The What-makes-me-happy-list

written by Paula Hartmann


My first blog post five years ago was about a list I had made that changed my life: The What-makes-me-happy-list. 


I started this list in 2009 and it has become so important to me and my well-being that I want to share this tool with you again today.


First I started writing down things and activities (and non-activities) in my journal that gave me a sense of awe or that felt good to me.


At the beginning I had about 20 things on my list. Over the years this list has become very long. I transferred the list into a word-document and later wrote it out on a big piece of cardboard which I put on my dresser and where I could see it every day. 


The power of this list shocks me. Just from writing down the things that make me happy, my wellbeing increased and I got insights into what projects I should get into. 


Even after ten years, I still look on this list on a daily basis and sometimes realize that I have been abandoning things on it for months. If this happens I make a conscious effort to incorporate it again into my day which makes me feel better right away. 


So here is how it works. Take a piece of paper and write down 20 things that your heart loves and that make you feel happy. For example:


  1. Big earrings
  2. Pompoms
  3. Watching people
  4. Making a fire
  5. The silhouette of trees in front of the sunset
  6. The smell of lavender and roses
  7. Rainbows
  8. Dancing
  9. Polka dots
  10. Strawberries
  11. Hearing people speak Spanish
  12. Mexican Culture
  13. Choirs
  14. Stained glass
  15. Churches
  16. Coffee with cinnamon
  17. Peacocks
  18. Hot chocolate
  19. The sound of water pouring into the bathtub
  20. Christmas lights


Post this list somewhere where you can see it every day. If you don't want to display it openly you could hang it inside your closet door. 


Add to this list whenever you notice something else that makes your heart sing. Your list will grow over time. 


Tip: Don't write things on this list that you think you're supposed to love, but instead write down what really makes your cheeks glow or makes you smile even if you think it's silly or that you're too old for being into childish things like glitter, pompoms or candy necklaces. Don't judge what excites you. Just write it down. 


The next step is to incorporate these things into your life. If you wrote down that the colour lime green makes you really happy, go ahead and paint one wall in your kitchen or buy yourself a lime green top. 


If you have a love affair with pompoms, why not sew a couple on your scarf or decorate a pillow with them?


If you like going for walks during sunset, plan a date with yourself in the next week and stroll around your neighbour hood at dawn. 


You will see how the quality of your life increases drastically and how many things there are on earth to be happy about. On top of that, this list will give you hints what you should really do with your life. 


If you want to be really fancy, make your list into a piece of art. Take a piece of cardboard, paint it in your favourite colours, write your happy things on it and decorate it. 


This can be meditative and a beautiful ritual to get in contact with yourself. 


And don't worry if you can't seem to come up with a lot of things. Go for a happy-hunt in the next weeks. Be extra alert and find out what you really love. You might sit in a cafe with your best friend when you suddenly realize how much you love her laughter. Write it on your list and keep being alert what else gives you a feeling of warmth, beauty and joy. 


Feel free to send me your list or leave me a comment with the things you love. I love reading these lists. I should put this on mine :-)


Let it transform your life!


So much love!


By the way, every time people share their list with me, I notice that 99% of the things on their lists are for free. This is the proof that money doesn't make you happy, but that we're surrounded by abundance all the time and that we just need to focus on it. 


Love you guys!


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