The Happiness Habits That Have Dramatically Increased My Joy

Happiness Habits

It’s the end of another year. Times flies too fast these days and it just seems to go by a little faster every year. That is why I am doing my best to be intentional about the way I am spending my time.


I have also been doing a lot of reflecting on the past 12 months. As you may know, I declared 2017 the year of joyfulness and I implemented happiness habits each month in hopes of creating more joy in my life. There have been many ups and downs, but overall, 2017 has been one of my best years.


As I look back, I wanted to share with you the happiness habits that have made a positive impact on my life so you can learn from my experience and maybe even try some of these yourself.


Positive Mindset

My first of my happiness habits was to cultivate a more positive mindset.  To do this, I decided to choose my words more carefully and be mindful of the tone I was using when speaking. I also decided to ditch negative self-talk and try and reframe any negative thoughts that crept into my head.


Did I Stick With It?

Yes. Although there were both good and bad days, I would say that I have definitely incorporated more positivity in my thoughts, words, and actions.


Has it made a difference?

Yes! When I was able to be more positive in my thoughts and my actions, I noticed a huge difference in not just me, but also in my kids and my husband as well. Life definitely seemed to be more fluid when I was conscious of my thoughts.


Waking Up Early

In February, waking up early was the joyful habit that I chose. I resolved to wake up before my kids to enjoy some solitude and increase productivity.


Did I stick with it?

This is a resounding yes. I still wake up early almost every day. I do choose to sleep in on most days that my husband is not working.


Has it made a difference?

Absolutely! I relish my mornings. Over the months, my morning routine has changed but it is a vital time for me to refresh and practice some self care activities. This happiness habit has been one of the most important in adding joy to my day and I plan to continue into the foreseeable future.


Healthy Eating

The goal was to eat more good things so there would be less room for junk. I gave up processed food as well as refined flour and sugar for the entire month of March. I also started eating more veggies and made sure I was eating regularly throughout the day.


Did I Stick With It?

Sort of. I did really well with this in March but after that I went a little crazy and started binging on junk food for a bit. That is something I do when I feel like I have been deprived. Overall, I do eat a healthful diet and stick with mostly real, whole foods. I do eat junk food from time to time but I try not to overdo it.


Has it made a difference?

Yes, when I eat mostly healthy I do notice that I am in a much better mood. However, when I eat too much processed food, not only do I feel worse physically, but it does negatively impact me mentally as well.. I become frustrated more easily and have little energy. In the new year, I would like to be more conscious of what I am eating and maybe try tracking my food to be sure that I am eating as well as I think. One thing I am going to be more careful with is my negative self talk around my eating. Instead of beating myself up for slipping up and eating something I shouldn’t, I will instead choose to give myself grace and start again with my next meal.



In April, I reluctantly made regular exercise my joyful habit. This was something that I had not done for a long time and so decided to start slow with 3 days per week for 10 minutes. The goal was to boost energy, improve self confidence and overall happiness.

Happiness Habits

Did I Stick With It?

This was a really hard habit for me to implement. I did very well about the first week of the month, but after that it was really hard for me to find the time to do it. I am happy to say that I have finally made regular exercise a part of my day. And in fact, I exercise for about 20-45 minutes 5 days per week, which is even better than my original goal.


Has It Made A Difference?


Yes! Lately I have been very into yoga as my form of exercise and I absolutely love it! I find that it is just as good for my mind as it is for my body and I feel so much better after. I actually look forward to my daily yoga practice each day.


Keeping A Clean Home

In May, I broke the joyful habit up into 4 mini happiness habits; set up a housekeeping schedule, never go to bed with a messy kitchen, make the bed every day, and setting up a simple laundry system


Did I stick with it?

Sort of. In the beginning, I did very well with this habit, but lately I have fallen out of it. My husband had a few schedule changes for his job over the past few months which completely through my routines for a loop. I have found it challenging to get back on track but I have maintained my laundry system and I do make the bed most days.


Has it made a difference?

Yes! I did notice that on the days that I do not make my bed, everything seems a bit more chaotic. Strange, but true. Additionally, I find I am calmer when I wake up in the morning to a clean home. However, recently that has not been happening. I am going to challenge myself to get back into this habit.


Make Sleep A Priority

In June, I challenged myself to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night by going to bed earlier.  


Did I Stick With It?

Yes. For the month of June, I went to bed on time every single night. I do still prioritize sleep most nights. But occasionally the hubs and I want to stay up a bit and watch one more episode of whatever show we are currently enjoying. And I think that is ok, as long as it is not every night.


Has It Made a Difference?

Yes, Yes a thousand times YES! I am much calmer and more productive as a result of sleeping enough. I have much more energy and overall make better decisions in my parenting. I also make better decisions with the food I put in my body when I am well rested. This is one that I will continue with as well.


Create A Life Management Plan

In July, I started structuring my time and creating plans for our daily structure, work schedule, meals, meal prep, morning routine and self care.


