I’ve spent the last few days putting together a step by step guide for finding happiness, and I think I’ve come up with something good. Below is a list of 30 little things and action steps that you can do for finding happiness. Each of them wont take much time to complete but all of them combined together can be very powerful.
The following list is intended to be read and applied one entry a day for thirty days. I recommend you to bookmark this page if you decide to join the challenge. Also feel free to share it with your friends if you find it valuable.
30 days to happiness – the challenge
Read and apply one element from this list every day for thirty days.
- Start a journal. In order to make our journey memorable, we need a way to keep track of it. Today you assignment is to start a journal’ to keep track of the next 30 days. You can use whatever you want from a spiral notebook to text files on your computer. You should write down on it your impressions after completing each assignment or wherever you experience something special that you can relate with this challenge. Writing a journal is a good way to express and liberate your emotions, and you can extend its usage to other areas of your life as well.
- Make a donation. Making a donation is a great way to build happiness, both for you and for those receiving the gift. You don’t have to necessarily spend any money to make a donation, indeed you could deliberately decide to give away something that you own and you don’t use to someone who really needs it. Today your assignment is to donate something. You can either publish an ad on craiglist or you can make an anonymous donation to some association if you have the opportunity.
- Take a bicycle trip with your family or friends, or alone. Perhaps it’s been a while since the last time you joined your family or friends for a bicycle trip, but doing that would be really a nice alternative to the usual stuff that you do everyday, so today you’re going to invite someone to join you for a bicycle trip, or you can do it alone if no-one can join you. If the weather isn’t nice you can always organize something different at home, just be creative.
- Call someone that you haven’t called in a while. I’m sure that you would be happy if an old friend or relative would call you to hear how you’re doing. The truth is that most of us will wait as long as possible to call old friends, perhaps because we feel like we would disturb them if we’d call. Not today. Today your task is to call someone that you haven’t talked with in a while. It can be a friend or a family member. I’m sure that both of you will be happy to hear each other.
- Change the way you greet your day. Waking up in the morning is always hard. Somehow we always want to stay in bed more time when the alarm clock rings, but that’s not always possible. Here’s something different that you can try tomorrow morning. As soon as your alarm clock rings, jump out of your bed, open the window and take a big breath of fresh air. As an alternative you can go outside for a 3 minutes walk as soon as you get out of bed. This is a great way to kickstart you day!
- Fix your room. This is something that you can do in 15 minutes or less. Today your assignment is to order in your living room, or the room where you usually work. The simple act of ordering your desk will clear your ideas and you’ll feel better after it. If you have a lot of disorder in your room you can repeat this assignment in the following days until you feel satisfied.
- Make a list of ten dreams you’d like to come true in your life. If you had no limits or infinite resources, what would you do? Today your assignment is to make a list of ten things that you’d love to do if you’d have the opportunity. For example you might want to visit a foreign country or try a new experience. For some people it may be hard to write down ten dreams that they have, while others may want to write more. If you’re in the latter category, feel free to write as many dreams as you like, but write at least ten of them.
- Go shopping. Some people (especially girls), love to do shopping. Here’s a secret: you can go shopping without having to buy stuff. Visiting shops and trying clothes can be done for free. And if you feel that you would spend all your money, leave your credit card at home, that way it’ll be impossible to spend all your hard earned money, but you can still shop around, try new clothes, or check out the latest high tech gadgets.
- Organize a lunch together with your family. Eating together with your family or your friends is a good way to build happiness, especially if you do something a bit out of the box. A good idea might be to organize a picnic with your family or friends if the weather is nice, or perhaps a lunch at home could also work. The important thing is to get together with the people you love and share some happy moments.
- Give a rose to someone you care. Donating a rose (or another genuine present) is a good way to make another person’s day, especially if it’s an unexpected gift. Your assignment for today is to buy a rose or an equivalent gift and to donate it to someone you care. You can also give it to a random person in the street if you feel adventurous.
- Make a list of five things that you appreciate in your current life. A few days ago I told you to make a list of ten dreams you’s like to come true. Today you’re going to do something a bit different. Make a list of five things that you already have and that you are grateful for. It could be your kids, your home or something you bought that you really wanted. Sometimes it’s useful to remember about what you really have instead of wishing for something that you don’t have.
- Smile to three random persons in the street. This might sound a bit strange for some people, but let’s try something more challenging today. Today your assignment is to go for a walk and smile to three random persons and see their reactions. If for some reason someone will ask you why you were smiling, just told them that you felt particularly happy.
- Do something that you don’t usually do, like a new activity. Doing something that you don’t usually do (aka exiting your comfort zone) is a great way to grow, as long as it’s something exciting. Today your assignment is to go out and do something that you never did before. It can be anything, as long as it’s at least a bit challenging.
- Read a good book. Reading can be a very pleasant activity. Most people think that they don’t have enough time for reading, but today you’re going to prove the opposite. Even if you only have five minutes, read a few pages of a book that you like. If you do this every day you can easily finish a book in just a few weeks, and if the books are good, even five minutes of reading every day will make you feel better.
