachment to your possessions.  Nothing (and no one) really belongs to you.  Rather, view everything you have as a temporary gift from God that can be taken away at any moment.  Stop to appreciate those gifts often.

31.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  In the end, nothing really matters except your relationships…with yourself, with God, and with others.  Spend time on what really matters.

32.  Listen to music!  Dance!  Sing!

33.  Keep a journal.  Write in it as often as  you can.  You will be amazed at the wisdom inside you.

34.  Never stop learning.  Read, read, read!  And take advice from those you admire.

35.  Clear out the clutter in all areas of your life.  Clutter drains energy.

36.  Get adequate sleep so you wake up feeling fully rested each morning.

37.  Let go of your desire for perfection.  Everyone and everything can always be improved, but at some point you must let “good enough” be good enough.

38.  Focus on giving rather than getting.  “Turn your focus from “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I serve?”~Dr. Wayne Dyer

39.  You are not an accident.  You are here for a purpose.  Turn within, learn to love and accept who you are and identify the gifts within you.  Use those gifts to make the world a better place.  🙂

Note:  This list was originally posted last year on my blog JourneyToCompleteWellness.

I hope you enjoyed my list.  Do you have any “secrets” I may have missed?  If so, leave a comment below! Have a HAPPY day! 🙂