To Do List For a Happier Life

I live by the motto “Today I Choose Joy!” No matter what happens the day before I start each day as a new day to start over. Here’s the thing you cannot wish yourself to a happier life. Happiness is a choice.  You have to work for it.  Yeah, things in life make it difficult but at the end of the day, you are the only one in control of your happiness.

Unless you do things to raise your levels of happiness, energy and overall positivity, you will continually drain yourself. You have to take ownership in making yourself happy! That is why I say “Life’s Hard,  Choose Joy Anyways” because you have to choose happiness.  Tell yourself “You know what? I am going to be happy today. No matter what happens. I am going to smile and I am going to do things that make me happy. I am going to choose not to let outside influences affect my mood.” So, to help make it easier to get started I made a list of things to do for a happier life.

To Do List For a Happier Life

Embrace a “Bedtime”

Happier Life

Trust me, I get the whole “I am an adult and I no longer need a bedtime.” But let me tell you a story. In college and for a time after I had this theory that it was ok to go to bed whenever I felt tired. I have an adventurous heart and acted like a toddler who distracts themselves from how tired they actually are. It was a horrible life decision. I would be a tired grump who just went through the motions instead of living life to its fully awake potential.

So, how did I change? I took control of my own schedule. I trained my body to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. It is pretty rare that I have to set an alarm since my body has a natural 5:30 AM get your bottom out of bed and start this awesome day alarm.

The amount of energy I have now than I did before is outstanding. Getting the right amount of sleep is a great start to an amazing day.

Practice the”F” Word

Happier Life

No, not that “F” word (Even though I do occasionally uses that F word too. Accidents happen.) …FORGIVENESS is the word we all should practice.

Why would you choose to hold on to pain, bitterness, and resentment?  Forgiveness is a gift to yourself, not others. When you forgive someone or yourself you find peace and closure to the situation.  Trust me, you are not letting someone off of the hook when you forgive them.

Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, to be at peace, to be happy and to be able to sleep at night. You’re not doing this for them, you’re doing it for yourself, to set yourself free from the feelings of hurt, anger, and helplessness that kept you attached for so long, and to be at peace.

Turn Up The Tunes

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Turn off the TV and turn on your favorite music. Listening to music while cleaning, working or just relaxing can instantly uplift your mood.  I am an avid music listener. If you ever walk into my house there is a good chance that I will have music blaring and I am probably singing off key. (Embarrassing but honest!)

And if you need even more inspiration and motivation, listen to podcasts or Ted Talks. I have written about them before and on days I need a bit more of a pick me up I list to one of them. They give me the inspiration for living a happy healthy life!


Happier Life

Relax? Well Jenn, how do I do that? To be honest, that is a whole ‘nother blog post in itself but I can tell you some things that I do to relax.

My favorite way to get out of my own head and block out all outside stresses is yoga. I used to think yoga was for middle aged health gurus…Don’t judge me. But if I would have known how amazing yoga can be for the body but also for the mind I would have started a long time ago!

According to, yoga helps make you happier, improve your posture, and helps you focus and reduce stress. While breathing is an important part of yoga, it helps those who get anxiety or other conditions that raise blood pressure.

I have gotten over my misguided yoga assumptions and have become a yoga enthusiast. It is a workout that relaxes the mind and body but also reminds you of the muscles you forgot you had.

So next time you are stressed try yoga. Or if you see that yoga class at your gym,  go ahead and give it a try.

Sweat It Out

Sure, we all know that exercise is good for you. It helps maintain a healthy weight and strengthens muscles. But did you know that exercise can also make you a happier person? Yep, It’s true.

Physical activity helps our bodies produce disease-fighting proteins—called antibodies—and our brains release endorphins. While antibodies boost happiness by keeping illness at bay, endorphins are feel-good chemicals that improve your mood while promoting feelings of euphoria. To top it all off, research suggests that regular activity may lead to lasting happiness.

The next time you’re feeling down, stressed or anxious, get off the couch and get some exercise instead. Because you’ll not only feel more confident, energized, and calm.  You’ll be a healthier and happier person for life.

