LIFE | How to Write Your Own Happiness List

January 21, 2016

How to Write Your Own Happiness List | via The Feisty House

I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be a BIG year for a lot of us. Don’t you? I mean, it’s still January…at the end of the day, even if you haven’t done anything but sit around and contemplate your next move (pretty much my entire 2016 to be honest), you still have almost an ENTIRE YEAR to get things going and execute something really special.

But as we strive to build our brands and businesses this year, as we push to make this year our BEST YEAR EVER, we have to make sure we don’t lose sight of those things that make us feel fulfilled and happy, and sometimes those things have absolutely nothing to do with our blogs or our businesses.

And that’s OK.

Now I will be the first person to say that you should build a brand that aligns with your interests, passion and purpose. I believe your business, blog or whatever big project you’re tackling this year should give you joy (because we all know that building something new isn’t always easy). But that doesn’t have to be all that you’re about. As creative women, we’re also pretty complex, and many of us gain inspiration from several different outlets and activities. So maybe your business is creating beautiful handmade soap: that doesn’t mean that all your happiness and joy has to come from finding fragrances and researching how to package your next batch. Take me for instance: I love blogging (I may be obsessed), but blogging isn’t the only thing that makes me happy. And it took a run-in with depression to show me that first-hand.

I found myself so sad one afternoon that I broke down and cried for almost an hour for no reason at all. So I grabbed a sheet of paper and started writing all of the things that bring me complete and utter joy. I wrote whatever came to mind for a few minutes and then I looked at my “happiness list” and realized that I wasn’t making time to do most of the things that were on that list.

We’re dreamers. We’re overachievers. All year we’ve been pushing ourselves to become the best versions of “us.” Like me, some of you are looking to launch your own businesses. But personal and professional development may not be all we need in order to feel like we’re living a full life.

Above is an excerpt from my post, “What it Means to Live Your Best Life in 2016.” The last six or so weeks have been really difficult for me. I’m only now getting out of a rut that made it impossible for me to blog for over a month. It’s been really difficult for me to cope with feeling stuck. I realized that I had made blogging my only creative outlet and totally forgotten about all of the other things that make me feel happy. My mind and body were trying to tell me that I needed a break from blogging, but I didn’t know how to be happy away from it. So I wrote up a “happiness list” of all the things I remember brought me joy before blogging was the only thing I did. It was a great exercise, and I think it’s something you might enjoy doing too!

How to Write Your Own Happiness List

Writing the happiness list is pretty straightforward. You just need time and space to be alone (without distractions). Say a prayer before you start: you’ll be amazed at the results of asking God to be a part of this process. And be careful not to edit yourself as you write; whatever comes to mind, jot it down.

  1. Write your list in an empty notebook. Don’t use the computer to do this; you want to see this list in your own handwriting.
  2. Pray; tell God why you’re writing this list, and ask for guidance as you put the list together.
  3. Visualize yourself in your happiest moments; think about what you’re doing, who you’re with, and where you are. Jot down words and phrases that come to mind as you remember these happy times.
  4. Give yourself a time limit of 15 minutes. Take a walk (or do whatever helps you clear your mind), and then come back to reflect on the list. Take note of what you’ve put on your list that you aren’t doing on a regular basis. Is there anything on the list that surprises you? What have you learned about yourself?
  5. Make time for happiness! Set aside some time on a regular basis (every day, every week or every month) to do one thing on your happiness list.

This is a simple exercise that made a HUGE impact in how I looked at my own happiness and how I was spending my time. It reminded me that I love playing music, yet I haven’t picked up an instrument in at least four years! It reminded me how much I love to take long walks and spend time outdoors. It reminded me of my love for animals. I was surprised that I’d forgotten or given up on so many of the things that made me truly happy. Now I’m in the process of setting aside time to get back to doing those things.


Sure, it’s important that we reach our goals and do our very best. It’s great that we want to change the world this year. But let’s be sure not to lose ourselves in the process! There will be times when we feel stuck or overwhelmed, and it’s so important that we have a “happy place” to go when we need a break from saving the world…

I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from writing a happiness list!

Share in the comments below! xo

Photo Source: Oroma Elawa for Fossil Fall/Winter 2015

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  • I love this idea! I’m going to definitely make a Happiness List!!

  • thebayarean

    I’m definitely going to make a list. I am determined to make 2016 even better than 2015 and this is a great place to start.

  • brea ellis

    So going to try to start this over the snowy weekend. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  • Loooooooove. This.

  • Thanks for being so candid and honest with us! There like this plethora of information online about how to reach our goals– especially if it involves blogging success but there’s not much talk about the other parts of us we might be neglecting to achieve this success. I had never thought about putting together a happiness list but I’m really interested to now and to see if what I enjoy and what I make time for are aligned. I feel content but this exercise might enable me to take it up a notch. I look forward to it. Thanks, Krystal!

    Melody //

  • Bree

    Krystal i’m sorry to hear that you were in a not so happy place, I’ve been praying for you and your family. I totally understand how you feel, just last weekend I had to have a conversation with God. I do believe 2016 holds greatness, but last year i found myself waiting for something to happen and i fell into a weird cycle. This year i’ve been praying and asking God to help my live and not just exist. I’m looking forward to what 2016 has in store for all of us. Be blessed!!

  • Breanna Danielle

    This post really spoke to me – I’m currently in a ‘not so happy place’, but I’m constantly reminding myself that happiness is a journey and not a destination. 2016 started off rough, but I think trying this exercise will set a positive tone for the month of February. Thanks for sharing!


  • Hey Krystal!

    I came to find some inspiration to jump start my creative juices as I’m preparing for a new venture(not even quite sure what it is yet, but I’m preparing!) and this was one of the first places I thought to come by and peruse. The reason I’ve even wanted to do this is because I am not doing ANY of the things I’m good at or things that bring me joy in my current space. There were reasons that I came to the place I did vocationally that are no longer reasons for me to stay. I realize that I am NOT the person who can just do any ol’ kind of work from 9-5 just to get a paycheck – my heart has to be in it(and a paycheck with non-crazy hours along with it would be great!). So with that realization and with the refusal to be among the plethora of folks who hate what they do, I’m being reflective and asking questions of those that know me best, praying, and writing a lot of things down to help get pointed in the right direction! Thanks so much for all you share! You never know when someone will need to read your words!

    • I’m so glad to hear this! I think you’re going to learn a lot about yourself from this time of introspection, soul-searching and talking with God. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you. Thank you for sharing this with me. All the best!

  • attendluv

    My happy place…..Yes, it’s time to get back to it. Thanks for the nudge.

  • Cindy Hope

    I have read in Consumer Health Digest that happiness is just a state of mind. Your idea of listing all the good things in life will remind me that there are also good that comes out of my life, Thank you for this, I think i will live a happier life from this point on 🙂