Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter. Do you ever feel like you would like to unlock more happiness in your life? Though happiness means different things to us all, and maybe you’re not even a fan of the whole “happiness” movement, I want to share with you my ideas and keys to unlocking happiness. See what you think!
A few caveats first. This list is in no particular order so once you start reading, read through to the end. Your key might just be the last one I mention 🙂 Also, remember that real lasting change happens incrementally. Doing something a little more often than you currently do leads to results.
1. Call someone in your immediate family, as often as once a week.
2. Schedule time to hang out with your 5–15 best friends, one evening per week and/or one afternoon per weekend.
3. Say “thank you” every time you feel like you should, as genuinely and graciously as possible. Someone once told me I say “thank you” too often. Can you imagine?
4. Help people achieve their goals, small or large.
5. Every six months or so, identify what you’d like to do in the next six months or so. Some might suggest once a year is enough. I prefer checking in with myself more often.
6. Eat food that you love to eat. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a broccoli fan. But YES, it’s good for me. A few years ago I overheard a conversation in Trader Joe’s. Two women were discussing a food they did not like that was good for them. They made a vow to stop eating it because they didn’t like it. WOW. Right then and there I declared I felt the same way about broccoli and would no longer feel bad about not eating it.
Both life and hunger are finite. Make the most of them by enjoying the foods you eat!
7. That said: Eat more fruits and vegetables. Potentially as much as 80% of your food by volume. Just choose ones you enjoy!
8. Always have a project. It doesn’t matter if it’s creating a garden, doing a puzzle a week for a year, writing poetry for a selection of greeting cards you’re creating, learning to roast your own coffee beans, or pickling your own kimchi. If you do pickle your own kimchi, let me know how to get some samples! Projects bring you satisfaction. Satisfaction brings you confidence. One project or singularity of focus works well.
9. Do things you enjoy doing. Maybe this sounds obvious. This is not to be confused with #8. Daily acts are important. Do something small yet amusing daily. Last night I watched the full moon rise. Can’t do that every day but sure did bring me joy last night.
10. Schedule something to look forward to. Doesn’t have to be something huge like a trip to Portugal for your cousin’s wedding. If anyone you know is getting married in Portugal, do go. It’s a wonderful destination!
Call a friend and ask them if they’d like to go to the park or the botanical garden. How about out for coffee or tea? Do something like this weekly.
11. Drink coffee or tea. There’s a reason caffeine is the world’s most-consumed beverage. Perhaps that’s because it’s delicious, good for you, and works. Do I need to say don’t overindulge?
12. However much sex you’re having, you could probably stand to have more sex. I know. I could have left this one off the list or at least buried it at the end of the list so most readers wouldn’t see it 🙂 However, if you read the reasons for drinking coffee or tea, they sorta apply to having more sex as well. Sex is good for your health on many levels.
13. Exercise. Somewhere between 3–6 hours per week, broken up into 30–60 minute blocks almost daily. Split fairly evenly between strength, sport, and cardio. And it doesn’t have to be in some fancy studio or gym. Did you catch the daily part? And as with #9, choose activities you enjoy!!
14. Do a small favor for someone. Preferably daily. And here’s the tricky part. Don’t tell people about it. This one can be challenging, so maybe start with once a week and up your quota from there.
15. Document your progress in a journal or a spreadsheet or in some way that works for you. Many years ago I learned that nothing can be improved without first being measured. If you understand this concept and accept it as truth, you’ll go a long way in making progress, whatever the task.
16. Worship or meditate or practice Yoga or practice Tai Chi. Or all four. I think you get my point here. These practices touch your life in a deep and meaningful way.
17. Create a “Jar of Awesome” and fill it. Keep a gratitude journal is the simple way of saying it. This practice is probably the number one suggestion from those in the “happiness” movement.
18. Try new things. Do something slightly different every day, or something moderately different on a regular basis. It creates courage and gets you out of your comfort zone. Trying new things really should be higher on this list 🙂
19. Go outside. Daily, if possible. Sunlight, exercise, and a digital detox are all good for you. This simple suggestion covers all three!
20. Go analog. Whenever possible, write in a real journal, read a real book, talk instead of text, and schedule your screen time strategically. I could go off on this for hours but then you wouldn’t get to read the rest of my awesome keys to happiness!
21. Take an annual vacation. Somewhere new, if possible. Somewhere they don’t speak your language, if you can afford it. And use all your vacation days, if you get them.
22. Take a class. Learn a language. Learn to bellydance. Learn Tai Chi. Learn to code. What you learn doesn’t matter as long as you’re learning. If you’re not already a life-long learner, become one. So little time and so many fascinating things to learn.
23. Learn something new every day. It doesn’t much matter what. Let’s link this one to writing in that gratitude journal. Make note of something new you learn each day. Yesterday I learned how much my morning cup of coffee costs (made at home). I had been keeping track of cups and how long it took to go through a pound of coffee. Not life changing information, for sure. But something I’d been curious about for a long time.
24. Be kind to others. Given the opportunity, choose kindness.
25. Forgive people. Given the opportunity.
26. To the extent that you can, make your role models your close friends. You’ll find yourself subconsciously adapting their (desirable) behaviors. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to know that your close community was filled with role models?
27. To the extent that you can, do what you love, and find a way to monetize it. If you don’t love what you do in exchange for money, find something else. Maybe it once was a good match and now it’s more of a partial match or a bad match. Don’t be afraid to change.
28. Celebrate other people’s successes. Never miss a chance to say happy birthday or congratulations.
29. Sleep eight hours. Yes, I know everyone is different so maybe 7-9 hours is more accurate. The point is, get good at sleeping and getting enough rest. You’ll thank me in the morning!!
30. Spend time alone doing something other than watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. These don’t qualify as time alone. If you need some suggestions as to what does qualify as time spent alone, look at #26 and model your role models!
31. Tidy up daily. Clean weekly. Purge monthly. Donate seasonally. Clutter is not good for anyone!
32. Read something interesting regularly. Again, preferably analog. As long as it can hold your attention, it qualifies.
33. Cook your own meals. As often as reasonably possible. This also falls in line with a bunch of other keys to happiness.
So there you have it. 33 keys to happiness. Have some keys you would add to this list? Send them along. No list on keys to happiness could be too long, could it? Don’t agree with some of the keys I’ve listed? Let me know. I’m very big on #23 and would enjoy learning something new from you!
Until next month, use these keys to unlock more happiness and of course, more Joy In Movement!
P.S. I started a Patreon Account. Please feel no obligation at all to donate. However, if you choose to donate to show your appreciation for the work I do, that would be great! I made a somewhat arbitrary cutoff at $10 to create a group of people for whom I’ll do some special stuff, but you can choose any amount.