Feed Your Body

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Do you ever sit down and eat too much pizza and then feel like crap an hour later? No, just me. Here’s the thing I love pizza and donuts but I hardly ever feel amazing after eating them. Now if I chow down on some healthy foods I always feel slim and awesome afterward.

I am not saying that you cannot treat yourself to the foods you love. All I ask is that you do so in moderation. Try to remember that food is fuel for our body and mind. If you remember that I believe you will have an easier time eating healthy!

Develop Positive Relationships

Happier Life

How can you be healthier, happier, more successful, and live longer? The answer is positive relationships. Positive relationships form a foundation for happiness and success. We all have relationships we have chosen like our friends, relationships we have inherited from our family, and relationships that are a result of our circumstances like work and classmates.

For a friendship or marriage to allow both people to flourish, each person is an active participant in helping create the other one’s positive future. Whether we are a friend, lover, daughter, or grandparent, each relationship gives us a chance to invest our energy in making another person’s reality better. Each of us needs to fully show up, be present, listen, express ourselves, and care for the other, and that requires time and attention.  When it all works out well, and we can see the happiness on the other’s face, that creates, at least for me, the best feeling of satisfaction in the world.

Why You Deserve To Be Happy

Alright, I told you ways to become happier but I haven’t told you why. Why should you be happy? Well because you deserve it!

You deserve to be happy because you are not your past. You are not the choices you made or the chances you took when you didn’t know better than to take them.

You deserve to be happy because the past cannot be altered but the future’s still wide open.

You deserve to be happy because there is no sense in not being yourself.

You deserve to be happy because the voice in your head telling you otherwise is fear.

You deserve to be happy because happy people make their lives matter

We all deserve our own version of happiness. So go after your happiness and never look back!

What makes you happy?

happier life

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  1. I love this so much! Every single word of this post I could relate to. Self care is so important and I am happier when I take the time to listen to music, relax, or spend time with my friends for a good moms night out. I love my family, but taking care of everyone all the time and forgetting about me is not healthy.

  2. What a great list, and bedtimes are for sure my happiness now that I have a little. Mine and his are pretty much the highlight of my day.

  3. Great ideas. It’s great that people are becoming more aware about the impact of what we do to and put into our bodies. I’ve been focusing on better food choices this year and when I don’t, I realise what an impact sugar especially has on my mood.

  4. I love this! I’m doing a 30-Day Detox on my blog, and this goes hand in hand with my daily challenges. Great list and great advice. <3 <3

  5. A great piece and right where I’m at now in terms of self-care. I’ve just taken up running, I love music for all kinds of moods, and I’m working on going to be earlier. Now just a few more to work on!

  6. That’s not the F word I was thinking about! But you are right, you cannot truly be happy if you are not forgiving. I find the other F word also helps once in a while 😉 Great list, and as another Iowa-raised girl I’m loving the outdoor pictures you have taken.

  7. “Happiness is a choice. You have to work for it.” So true, and WORTH IT! Loved everything about this post, you are spot on. I already try to do some of these things but need to improve on others.

  8. I really struggle on giving myself the power to use the F word (forgiving myself specifically). thanks for the reminder <3

  9. This is a great list. I really need to embrace like all of these. Especially having positive relationships and embracing a bed time.

  10. Great list! I definitely agree that a bedtime is so important! I feel ten times better and have such a more positive and motivating day when I’ve had good rest! Exercise makes a world of difference too!

  11. This is an excellent list. I always try to have a bedtime (even as an almost 30 year old mom), and music truly gets me through almost anything. There are a few things on this list that I need to better embrace. Thought provoking post– thank you!

  12. What a beautiful and useful post! I think forgiveness is incredibly important, and if you’re not in a place to forgive, then you need to move on and not dwell. I love your notion of making a bedtime schedule as an adult – so important.

  13. Beautiful post and some seriously great reminders!! I really need to work more on going to bed at a better time, and trying yoga!

  14. I definitely need to embrace a bedtime. I am such a night owl and it is so hard for me to get up in the morning! This is a great list and I definitely agree that you are the only one who can make yourself happy. There are times it is just so hard to not let outside forces control your mood. I’m really trying to work on that. Pinning this to come back to!

