Want to do more of what makes you happy? Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Here are a few simple tips that will help you find more joy in your everyday life.
I don’t believe that we can be happy all the time. Negative emotions, such as anger or sadness, are an essential part of the human experience.
But it’s all about balance, and I know a lot of people are struggling. Maybe you’re one of them—you want to live life to the fullest and have more of what makes you happy, but right now, these ideas are … well, just ideas.
Nothing more than inspirational quotes that you print on a coffee mug and then gaze at longingly while you deal with the busyness of life.
If you can relate, then I invite you to look beyond the catchphrase. Here are five practical ways to start doing more of what makes you happy instead of just dreaming about it.
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How To Do More Of What Makes You Happy
First and foremost, the most important thing to do if you want more of what makes you happy is to make a list. And yep—I know it’s super simple—but it’s also really important.
Why? Because as I’m sure you know, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by life.
We already have so many things that we need to manage: grocery lists, appointments, and mile long to-do lists. Our mental space is limited, and our brains are overloaded.
This means that when you have a free minute, it’s easier to crash on the sofa and zone out on your phone than it is to figure out what to do with yourself.
So why not make life easier. Writing a list that you can refer to later means there’s one less hurdle to overcome. Plus, it’s an interesting exercise. You say you want to do more of what makes you happy—but do you even know what that is?
If you’re like many of the women that I’ve worked with, you’ve spent years taking care of everyone else. Now, you may have lost sight of what brings you happiness, and you need time to figure it out again. Writing a list is a great way to get started.
Related Post: How to Be Happy With What You Have + Stop Wanting More
5 Ways to Do More of What Makes You Happy
You don’t need to have everything figured out, but once you have some ideas about what makes you happy, the next step is to take action. Here are some ideas that might help.
1. Transform the ordinary
I like walking barefoot in the grass and singing cheesy pop songs at the top of my lungs. I don’t like washing dishes or entertaining cranky toddlers.
But do you know what? When I mix what makes me happy with what I have to do, I can transform the ordinary into something special.
My kids get tired in the late afternoon, which means they fuss and fight with each other. But if I take them outside, I can kick off my shoes and feel the earth under my toes. There are still tantrums and tears, but it feels different. I’m more energised, and the afternoon sun on my face always makes me feel more alive.
The same goes for washing dishes or any housework. I won’t pretend I love it all the time, but I can say that when I turn up the stereo and sing at the top of my lungs, it’s a bit better.
Sometimes doing more of what makes you happy means choosing to find happiness in everyday moments, even the mundane ones.
Stack a habit
James Clear introduced me to the idea of habit stacking in his book Atomic Habits (affiliate link). If you’re not familiar with it, the concept is simple: choose a habit that you already do regularly (like brushing your teeth or driving the kids to school) and then “stack” a new habit onto your existing routine.
You can use this technique to do more of what makes you happy. Look over your list (you wrote one, right?) and look for anything that you can add to your existing daily routine.
For example, if you leave 10 minutes earlier for work, can you spend 10 minutes in the parking lot reading a novel before heading into the office? What else?
- Can you call a friend on your lunch break?
- Can you visit your favourite coffee shop before buying groceries?
- Can you write in your journal while the coffee is brewing?
It might not seem like much, but these simple shifts can make your life better.
Set strong personal boundaries
So far, I’ve shared ways to find pockets of joy in our everyday lives. And they’re important; I wholeheartedly believe that little things matter. In the words of Annie Dillard, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
Realistically, we spend our lives doing lots of little jobs, so why not make them fun!
BUT let’s not forget about big, bold, beautiful joy. Your happiness deserves to be front and centre sometimes and not always squeezed in the margins—which means creating space.
Declutter your home + simplify your life
Right now, I can almost guarantee that you spend a lot of time, money, and energy on things that don’t truly matter. And I say that with compassion because I’ve been there.
For years, I was a shopaholic and a workaholic (two addictions that had a way of feeding each other!). I wanted more of what made me happy, but there was never any time. There was always something to clean, something to do, or something to buy.
Life was a never-ending cycle, and I assumed that I would work hard now and play hard later.
But you know what? My little brother taught me that sometimes “later” never comes.
The future is never guaranteed, so don’t waste your life trying to keep up with the Jones. Let go of the excess in your life—everything from old sweaters to old beliefs. Declutter your home, simplify your life and see what happens with the space you create.
Related Post: 17 Heart-Centred Ways to Simplify Your Life
Pay yourself first
In the world of personal finance, there’s a popular strategy called “paying yourself first”. The basic concept is that you put money into savings before you pay anything else, and then you learn to live off of whatever is leftover.
It’s powerful because it forces you to put first things first. You save quickly (or pay down debt) because you make it a priority.
Of course, it’s not always easy—sometimes you have to juggle your bills or make uncomfortable sacrifices. But at the end of the day, what matters most gets accomplished.
We can apply the same principles to our own happiness. YOU are important, your well-being matters, and sometimes it’s worth making sacrifices for your self-care.
So when you’re looking at your calendar, pay yourself first by scheduling more of what makes you happy, even if it feels uncomfortable. Your brain will shout, “What about _____?” and you will tell yourself that you don’t have time. Trust me; I know the feeling.
But you know you can’t pour from an empty cup, right? Do more of what makes you happy by scheduling more of what makes you happy, even when you think it’s impossible.
I promise that you’ll figure it out because I know you’ve done it before. There have been unexpected appointments, traffic, or sick kids that have thrown you off your schedule, and you just get on with things because there’s no other option.
“But if I take time for myself when I know I should be doing other things, I won’t enjoy it. I’ll be thinking about everything that needs to be done.” Yep, it will almost always be uncomfortable at first. But you know what? The only way to move past the discomfort is to practice. Trust me—if you put off happiness until everything on your to-do list is finally done, you’ll be waiting a very long time.
It’s Important To Do More of What Makes You Happy
Ten years ago, I would have read this blog post and rolled my eyes. Sure—everyone wants to have more fun—but I thought this type of advice just wasn’t realistic for most people.
But since then, I’ve learned a few things.
First, and most importantly, I now know that doing more of what makes me happy isn’t a luxury. Instead, it’s absolutely essential.
When I’m happier, I’m more energised, I think clearly, and I’m even more productive. The short-term investment in myself pays dividends in the long run.
I’ve also learned that life is not all or nothing. Sure, there are chapters when making time for myself is hard. (Between my two kids, I didn’t sleep more than two hours straight for two years.) There was NOT much time for fun … but there was some time.
Which means I had a choice. I could dwell in my unhappiness or find a few minutes for simple pleasures like a lukewarm cup of coffee and a bit of sunshine.
All this to say that life isn’t perfect—but if you look for ways to do more of what makes you happy, you’re more likely to find them.
One big disclaimer: if you’re struggling with your mental health, it can be hard to find what makes you happy. Don’t hesitate to seek out professional help if you need it.
How will you do more of what makes you happy today? Let us know in the comments!