How to Be Happy: 7 Tips for Becoming a Happier Person

How to Be Happy | Tips to being happy | Habits of Incredibly Happy People | Compounding Joy


“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”

~Dalai Lama XIV

  • Do what you love
  • Love what you do
  • Don’t worry about what other people think
  • Follow your heart
  • Work hard

This list can go on and on of examples of what many of us have heard for most of our lives when someone tells us how to be happy.

Many people associate their self-worth and their identity with where they work, or what they “do.” They believe that people see them as WHAT they do for a living. Is what you DO for a job what you ARE? Not at all. A job doesn’t define that.

Our values and personalities and underlying beliefs about what is “ok” may influence us to choose a career path – and those identities develop over time – but it isn’t THE identity of us.

A college graduate with no professional career experience may feel that lack of identity because he is not sure of what he wants to do, and what does everyone ask? What are you doing when you graduate? Where are you going to work? What are you going to BE?


If you don’t design your life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
~Jim Rohn



Let’s look at some traits that most happy people have:


Humility and Non-Judgment

Happy people have a deep understanding that every single person brings something different to the table. Celebrate the differences. Don’t judge.


Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
~C.S. Lewis


Appreciate people. Expressing gratitude is a way of honoring every person and what they offer.




Be Yourself

Happy people don’t change when things get good, or bad. Be humble and gracious when things are going your way, and be humble and kind when things are not going your way.

I heard Anne Lammot in an interview say that grace is a “Come-a-you-are -party.”
Be Yourself. Period. End of Story.


Embrace Change

Shit changes. True Story. Happy people accept this. (Fact.)



Happy people cooperate with others.


“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Don’t Make Decisions Based on Fear

Happy people do not make decisions based on fear. If you make decisions because you are afraid, you are running instead of moving toward something wonderful. It’s ok to have fears, just don’t let them rule your decision making. There is also the case of avoidance of failure – which means that you don’t make the decision you know you need to make because you are afraid of failure. If you never try it, you can’t fail! Don’t avoid decisions you know would make you happy.




“Joy is always a surprise, and always a decision”

~Anne Lamott


1. Clearly define happiness for yourself

What do you love? What do you need to let go? Don’t hope for happiness or wait for joy, decide to make it happen. You can keep a journal of what makes you happy – concentrate on making a list of what makes you happy, and focus on making that list happen. (By the way? Happiness is NOT STUFF.)


2. Find pleasure in the little things

LITTLE things – not losing 50 pounds, getting a promotion, getting married, having babies – the LITTLE things – a flower growing in an unlikely place, a good parking spot, the sun, a good meal. I am a true believer that the appreciation of many little happy things compound and add up.


3. Enjoy the ordinary

Remember that we are more likely to have an average day than an extraordinary one. Focus on today and see the positive and good things in it.


4. Believe in your self-worth

Live responsibly. It will make you feel happy. And don’t forget to observe happiness in others. Appreciate that you are worthy of being happy, and appreciate others too.
Take continuous action for self-improvement. Commit to learning something new, or dig deeper into something you know well. Read books, take classes, learn to LOVE to grow. Treat yourself like a friend. No more negative talk. Treat yourself kindly, and how you would treat a friend. Be gracious.


5. Graciously impact others

Do something to brighten someone else’s day. Your happiness is part of the more substantial collective happiness. Understand that fact. You can’t be happy in your private bubble. Share. Donate (money, time, things.)


“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
~Winston Churchill


6. Live in a constant state of gratitude

Appreciate people and opportunities that come your way. Be mindful and thankful.


“Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.”
-W.P. Kinsella


7. Be organized

Studies have shown that being organized affects your mood and stress levels (in positive ways!), which is directly related to being happy in your life. Try planning your day the night before to get a jump-start on an organized day. You can be more strategic by planning your day the night before – find a quote you want to read (and reread) the next day, make a list of your appointments, and things you want to do, and prioritize what is most important for the following day. Sometimes all you need is that Most Important Task written down in front of you to remind you of what is as we just said, Most Important.


Daily Planner Page Printable | Productivity | How to Be Happy | Get Organized | Compounding Joy

What do we know for sure? Happiness is a personal choice.

