Joyful Living by Joy Kouns-Lewis, PhD
Adapted from Yee Shun-Jian on August 16th, 2010
1. If you don’t eat breakfast, make it your first new habit. It doesn’t have to be cold cereal or something
prepackaged – try fruit, some quick scrambled eggs, or a bagel with cream cheese – but be sure to take advantage of this meal to start your day with high energy.
2. Try going on a gluten-free or vegan diet for a week to see how you feel. Research shows that over-processed grains tend to impede digestion, so avoid wheat and barley. You might experience a
rise in energy levels and overall improved health.
3. Get cooking. Borrow some cook books from your local library, take some webinars, or just try out
interesting online recipes. It’s much better for you than eating out.
4. Buy yourself a planner. You’re more likely to remember things if you actually write them down (no, typing doesn’t count). You might even enjoy the opportunity to check off tasks as you complete them – it gives you a sense of accomplishment.
5. Start a garden. If you don’t have a backyard, start it in a window box. Herb gardens are easy and they yield a lot of fresh flavor.
6. Once you have a garden, start composting. Your biodegradable waste products can act as useful
7. Become a volunteer. If you already do this, branch out to another location. You can choose from a wide variety of venues, such as nursing homes, children’s hospitals, animal shelters, soup kitchens, or Parks & Rec programs.
8. Take time every day to do something for yourself. Read for pleasure, make a cup of hot tea and
relax, or get some sun on the back deck.
9. Work on your communication skills. There’s always room for improvement, so edit your e-mails for
clarity and conciseness.
10. Go to your local home improvement store, pick out some paint chips, and tape them to your
kitchen walls. After a week has gone by, choose a color and give the room a new paint job. Spontaneity and change are good for everyone.
11. Go to conferences and listen to lectures to stay current in your field of expertise. No matter how
much experience you have, there’s no substitute for knowing what’s new.
12. Take up a new sport. Try free running, disc golf, or rock climbing. You won’t have to invest much in equipment, and the rules are easy, so you can focus on having fun and getting some exercise.
13. Learn a new language. Ancient Greek may be a “dead” language, but many English words are derived from it. Learning about the roots of words can improve your vocabulary and understanding of the English language.
14. Start saving for retirement now. This is one of those things that shouldn’t be procrastinated, no matter how many figures are in your salary.
15. Rearrange the furniture in your home. It’s a quick and easy way to change the scenery and beat boredom.
16. Start doing yoga. If you already do, try power yoga. You’ll get rid of the day’s frustrations, make your muscles happy, and feel more peaceful.
17. Clean out your closet and donate unwanted items to a local charity. You’ll have a lot more space
and others will be happy to benefit from your generosity. An added bonus is the excuse to shop for new clothes.
18. Improve your vocabulary. Dictionary.com has a word-of-the-day section (do you know what aeromancy means?) and vocabulary.com has resources and fun daily challenges.
19. Listen to classical music while you work. Try theclassicalstation.org for free online streaming (no matter where you live) and knowledgeable DJs.
20. Become a faster typist. Online typing games are fun and help you improve your skills. You might
even get work done faster, leave earlier, and beat the traffic.
21. Join or form a book club. The advantage of forming one is that you get to pick the first book.
22. Start an emergency fund. You never know when you might need a big chunk of change. Even if you never have an emergency, you’ve got another savings account.
23. Stop worrying about what other people think. That’s their business, and your business is being
24. Go to the nearest aquarium, aviary, or zoo and learn some animal facts. You’ll be surprised
at what you didn’t know about giraffe tongues.
25. Stay on top of your oral hygiene. Brush and floss regularly to avoid painful visits to the dentist,
and ask your dentist to recommend a toothpaste for your specific needs.
26. Send gifts to people you know. When you’re out shopping and see something that would make
a friend smile, buy it and give it anonymously.
27. Improve the quality of the air around you. Get an air filter to keep irritating and potentially harmful particles out of your nose, airways, and lungs.
28. Decide what you want in life and go after it. Don’t be too picky about your choices – you know
what you want, so get out there and chase it.
29. Pick up some self development audio courses and listen to them in the car. Drive time is
usually wasted, but it’s easy to make use of it.
30. Learn to play a new instrument. The piano is a great choice because it’s easy to learn, but
difficult to master. Piano skills also apply to many other instruments, and you can even take piano lessons online.
31. Become a more informed global citizen: learn the capital of every country, take geography quizzes to fill in blank maps, and learn to match each country to its flag.
32. Enjoy the little things. New office supplies, a different flavor of coffee creamer, or a haircut can do the trick.
33. Clean out your car. Driving to work every morning in a cluttered vehicle is sure to start each day with unnecessary stress.
34. Do one thing every day that scares you. Consistency may be comfortable, but it won’t teach you
35. Compliment other people. You’ll learn to see the best in them, and they’ll appreciate your kindness.
36. Go to a restaurant that serves a type of food you’ve never tried before. Jump in and order
something that scares you.
37. Lift weights at least three times a week. You don’t have to join a gym; just buy a dumbbell and switch arms. For bicep curls, four sets of ten is the ideal amount to gain muscle mass.
38. Prioritize your daily tasks. Tackle the most important and difficult ones first, then the ones you
don’t like. You’ll feel accomplished, and by the end of the day, you’ll be stress-free and working on easy, enjoyable tasks.
39. Become a mentor. You’re an expert in something that someone else out there wants to learn, so why not volunteer your time and knowledge?
40. Never “talk small” about yourself. Underestimating your abilities is an open invitation for
others to do the same.
41. Keep plants indoors at home and at work. They produce extra oxygen, get rid of carbon dioxide waste, and brighten up the room.
42. Get to know your parents. Even though you grew up with them, there are a lot of things about them you don’t know. They’re wise resources, so take advantage of them.
43. Have an opinion. And not just any opinion – be well informed about what’s important to you, don’t apologize for being knowledgeable, and don’t be afraid to tell others what you think.
44. Leave your social networking sites alone for a week. Every time you’re tempted to click, call a friend and schedule some real face time.
45. Neutralize negativity. It’s easy to think you’re being “realistic” when you’re actually a pessimist, so try to see things as being even better than they are. What do you have to lose?
46. Get tasty antioxidants by eating dark chocolate. It has less sugar than most candies and can actually improve your health.
47. Enjoy your body and take good care of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
48. Read a biography of a person you admire. You’ll learn more about why you admire them and get some tips on how to adopt a similar lifestyle.
49. When tackling difficult tasks, divide them into ...
Dr. Joy is the Founder and CEO of The Joy of Coaching and currently is the Senior Director in Human Resources for Children’s Hunger Alliance. She specializes in Career and Executive Coaching, Diversity, and Human Resources Management programs.