Did I stick with it?

Yes. I am currently not doing a meal prep day, but that may be something I do in the future. I also do not need to plan my daily structure, morning routine and self care at this time as they have become such an ingrained part of my day, they just happen organically. I do still plan my work schedule and meals weekly.


Does it make a difference?

Yes. It saves me time and dramatically reduces decision fatigue. If for some reason I do not start the week with a plan, I am completely flustered and lost. Having my plan in place makes everything go so much more smoothly.



My goal for August was to write 3 things I am grateful for each day.


Did I stick With It?

No. After August, I did not continue with this practice.


Has it made a difference?

I don’t think that this habit made much of a difference. However, I am not sure I was going deep enough with it. I think if I were to do this habit again, I would dig a little deeper and think about the reason behind my gratitude. I think adding this extra dimension would make it sink in a little deeper.


Create a beautiful home

In September, the goal was to add some personal touches to my otherwise undecorated home. The idea was to make it feel more like a home and haven for myself and my family.


Did I stick with it?

So, I did approximately one project of a farmhouse style coffee station in my kitchen and that was about it. It even took me awhile to agree to complete it because my husband actually drafted the idea for how it would look, and I was convinced that I would absolutely hate it. However, by the time it was finished I came to love it.


Has it made a difference?

If this one project is any indication then I would say it does make a difference. I love my new coffee station and I do plan to continue with adding personal touches throughout my home.


15 Second Kiss

For October the habit focused on my marriage and sharing a 15 second kiss with my husband daily.


Did I stick with it?

No. For the month of October, we did kiss for 15 seconds every single day, but after that we stopped.


Did it make a difference?

While it was certainly fun, I don’t think it was all it was cracked up to be. But I would definitely do it again.


Random Acts Of Kindness

The goal with this habit was to perform a random act of kindness every day of the month


Did I stick with it?

No. November ended up being a hard month emotionally. We had something unexpected happen that completely dashed most of my plans.


Has it made a difference?

The few days that I did perform acts of kindness absolutely made me happy. I loved seeing the joy it brought to the people I love the most.



If you haven’t heard of Hygge, you can read about it here. For my final habit of the year, I decided to find a new way to enjoy hygge in my life every single day.

Happiness Habits

Did I stick with it?

Yes. This one came really easily for me. I think this habit will be another one that I stick with for the foreseeable future. Especially during the winter. You can see some of the ways I incorporated hygge into my life on my Instagram page. Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration for yourself, too.


Did it make a difference?

Absolutely! I am telling you, the Danes got it right with this. I think this time of year also makes it better to cozy up. But remember, Hygge is about more than just getting cozy. It is about being kind and gentle with yourself as well.


Each of these happiness habits has made a positive impact on my life and many of them I plan to continue and improve upon in the future. Many people have asked me about the things that have made the most profound difference in my level of joy.


After much reflection, I have decided that these have had the greatest impact on me personally:


Getting Enough Sleep – I believe this is the most important thing we can do for our health (both mentally and physically). If you are feeling like you don’t know where to start in  your wellness journey, start with your sleep.


Positive Mindset – I honestly believe that this is the first step in finding joy. We must take responsibility for our own happiness by choosing to see the positive in our lives rather than the negative.


Waking Up Early – Currently, I am using my mornings solely for self care. Taking time first thing to pour into myself allows me to give more fully to my family. However, I do want to caution you not to try this habit unless you are getting enough sleep (see above). Make sleep a priority first, and then you can try waking up early.


I hope that you have found this information helpful and that you feel inspired to take steps to being more intentional with your lives. I would love to know what has had the greatest impact on your life this year? What are your goals for 2018?


More From This Series:

Joyful Habit 12 | The Secret Of The Happiest People In The World
Joyful Habit 11 | Random Acts Of Kindness
Joyful Habit 10 | 15 Seconds A Day To A Healthy Marriage
Joyful Habit 9 | Create A Beautful Home
Joyful Habit 8 | Developing A Gratitude Practice
Create A Life Management Plan | 6 Things You Need To Start Planning
5 Reasons You Need To Make Sleep A Priority
Year Of Joyfulness – Progress To Date
Joyful Habit #5, Mini Habit 4
Joyful Habit #5, Mini Habit 3
Joyful Habit #5, Mini Habit 2
Joyful Habit #5, Mini Habit 1
Joyful Habit #5 – 5 Unexpected Ways A Clean Home Makes You Happier
Joyful Habit #4 – Exercise
Joyful Habit #3 – Eating For Happiness
Joyful Habit #2 – Wake Up Earlier
Joyful Habit #1 – Positive Mindset
Finding Joy In 2017

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  1. I really like the idea of trying a new habit every month, instead of getting burnt out on trying to change life at the flip of the year. It was nice that you are so transparent, it made me feel a lot more normal when I read “sort of”. 😉 Thanks for the inspiring post.