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”
-Mother Teresa

How to Be Happy | Tips to Being Happy | How to Be Happy in Life | Compounding Joy

From Fear to Courage: Be Afraid and Do it Anyway

from fear to courage | be afraid and do it anyway | compoundingjoy.

Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”


Being scattered and not able to focus on one project at a time is a common problem. Often this is a result of our fear.  We are afraid of failing, we are afraid of not doing what we are supposed to be doing. I believe that’s why we all love productivity tips, hacks, tricks – anything to organize our messes and thoughts so that our lives are a transparent canvas on which we can paint our successes. When you have a lot of things you love to do, it’s hard to decide where to start. And for many of us (definitely me), it becomes impossible to start. So we rewatch a series on Netflix, or we do laundry, or we cook, or we clean up. When we are unable to have the courage to commit to one thing only, or when we are unable to have the courage to commit to moving forward in the life we know we are meant to live, we are pretty much assuring ourselves that it won’t get the attention it deserves – which means what? Failure?

Artists, writers, creatives – HAVE to have the courage to do what they do every day. Jennie Moraitis, in “Be brave: Creative Courage for the Artist” says artists filled with fear are people “wavering on the edge of a creative cliff and are nervous to make the leap.” Creative courage will never come if you let your fear hold you back. Using fear to make us productive helps us be brave. Courage is when you have self-doubt, and fear and you show up anyway. What exactly are we afraid of? Failure? And if we fail, what does that mean? That someone gets to say “I told you so?” To have the “perfect job” the “perfect” marriage, the “perfect” amount of money – “perfect” in this way is often for how everyone ELSE thinks you should live, and at the same time not giving yourself a chance to try to live your dream.


So? Move forward or stay put?

Remember, everything is impermanent. Life is impermanent.


Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”


What do people think and why or why not? Do you have the courage to leap for your dreams? Brene Brown says, “What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?“ She has also said, “Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and not disappoint anyone. It doesn’t work that way.” The unknown is scary. Doubting yourself is the fear of going into the unknown. The only way through that is with courage. Courage isn’t the absence of fear! Being afraid doesn’t mean you aren’t strong. Courage means that you are overcoming that fear and moving forward.


Don’t procrastinate! Be brave and try something you haven’t tried before.


In an ArtofWellBeing article – they discussed how courage is what fuels all the other virtues: “cool stuff like passion, humility, honorability, integrity, truth, confidence, strength, and compassion.” Being afraid is part of being alive and part of being human. To have the courage, we need to step out of our comfort zone (remember, our bodies are protecting us by making us afraid.) In #90 of Steph Crowder’s Podcast  it was said, “Don’t be afraid to take up space.” If we are so used to bending and becoming and shaping ourselves into who everyone wants us to be, especially at work – we work to become who our bosses, owners, co-workers wish to us to be – But at what point do you say, HEY! I want my OWN shape!


Fear of making mistakes. Fear of taking chances with our work. Fear of making the wrong decision. Fear of being criticized. Fear of what others will think. When we continue with these fears – and don’t create the courage to move through it – this fear becomes a huge part of ourselves and paralyzes productivity until you recognize what it is. Fear completely sabotages our productivity. (Fear causes anxiety!) Fear of failure and perfectionism paralyze people (um, me) and prevents them from starting or completing what they know they should or could be doing. Figure out what went wrong, what you are afraid will go wrong, understand you will never be perfect, and move forward. Courage is the ULTIMATE productivity hack! And then when you get productive, it means you will have more courage to find success in whatever it is you wish to do. (Which came first? The chicken or the egg? RIGHT?)


Brene Brown says, “Have the courage to be imperfect.”


I don’t know where the brilliant sentence, “Attract what you want by being what you want” originated. We need the courage to become more of OURSELVES in life. It’s scary being yourself! Keep working toward your visions, whether you are supported outside of yourself or not. HONOR who you are and what you want. Be grateful and choose to be happy.


Let go of “But I’m supposed to.”

Let go of “But wait…”


Use your courage to follow your dreams.


Be deliberate. Get inspired. Do it!

