You are the best one to answer the question, “what makes YOU happy?” But in our busy lives, we often don’t take the time to ask ourselves this question or go deep enough. Now is the time!
Happiness List Exercise
Today, we are going to do a fun little exercise to create your own happiness list. (This is adapted from a great book called ‘How We Choose To Be Happy’ by Foster & Hicks.)
You need to have 10 minutes of focused time. If you have that time right now, go ahead and keep on reading. But if you are at work and likely to be interrupted or dinner is about to be put on the table, block 10 minutes this evening or in the next day or two to where you can work uninterrupted. If you work off an electronic calendar, put in the following link: http://thehappinesscoach.biz/?p=511 which will get you back to this post.
Ok, now stop reading until you have your 10 minutes. (Seriously, this will be a much more productive exercise if you don’t read this until you have that uninterrupted time.)
Ready to start?
Get out a blank sheet of paper, a good writing instrument and a timer. Set the timer for 4 minutes.
- Then begin making a list of everything that makes you happy. List anything that comes to mind by speedwriting. This means you write as fast as you can without stopping. Include things both large and small. Don’t judge your answers. Just let things flow in a stream-of-consciousness way. The idea here is to allow internal stuff to surface. (i.e. don’t be distracted by the seeming randomness of some of your ideas. Just write and move on.)
- When the timer goes off, drop your pen and notice how you feel. For many people, just the act of writing the list makes them feel happier. Know you can do this anytime for a quick happiness hit.
- Now look through your list and find one thing that would be easy to do this evening or over the weekend. This is your HOMEWORK (Ok really it’s more of home-play) for this week. Take out your calendar and schedule it. Right now. (Really. I’ll wait…)
- And if you need to coordinate with someone else (for that tennis match, date to make dinner together or go to that museum exhibit) send those emails right now (your 10 minutes isn’t up yet, right?)
Next, email yourself this list, so you’ve always got it. Put something really obvious in the subject line like happiness list, so you can find it when you want it. Feel free to add on to this list as other things come to you.
Keep the list handy as next week we’ll spend some more time with it.
Finally, share with us what you are going to do. Commit to it by making a public declaration in the comments below.
Then enjoy the treat you’ve scheduled for yourself!
Eric Karpinski The Happiness Coach