  15. Mothering IS hard! Each of the practices you mentioned are spot on–they have been very helpful for me. Being intentional about my spiritual health is WOW. Makes such a difference. At the very core, I find that my joy is deep and lasting (regardless of the circumstances) when I think about my God and Savior throughout the day, keeping the bigger picture in mind!

  16. I agree with this list 100 percent. I had an incident recently where someone was clearly trying to steal my joy. I got angry. Then I realized that I was giving that person control over my happiness. I had to shake it off and keep moving. We have to choose happiness every day sometimes, every moment.

  17. These are such great ideas. I’ve been on a journey of choosing joy myself. It’s tough to do with trials that are thrown our way, but it is possible!

  18. Having a bedtime is my favorite suggestion on this list. I am such a happier and better person when I’ve had a good night’s sleep. It’s one of the things I’ve decided I can’t cut corners on. I love your motto of choosing joy every day no matter happened the day before. I may just have to post those two sayings somewhere on my desk.

  19. Jenn, I adore this post. Your first tip about a bedtime hit me square between the eyes. I HATE going to sleep–I am a night owl and I despise the dark. I need to come up with some sort of joyful routine before bed.

  20. This is a truly solid list! These are all things that I’ve learned as I’ve grown up, too. It’s funny how intuitive they all seem in theory, but they’re so difficult to make a priority in your life so you can actually implement them. I’ve trained myself to go to sleep at 9:30 every weekday, but now it’s time to start training myself to stick to that schedule on the weekends, too!

  21. Dani

    Yes, yes, yes and yes! These are all great tips. I see myself participating in a few already. But I’m glad you mentioned TED TALK – I need to add this to my life! Thank you. I would love to share this piece!

  22. Girl, you’re right on! With school over I find it more difficult to keep a bedtime schedule. Like you, I enjoy listening to music especially in the morning and while driving. It puts me in a good mood 🙂

  23. These are awesome tips! I am pretty good about all of them, except the forgiveness thing. I always struggle iwth that! Listening to the ted talks you mentioned later today! thanks!

  24. I love this! I’m always up for tips on living a happier life. I get too caught up in life and I forget to relax and do things that make me happy.

  25. Yes to all of this!!! I agree that life may get hard at times but you are in charge of your happiness. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and really but things into perspective.

  26. Hydration, healthy eating and regularly practicing hobbies that I love. I so agree, these things improve my mood and are so simple.

  27. This is a great list!! I’m actively working on going back to my bedtime. I used to be so good at this, especially when using the bedtime feature on my iPhone, as I didn’t want the bars to vary too much. Now I’m back at it. I’m also focusing on eating better, and trying to actually forgive people. It’s easy to say you’ve forgiven someone, but still hold onto that pain and anger. So I’m working on letting that go, because I want to choose happiness!

  28. I love this post. You have identified lots of great take away points and an action plan forward. a Beautiful plan and blog. Thanks for sharing the love!

  29. Love this! I do try to make myself happier by doing certain things. But sometimes I forget what I need and what’s good for me. You’re so right about eating unhealthy, it seems like fun at first but after a while you don’t feel so well… Exercising is still not my thing. I can imagine that it makes a lot of people happier, but so far I didn’t find my sport I think.

  30. Oh I absolutely loved this and am so glad to have stumbled upon your blog! This is such a wonderful reminder. Only we can choose to remain positive. Just last night I went to dinner with an old friend and thought to myself, “wow, this friendship is so easy. It is one I need to invest more time in because both have fun when we are together!”

  31. This is so beautiful! Thank you so much! I agree with everything you say and I’ll definitely have to check out the TED talks and podcasts too – such as great idea. It’s so easy to spiral into negativity and negative behaviours. This post is exactly the kind of reminder I needed – I also pinned this!