    1. Thanks, Ashley! Yes, I am a real person and I think it is so important to be transparent about this. I don’t want other mom’s feeling like they don’t measure up if they don’t stick with something. We all need to give ourselves a little grace sometime.

  2. Love your ideas, and love how you added of you stuck with them or not. It’s nice to see from a real life perspective how goals may end up! I totally agree with you on the eating well, sleeping, and morning routine! They can make a total difference in your day and your life. Great article!

  3. I love this idea of focusing on one habit a month! I have started getting up early and crating a regular workout plan. I need to work on eating better and getting more sleep!

  4. I love how you tried a new thing each month! That is so adventurous! I need to work on the getting enough sleep step! Something for me to consider for this year!

  5. You had great goals for 2017 and I love the follow up. Some of your goals are things I try to do daily (like a clean kitchen and daily exercise), and when these things don’t happen, I definitely feel it. What’s your word for 2018? Visiting from Sunday’s Best Linkup.

  6. I can’t agree more with so many of your suggestions in this post! Waking up earlier is the best way to start the day on a positive note, and making the bed makes everything seem better. 🙂 I’m visiting from Life of Faith Link-up! I followed you on Pinterest and Facebook and would love for you to follow me! Pinterest… Facebook…

  7. Those sound like some really great habits and I love that you implemented them each slowly adding just one each month. Pinned.

  8. Getting enough sleep is definitely the issue I struggle with the most – I find I have so little time to myself after my daughter goes to bed that I want to stay up and make the most of it, but I pay for it the next day. Exercise is definitely a key one for me – I feel so much better physically and mentally when I manage to exercise at least 2-3 times a week. #dreamteam

    1. I can totally relate to the sleep issue! I had the same problem. I do take some time for myself after the kids go to bed, but now that I am sleeping, enough, I am making my mornings my main me time.

  9. Wow well done on doing so well on some wonderful goals. I love getting up early and so rarely do it, unless I’m on holiday when I love to grab an early morning run. I come home determined to keep it going but soon lapse back into late night working and sleeping in! #DreamTeam

  10. Hi Bethany! What a positive post that you have shared with us at #overthemoon. You have achieved so much and good for you! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas and we all have the ability to be happy we just have to realise what changes we need to make in our life to achieve our own form of happiness. Have a great week!

  11. I wanted to say that sugar is addictive, and if you “backslid” after eating better for a few weeks, it was your body wanting its sugar fix.
    I went off sugar and after about a month, I had the greatest craving for donuts. I realized that I had “crashed” too fast and that I needed to balance out the withdrawal and detox more slowly. So I had some donuts and balanced my body sugar, and after that, I was able to “come down” better.
    Sugar is a b**** and it is in everything.
    Make sure you change your diet slowly, especially if you eat a supermarket diet and drink soda pop. I don’t even eat processed food, and I noticed the difference when I quit sugar!

  12. Glad to see you’re sticking with many of these! I’m quite similar with some, especially the morning one. I’m up around 5am every day so I can get some more work done and have some peace in the house before the baby’s up haha

  13. This is a great post, especially for a January!
    I agree with all of these but especially not eating as much processed food.
    When I watch what I eat and eat more veggies and fruits, I am such a better person inside and out.

  14. Well done! I’m feeling very inspired. I need to do more of the daily/weekly planning so you’ve given me food for thought. I’ve implemented a cleaner food attitude without processed food and gluten and have seen a huge difference in body and mind. I started doing the gratitude list too – definitively try again. I found I was going to bed happier and it made me grateful for all the little things in life. Was also a good way to keep a record of some of the sweet things my kids and husband had said and done that day. #bloggerclubuk

  15. What a lovely list! My favorite line: “I reluctantly made regular exercise my joyful habit.” Heehee…I know the feeling! I, too, have managed to make exercise a joyful habit, and after almost 30 years of doing it daily, it’s no longer a decision I have to make every day. Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring post…stopping by from Encouraging Heart & Home!

  16. I did find the information helpful and enjoyed reading about it very much. The days are slipping away and I still have not taken the time to sit quietly and think about my goals for this year. I need to make that happen soon!! Thank you for sharing this at Party in Your PJ’s!

  17. I love this. Thank you for sharing your habits that bring you happiness. I fully agree with everything that you have written. Thank you for sharing your healthy habits that produce happiness!

  18. I so needed this post. I may not be able to implement everything, but there are so many that I can strive to implement. I love how you tracked your successes and was honest about your struggles. Thanks for sharing on Sunday’s Best.

  19. This is so full of great ideas! Thank you for sharing at Mommy Moments last week! It was the top viewed link and will be featured in the link up today! Congrats!

  20. Love all these tips & timely for working on finding more happiness in the new year. Thanks for sharing at the inspiration spotlight party @DearCreatives
    sharing & pinned

  21. Pingback: Busy Monday 299

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