- Kiss someone. When you kiss someone in the mouth your body releases a substance that makes you feel happy. I know it might be hard to complete this assignment without a willing partner, but if you can, make some love today.
- Imagine how your ideal life would look like, and write it down. What would you do if you would have no problem of money or location, and you could do whatever you want every day? Today your assignment is to try to answer that question. This assignment is different from the one you did for your dreams list as this time you should concentrate on what you would do on an average day if you wouldn’t have to worry about anything. Perhaps you’d like to travel or relax under a palm in some exotic country. Only you know the answer to that question. Write it down.
- Listen to some nice music. Music can make or break your happiness. I don’t know why, but some people like to listen to music that makes them sad, perhaps you did that too once or twice too. Not today. Today your assignment is to find some music that energizes you and makes you feel better. Listen, sing, dance, enjoy some good music!
- Do some exercise. Physical exercise is an essential activity for your body and for your brain. Contrary to what some people might think, you can increase your intelligence and happiness by exercising, because exercise helps your brain to function more properly. Today your assignment is to find some physical activity that you can do. It could be dancing or 10 minutes of jogging, you decide. By the way, you should really repeat this assignment every day, it will be very worth the time.
- Surprise yourself and the people around you. I’m sure that you have some habits that you know are bad but that you think are impossible to break. Your assignment for today is to pick one of them and do the opposite. For example if you are a smoker, avoid smoking for today. Or if you usually sleep till late, wake up early instead. Surprise yourself and the people around you.
- Analyze your words and how you interact with others. The words that you use every day have a strong power on your emotions and on the emotions of the people around you. For example if you use words that invoke fear, doubt, pain, you may end up experiencing those sensations. Your task for today is to analyze the words that you normally use and eventually to try to use more empowering words instead. You’ll be amazed at how powerful the words that you use every day can be.
- It’s your choice how you react to external events. When something happens, it’s your choice to decide how to react. Today you’re going to choose to be happy, regardless of what will happen. It’s as simple as that.
- Focus in the now. We spend far too much time thinking about the future or about past moments of our life. Here’s the thing: past and future are only an illusion, what really matters can only happen in the now. Every planning as well as the actions you may take to achieve your plans can only happen in the now. Stop worrying about what will happen in the next hour or tomorrow, focus in the now, it’s there for you to enjoy. Here, right now. You know what to do.
- See the half-filled glass. Every event that we experience in our life is presented as an opportunity, but it’s up to us to decide which kind of opportunity we want (positive or negative). Your task for today is to think about some recent events that happened in your life and to try to figure out the good part of them. Perhaps you learned an important lesson or you were able to make a change that you wanted from a long time. Make the habit to see the positive side in all situations, despite of how circumstances present themselves at first.
- Start a saving account. Today you’re going to do something for your future self (but you’ll still feel a sense of gratitude immediately). Your assignment is to open a saving account (possibly a free one) and to regularly put some money on it. You can start with just 50 dollars per month which would be enough at the end of the year for a small vacation, or you can save them for tough times.
- Watch a good funny movie. I don’t usually watch tv but I occasionally watch some movies. I don’t know why but for me movies can be very powerful, and I especially like the ones that make me happy (or where I can laugh a lot). Today your assignment is to find a good funny movie and to watch it. Do this on the next weekend if you don’t have enough time, but don’t forget it.
- Spend some time with your kids, or with your pets if you don’t have kids. Today your assignment is very simple, but I guess simplicity is part of happiness after all, so I’m perfectly fine with it. If you have kids, today you should spend more time with them than usual. If you don’t have kids, perhaps you may have some pets. If you don’t have neither kids nor pets, spend some quality time with your partner.
- Laugh. Laughing is at the core of happiness. It’s very difficult to be sad and laugh at the same time. It’s also very easy to kill a sad moment with a good laugh, and that’s what you’re going to do today. Today your assignment is to laugh as much as you can (but without being ridiculous). Perhaps you could start by saying something funny or by watching some pranks on youtube.
- Say yes. If you’ve watch the “Yes Man” movie, then you already know what you’re assignment for today is, otherwise, keep reading. Today your assignment is to say yes, to everything. Well, not really to everything, but to all those things that wouldn’t harm you, but somehow you always say no. You never know what kind of opportunities you’re missing until you say yes to them.
- Do one step that will move you closer to one of your dreams. Today you’re going to take the list of dreams that you wrote a few weeks ago and start working on it. Take one dream and define an action that you can do right now that would move you closer to your dream. Perhaps it’s searching for some information online or making a call. Do it, do it now, those are your dreams and you should follow them.
- Just be happy. Today is the last day and there’s no real assignment to complete. You’ve done a lot of things in these past thirty days and I hope you’ve had a good time. From now on I’d like you to always keep in mind that happiness is just a state of mind that you can enter whenever you want, and hopefully you’ve learnt that by taking this challenge. Congratulations!
I hope you enjoyed this list, now make sure to bookmark this page and to complete one action per day for the next thirty days.