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read more on the disclaimer page. Please know I will never promote or suggest any product that I haven’t used and/or continue to use, and that I enjoy using in my own life

Hygge: 11 Danish Secrets to Happiness

hygge: 11 danish secrets to happiness


With all this talk about organizing, decluttering, and being mindful, Hygge pops up all over the place. Hygge is the Danish way of decluttering and organizing – with the bonus of being cozy. It fits in with mindfulness, being comfortable (inside of yourself and outside of yourself), and appreciating the world around you. Be in the moment. Be grateful.

Hygge, pronounced “Hoo-Ga,” comes from the Norwegian word “well-being.”

Some Words associated with Hygge are:

Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Institute of Copenhagen as well as the author of the book The Little Book of Hygge. She is a wealth of information on Hygge. Her writing has gems scattered throughout. She says, “Danes are good at focusing on what brings them a better quality of life.” She called Hygge “Coziness of the soul.”

Author Dr. Mike Ruscio interviewed Wiking about Hygge. You can read the interview transcribed here: and you can listen to the podcast/radio interview here.

Wiking said “And I work at the Happiness Research Institute, where we essentially try to answer three basic questions. One, how do we measure happiness? Secondly, why are some people happier than others? And ultimately, we hope to answer the question, how do we improve the quality of life?”

Wiking talked of how Americans see freedom perhaps the way Danes see Hygge. The way we (people in the United States) view freedom is inherent (or should be). Danes have an innate sense of being kind to themselves and those around them. They try to make the most of their daily lives.

As my friend Laura once told me about life, “This is not a dress rehearsal.”

You can check out the World Happiness Report. It’s an ACTUAL THING, and it’s fantastic!
Click Here for the World Happiness Report.

Danes have the happiest workforce in the world, and most of them receive 52 weeks parental leave (and five weeks vacation.) They mostly work from 9-4, and they never stay at work late – always going home to their families.

2. Danes burn more candles than anywhere else in Europe. (So buy some!)

3. When everyone cooks together, that’s more Hygge than when one person cooks and everyone meets at the table. Bake and cook! Danes make delicious pastries and love to cook slow – stews and soups.

4. Every Hygge home should have a cozy nook – to read, drink tea or coffee – what kind of table you are touching, or plate you are eating out of matters. When you get home from work, try an herbal tea, a book, soft blanket, comfy couch or chair. (As opposed to dinner on the couch watching Dexter on Netflix.)

5. Danes bike everywhere: There are more bikes than people in Copenhagen. Bikes create less car pollution, more exercise, and less money spent on cars, gas, and auto maintenance.

6. They eat lunch at 11 am.

7. Danes eat oatmeal (porridge) for dinner as well as for breakfast.

8. People in Denmark dress for the weather. They layer up. Layers keep them warm, and as we know, this feels better than being out in stockings and inappropriate shoes.

9. Make a craft with friends or alone. Example: knitting. Knitting is COMPLETELY cozy and relaxing. I agree!

10. Light the fire. Have a wood burning stove.

11. Turn off electronic devices every once in a while.

All these things seem to create a life of balance and harmony.
Hygge means building trust, embracing imperfection. (Wait. Is imperfection ok? What?)

Materialism came up in my research. It seems that Danes understand that once you cover your baseline expenses, being connected to other people is what creates happiness, not more money. In the United States, Income is generally associated with happiness. The happiness report shows that “happiness” in the United States has been dropping.

Alfred Marshall, the author that wrote the Principles of Economics book in 1890, discussed the concepts of Diminishing Marginal Utility. He wrote, “The additional benefit a person derives from a given increase of his stock of a thing diminishes with every increase in the stock that he already has.”

I thought it was so interesting that Denmark has some of the highest taxes in the world. They believe the higher taxes create a better society (which is a post for another day – however they do have a stable government, low level of corruption, and access to high-quality education and health care.

Healthcare. Healthcare. Health. Care.

In the interview between Wiking and Dr. Rosio, Wiking said, “And in terms of having a single-pay system, in terms of healthcare, that universal healthcare should be provided for all. It should not be something that is down to the individual to choose insurance, and so on. We definitely see a trend there, that if you have universal healthcare, of course, it reduces worries, of course, it reduces stress, and of course, that improves quality of life for all.”

Nordic countries tend to cultivate a decent work-life balance.

Mindfulness and Hygge are similar. Although one is looking inward (mindfulness) and one is somewhat outward (hygge), the ideas and feelings are alike.

