Life is full of twists and turns and ups and downs. But it’s reassuring to know that we have the power to switch on our own joy.
Even on the busiest of days, there’s always an opportunity to make space to feel good.
The secret is to make time to indulge yourself.
Give yourself permission to focus on self-care, put yourself first, and make time for what makes you happy. This involves cultivating the mindset that empowers you to drop the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘musts’ and push off any guilt so you can make a little more time for the things that light you up.
The upside is so worth it.
If you’re able to switch on happiness, not only do you feel elevated emotions, but you’ll also empower yourself to ride the wave of productivity, creativity, and optimism that follows.
So how can you make happiness a regular occurrence?
The secret is two-fold.
1. Discover what brings you joy.
2. Embody the habits that make you happy
Let’s explore this two-part puzzle in more detail.
What brings you joy?
It sounds obvious, but if you want to feel happier, first spend some time figuring out what brings you joy.
Here’s the secret…
You don’t have to reinvent your entire life, and you don’t need a big budget either. Instead, put together a list of go-to activities and moments that make you feel good in your skin and switch on all the feel-good vibes. For example, your plan might include:
• Practicing gratitude
• Walking barefoot on the beach
• Wild swimming
• Having a massage, a facial, or a mani-pedi
• Driving out somewhere
• A long, leisurely cup of coffee
• A lie-in
• A Netflix binge
• Mini-break or an overnight stay
• Watching a great movie
• A hug
• Cooking a delicious meal from scratch
• Playing a game
• An in-depth conversation with someone you care about - Deeper Talk can help
• Listening to a great podcast [quick plug! We recommend Writing Your Best Self!!]
The secret is to discover what brings you joy.
Make your happiness a habit
With your list complete, it’s time to figure out how you’ll weave more of the things you love into your life. It’s tempting to say that you don’t have time - and you’d be right. We all live hectic, busy lives after all. But here’s the thing; your happiness doesn’t depend on your amount of spare time. Instead, it’s all about the way you allocate your hours.
In other words, with the right planning strategies, you can mastermind your day [and therefore your life] to evoke more everyday joy.
Choose your non-negotiables.
A non-negotiable is something that you do regardless.
It’s an activity that’s such an ingrained part of your identity that you figure out a way to make it happen - even if the odds are stacked against you.
When it comes to your happiness, pick a selection of activities that you’ll make your non-negotiables.
Consider picking activities for different timescales. For example:
• Daily habits: You might switch on happiness with a great book, practicing gratitude, and taking a walk in nature.
• Weekly habits: You might designate Sunday mornings as your lie in time - fuelled by an incredible cup of coffee
• Monthly habits: Treat yourself to a monthly massage or an overnight stay somewhere so you can explore a new place
Use your schedule
What gets scheduled gets done.
If you leave your happiness habits to chance, the likelihood is they won’t happen. Instead, something else will swallow up your time, and you’ll be left feeling frustrated with lower happiness levels than you needed to settle for.
Your Self Journal is the perfect place to ensure you make time for the things that bring you joy.
Schedule your happiness habits with the same rigor and commitment as you would a client presentation, work deadline, or other appointments. Block out time in your day to make space for the things that make you feel good and allow other commitments to fit around your non-negotiables.
Let go of the belief that you don’t have enough time because chances are you will!
After all, how much time do you waste through procrastination when you’re feeling demotivated or bored?
When you infuse more of what you love into your day, don’t be surprised if your creativity and productivity soar. When your cup is full, it’s a lot easier to pack more into your life without depleting your energy.
Drop the guilt
A lot of us were raised on the belief that hard work leads to success. It’s one of the reasons we can feel guilty for taking time out and making space for the things that bring us joy.
Here’s the thing…
If you allow guilt to tinge your happiness habits, they won’t feel as good.
What’s more, if you’re feeling your best, then it’s going to be a lot easier for you to perform at the top of your game. If you have a hard time making time for you, it’s time to change the story.
Make time for happiness, and pretty soon, it could become your secret effectiveness weapon!
Reflect on your success
Reflection is a proven way to learn from your efforts so you can tweak and improve going forward. Your Self Journal has a weekly review page where you can reflect on your week as well as take some decisions about how you’ll make the next week as good - or even better.
Use this space to understand the difference your happiness habits are making to your mental and emotional well-being.
• Do you include the right habits - or do you need to swap in something else?
• Are you making time for the things you love?
• What difference is your happiness time making to you and your life?
When you see a progression, it’s a lot easier to inspire yourself to keep on moving forward.
Keep yourself accountable
Finally, ask yourself how you’re going to make your happiness habits stick.
One way is to use a habit tracker. Simply check off each day to create a winning streak. Before long, your streak will create a chain that will be more painful to break than you get the habit done.
You can discover more accountability suggestions when you listen to how to stay accountable to yourself and your goals.
“Happiness is a direction, not a place.” — Sydney J. Harris
Happiness is something we create - it’s not something that we obtain.
It’s also a feeling that fuels the good life - which is why we all crave it.
So don’t leave your happiness to chance. Instead, make your happiness a habit with the help of this simple five-step plan. I wonder how your life will evolve as a result.