  32. Great tips! I especially like the point about positive relationships. Hanging out with people who are positive and supportive is an instant mood booster for me!
    Elizabeth |

  33. Forgiveness is such a big part of being happy, but it’s so easy to forget. It’s so much easier to just hold onto anger or hurt and then when you carry that around with you, you’re not letting yourself be happy!
    Positive relationships are also a must have for sure!

  34. adriana

    I LOVE this so much!!! I agree with everything you said – especially practicing forgiveness, SO important!

  35. Alissa

    These are some seriously amazing tips and I really need to embrace a consistent bedtime routine as I’m all over the place and a sucker for staying up late and watching reality tv!

  36. If there’s one area on this list where I could improve, it’s with having a regular bedtime.I may focus on that this month and see how much it helps me.

  37. I love your passion and joy for life Jenn! I think we are quite like minded! If you desire, check out my podcast The Practice of Living as we Intend. Perhaps it will resonate with your intentional lifestyle! xoxo

  38. Trish

    This is a great list! I can attest to listening to music. I work at home and listen to music (sometimes singing along!) all day. It really makes me happy.

  39. This is a wonderful list. Personally, I struggle with the forgiveness aspect. I feel it’s the most difficult of them all to conquer.

  40. This is a great post and an excellent reminder of things that seem to fall by the wayside when life gets busy. For me, I can’t go a day without yoga, it lowers my stress level and increases my overall happiness!

  41. Such a wonderful post. I love the fact you mentioned eating healthily too – so true!

    I think it’s fate that you mentioned yoga. I have been meaning to try and start for soooo long (invited by my frends etc.) and yet I still haven’t managed it, but something is definitely pushing me in that direction!! Thank you ?

  42. #1 That scallop salad looks AMAZING! Yum!
    #2 I love this post! You’ve given a lot of great tips.
    #3 My favorite tip is relaxing. However you get your relaxing done, it’s important to recharge and get your mind together for the next goal you want to accompish.

  43. I LOVED this post! What a fun take on things we should be doing anyway. I know that when I’m really dedicated about going to bed on time and feeding my body properly, I feel a lot happier!

  44. I think forgiveness is so important. Easier said than done though!! I think relaxation and having positive relationships are my favorites to being happier!

  45. Kim

    Such a wonderful list that I couldn’t agree more with! Listening to music, eating and exercising always does the trick for boosting my mood 🙂 haha

  46. Joy

    You had me at Forgiveness! Especially in marriage. When two sinners are spending every day of their lives together, it’s such an essential thing to have a strong grasp on. When you have to eventually forgive something particularly tough, and you get through it, you really realize the incredibly freeing nature and GIFT that forgiveness offers. It’s SO incredible what forgiveness does.

  47. Alexandra

    Like you, I hardly ever feel amazing after eating pizza and donuts (you forgot pasta!). ? Problem is, I feel amazing when they’re in my mouth. ? Broccoli never makes me feel that way. If they can put a man on the moon, someone ought to figure out how to make broccoli taste like a Ding Dong, right?!

  48. I love that you wrote about forgiveness. I think this concept is one of the hardest truths to live by. I have forgiven so many people and honestly, it’s the most freeing, most self-soothing thing you can ever do for yourself.

  49. I love this post! It’s so true! I already have an established bedtime (most nights), do yoga, and pump the music loud! I’d love to start incorporating more of these tasks in my life! Thanks for the podcast recommendations!

  50. I love these positive suggestions! Three that are really important to me are bedtime, podcasts, and especially music. More music makes any day happier for me!

  51. I needed to read this! Relaxing and a bedtime routine are two things I need in my life more. I sleep horribly anymore, and relaxing seems to not be in my vocabulary, yet I need it back in my life!

  52. Dawn

    This is such a great list. I especially love the “F” word. It’s such an important part of being happy. Happiness is something you create.

  53. What a phenomenal post! I absolutely love it. My favorite tip is “Embracing the F Word.” That is so TRUE! Forgiveness is so important and holding a grudge can really drag you down.

  54. this whole list is great but I really need to embrace the very first one! A bedtime would change everything! Thank you for the inspiration!

  55. Love this! I definitely feel crankier when I’m not exercising or eating right. Sleep is so important too!

    Kayla |

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