Celebrate experiences over possessions.

My most favorite takeaway from hygge?

Gratitude. Have some. Be thankful. Feel it. Mean it.


This post may contain affiliate links. You can read more on the disclaimer page. Please know I will never promote or suggest any product that I haven’t used and/or continue to use, and that I enjoy using in my own life.


How to Gain Control of Your Habits Once and For All!

evernote habit tracker template | gain control of your habits | change your habits change your life

Gain Control of Your Habits Once and For All

Guest Post by James A.

I had the good fortune to sit with a foot surgeon today who told me that every Tuesday, the day he performs surgery, he”visualizes every step of the surgery done` perfectly. It’s a psycho-kinetic exercise.”

I had never before heard the phrase “psycho-kinetic,” but after some thought, and a trip to the dictionary, it struck me as a perfect way to address a change in habit.


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Kinetic: “of or relating to the motion of material bodies and the forces and energy associated therewith.” (Merriam Webster)



Positive changes in habit happen in reality, with force of will, and require a dedication to seeing oneself changed for the better. Regarding the surgery, it’s a deep meditation on the execution of important movement to repair an injury (the physical surgery itself), but also within the body’s movement (the visualization of the operation’s choreography the Dr. engages in before picking up a scalpel).


If we are to change our habits, is it not then a psycho-kinetic exercise as well? To direct force and energy within ourselves to behave in a certain way?


This concept of how to change applies to mindfulness and money management–where Compounding Joy resides–as well as any area of life! But most of us lack a set of tools to bring about lasting change in our lives in any area.


Yogic philosophy and tools encourage the individual to change in relation to their highest potential vs. the western concept of comparing to the average. I’ll keep coming back to different Yogis in the weeks ahead, but in this example, the Dr. visualizes the performance of surgery perfectly (highest potential) and engages in a strategy that enables success at a crucial level—

a bit better than thinking the average surgery contains two mistakes, and I am hoping to only make one today.


So much for philosophy! Nothing matters until it enters the realm of what to DO. So if you’re looking to save more money, pay off your debt, stop smoking, take a walk every day or WHATEVER, start with activities that support and reinforce positive habits.


Open an Ally Invest brokerage account!



Affirmations are activities that can really get your mindfulness practice into high gear. Being mindful is the first step in cultivating good habits or changing bad habits. If you accept that what you do throughout each day is at its core a conscious choice, you are on your way to making better choices! Affirmations work on a subliminal/ subconscious level and are obvious on their surface too.


My favorite book of Affirmations!


A GREAT place to start doing something—simple repetition–that can really turn your thought patterns around. Yogananda includes a specific section on changing habits; that control of habits really equates to freedom. Isn’t freedom the ultimate goal of financial independence?


Bring your awareness to ensure every choice you make aligns with your goals.


Affirmations also can help one realize that much of our limitation is self-imposed. Repeating “I am whole” will not only make you feel good but will also help you when you are tempted to buy something that you know you shouldn’t. If you know you are whole right now you won’t need that thing and you are one step closer to freedom!


Words can point, but only experience helps. Go get the book and DO the affirmations. Or find another book of affirmations that appeal to you and DO them!


Be conscious and mindful of your choices and you will gain control of your habits!




Create Achievable Goals This Year

Compounding Joy | create achievable goals | printable | worksheets




We’ve all heard it.  “Set goals. Reach for the stars!  You can do anything you set your mind to!”  If you are anything like me, these comments and suggestions can be extremely overwhelming when trying to create achievable goals for myself. In this article, we will discuss how it’s more productive to commit to the process of getting to your goal, as opposed to committing to reaching the goal.  If you make a realistic, achievable schedule, turning your goals into bite-size pieces – you are waaaaaay more likely to reach your goals.   (And then? You CAN do anything you set your mind to!)   Please feel free to print out the free goal setting worksheets I have created for you!  Click here.   This post may contain affiliate links. You can read more on the disclaimer page. Please know I will never promote or suggest any product that I haven’t used and/or continue to use, and that I enjoy using in my own life.



Most goals are BIG. They are long-term goals, and if you are anything like me you want immediate gratification. If you want it immediately, and expect to do it immediately, then this is not a tangible goal. Someone who decides they want to run a marathon can’t go from sitting on the couch watching Forensic Files to running a marathon in one month. Setting goals and breaking them down into smaller goals/actionable steps allows you to organize your time and resources so that these goals become achievable.



