“My happiness is on me, so you’re off the hoook.” - Esther Hicks
It has been wonderful hearing back from people how helpful the Happiness Box has been in helping them identify what they want MORE of and LESS of in their life - and what they’re going to do about it.
As promised in the Audible recording of the SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week book, we wanted to provide a sample template here on the Intrigue Agency website so you can print it out, fill it out and share it with others..
You might want to print out SEVERAL copies and take them to a meal with friends and family so you can discuss your answers together.
Many people have told me that doing this led to one of the most meaningful conversations they’ve had in a long time about what’s working in their life, what’s not, and what they’re going to do to change their life for good - now, not later. After all, NOW is the new LATER.
This Happiness Box is based on this premise: Many of us are responsible to a fault. We’re so busy taking care of everyone else, we’re not taking care of ourselves. We put everyone else’s needs first, our own last.
That’s a prescription for stress, burnout and regret.
Please understand, it’s not selfish to identify ONE THING that would put the light on in your eyes and to make time for it each week, it’s SMART.
Here's how the Happines Box works.
Have you ever played a word-association game where someone says a word and you’re supposed to say the first thing that comes to mind?
For example, if I say, "Hawaii," you might say "Beach." If I say "Dog," you might say "Cat." If I say “Soup,” you might say, “Sandwich.”
The goal of this exercise is to write down whatever comes up when asked the following questions.
No second-guessing what wants to be said. Gut responses are usually the most honest and that's the goal.
This is an opportunity to surface priorities, dreams or resentments you might have been hiding, ignoring or denying because they weren't "nice" or "politically correct" or “feasible” to admit.
The beautiful thing is, there is no mystery to how you can lead a more fulfilling life. This will give you the answers to your Happiness Test.
If you have the courage to write down how you really feel, you will know what needs to be done to bring your life more into alignment with your true priorities so you’re leading a life that leads to results, not to regrets.
Sam Horn’s Happiness Box
Got your pen handy? Ready, set, start answering these questions in the appropriate square.
Square 1: “What are you DOING in your life that you WANT TO?” Walking your dog every morning? Having date night with your partner? Living in a city with lots to do? Doing meaningful work? Listening to podcasts?
Square 2: “What are you NOT DOING in your life that you WANT TO?” Not exercising or working out? Not getting enough sleep? Not spending time with friends? Not traveling or doing a favorite hobby? Not dating, having sex or meeting your soul mate?
Square 3: “What are you DOING in your life you DON’T WANT TO?” Working 60 hours a week? Over-eating? Spending too much time on social media? Watching too much TV? Arguing or fighting with someone?
Square 4: “What are you NOT DOING in your life and you DON’T WANT TO?” Yes, this is a double negative. It’s important though because it identifies unhealthy, unwanted behaviors you've quit and are successfully keeping out of your life. Maybe you used to smoke or commute, you don’t anymore, and you never want to again. Maybe there was a toxic person in your life and you no longer spend time with him/her.
When you’re finished, circle your responses in Square 1 and 4.
Those are what I call your “Bill of RIGHTS.” They are what’s “right” with your life. They are contributing to your quality of life.
Be sure to protect what’s in Box 1. Schedule these activities into your calendar. Do not compromise them or let them slide out of your life when you get busy. They are the cornerstone to liking yourself and your life.
Be sure to keep out what’s in Box 4. Pema Chodron says, “Nothing ever really goes away until it teaches us what we need to learn.”
These are your lessons-learned. You have successfully removed these toxic activities or individuals from your life. Don’t let them creep back in.
Circle your answers in Square 2 and 3. That's what’s “wrong” with your life. That is what is compromising your quality of life.
Please note: none of us are perfect so we will probably always have at least one or two things “wrong” with our life - things we’re promising ourselves we’ll do differently … someday.
The question is, “HOW LONG?”
How long have you been doing these things you don’t want to do?
How long have you not been doing things you want to do?
John Foster Dulles said, "The mark of a successful organization isn't whether or not it has problems; it's whether it has the SAME problems it had last year."
The question is, “How long have these answers been in Box 2 and 3? And are they the same answers you’d give a year, or two, or three ago?”
Square 2 and 3 are where SOMEDAYS lurk.
These are priorities we keep telling ourselves we’re start or stop when we’re not quite so busy, when this project is finished, when we have more money, meet the right person, or the right set of circumstances show up.
The problem with that is, as Chuck Yeager says, "At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results."
If you want RESULTS at the end of your life - instead of reasons and regrets - you need to act on at least ONE THING in Square 2 and 3.
You may think, “But Sam, it's complicated. I have a lot of people counting on me. I’m kind of locked in. I don’t have the freedom to change things."
Yes you do. The good news is, you don't have to quit your job, abandon your responsibilities or come into a windfall to improve your quality of life.
All you have to do is DO LESS of something in Square 3 and it can free up time, energy and motivation to DO MORE of something in Square 2.
All you have to do is do ONE THING a week that puts the light on in your eyes, and it can compensate for having to do things the rest of the week that are not to your liking and are out of your control.
As Thomas Edison said, “There is always a better way to do something, find it.”
We don't need more time or money to be happier, we need more ingenuity.
A happier life doesn’t require a major life overhaul, it requires improving one thing each day so at the end of the day you look back and feel you did something you’re proud of and grateful for.
You might want to post your Happiness Box on your rerigerator where you'll see it every day as a reminder that your happiness is in your hands.
What will you do today your future self will thank you for?
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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and 3-time TEDx speaker, is on a mission to help people create the life of their dreams now, not someday. Her books have been featured in NY Times, on NPR, and presented to Intel, Capital One, Cisco, Nationwide, YPO and EO. Want Sam to share her inspiring keynote with your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com