Scott Dinsmore from asks “If there were a newspaper headline describing this past year for you, what would it say?”  That really got me thinking of what I have accomplished this past year, and what my future goals are, or should be.  What are your key motivations?  WHY is this important to you?  


A goal needs to motivate you – if it doesn’t, move on. Knowing why the goal is important to you helps get and keep you motivated.  What is/are the specific actions needed to be taken to move closer to achieving your goal?  Michael Hyatt suggests writing down and prioritizing your motivations.  Which one resonates the most with you from your list?     I need to add this quote. (Yes. I NEED TO.)   “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”   Zig Ziglar ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


You can focus on the journey when you break it up into small tasks.   Break your goals down into “next actions” – into “do-able” pieces, not the whole schabang all at once!  Create a task list; don’t be unrealistic – these need to be achievable tasks.  Give yourself more time to complete than you think it will take.  Better to have more time than not enough – otherwise it’s frustrating (I promise!) Stressing out over your tasks may mean they are too complex or unrealistic.  Achieving minor tasks related to big goals is empowering.



I am a HUGE Getting Things Done (David Allen) fan.  He suggests dumping EVERYTHING out of your head.  All the tasks for a project (goal) you can possibly think of, write it down.  This is a brainstorming session – write EVERYTHING down.  Be very specific.  Here are your action items.  Once this is done, you can prioritize and organize the tasks.  Put them in a realistic, achievable order.  Put them in a calendar if that works for you. (Definitely works for me, I use Trello – and the basic plan is free!)


As in Getting Things Done, a weekly review is so so helpful in achieving your goals. Set a time for it.  I used to have it scheduled for Sunday but I found that I tended to blow it off on Sunday night.  Saturday morning, however, works well for me.  It’s important.  Reviewing once a week keeps you grounded in your journey and allows you to finagle any tweaks or changes that will adjust your systems to work in your favor.


Click Below to See Compounding Joy’s Evernote Habit Trackerhabit tracker evernote template



I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up S.M.A.R.T. goals to help us create achievable goals.     “S” is for Specific   These are goals that are written clearly (think “who, what, why, where, when) This should be not too broad – not general…     “M” is for Measurable   Does the goal answer how many or how often? How will you know you have achieved the goal? How will you evaluate?       “A” is for Achievable   Can you achieve your goal by the target date? Do you have accessible support? Are the results you expect realistic?     “R” is for Relevant   Does it make a difference in your personal/professional life?  Is its alignment with your values?     “T” is for Time-bound   Is there a clear and specific completion date?     Michael Hyatt (author of Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want) uses the acronym S.M.A.R.T.E.R. His “E” is for Exciting and his extra “R” is for “Risky” (Is the goal set high enough to demand your best effort?)   ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


What obstacles are getting in your way? Setbacks?  What are the solution/action steps that you can take to overcome these?  In the free worksheets, I have created a space for obstacle and setback notes – this is important. If you can see them ahead of time, and have a plan of action in case they come up – you are much more likely to stay on track.  Don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Do you need to assign more time to that task? Be kind to yourself.


Goals give you the ability to focus and pay attention to what needs to be done. “I want” is not a goal.  “I need” is not a goal.  Make S.M.A.R.T. goals.  Print out the free printable goal worksheets and get started! Setting and keeping goals takes courage.  You have to want it more than you don’t want it. You are creating your reality!   Follow your heart, be consistent, be positive, work hard!   And always be grateful.   ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Nothing gets me going more than a great motivational quote written at the top of a to-do list!  Here are some ideas you can add to your own monthly goal sheets.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”   Tony Robbins

“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”   Thomas Henry Huxley

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them.”   Henry David Thoreau

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” Aristotle.

“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.”   Zig Ziglar

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”     Napoleon Hill

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”   Mark Victor Hansen

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”   T.S. Eliot

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”   Stephen King       “One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves.”   Karen Casey

“He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how”   Friedrich Nietzsche

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”   Vincent Van Gogh

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”   Lewis Carroll

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”   Henry David Thoreau

“If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.”   Tony Robbins   ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________