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Ever heard of the Holstee Manifesto? It’s a bit commercialized, but there’s also something powerful about it. Holstee’s founders created it as their company’s mantra in case they ever got stuck in their work or “found themselves living according to someone else’s definition of happiness.”

The Holstee Manifesto © 2009 Holstee.com. Get your own poster here.

Whose definition of happiness is most at play in your own life? Did you know there’s actually a Happiness Research Institute that studies nothing but—you guessed it—happiness? And that some scientists have created a mathematical formula for happiness? Pretty cool.

All of the research basically boils down to this: Happiness is not a destination that is reached, where life is always happy once you get there. Nope. Happiness, like all other emotions, comes and goes.

So how can you have more of it?

DO THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY. The more things you do that make you happy, the happier you will be.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Maybe it’s easier said than done, but it is possible. You’ve had years of practice living your life the way it is right now, so making a change to be more happy-driven takes some time to adjust to and practice. That’s okay.

The important thing is to start.

One way you can keep track of how much happiness you’re adding to your days—and make plans for more happiness—is with a calendar. It might feel overwhelming to think about how to add more happiness-making activities to your life; you might feel like you don’t have the time or energy to add anything at all, or—alternately—you might be tempted to start so many things at once that it quickly becomes too much.

Enter the calendar.

Using a calendar to brainstorm and plan things that will bring more happiness into your life is a great practice. You can use any calendar, from a day planner to a wall calendar to an online calendar to a piece of paper on your fridge. Or you can use a coloring calendar or a goal-oriented planner. The idea is to use this calendar to keep track of nothing but happy-making things. These things are different for everyone. They could include:

  • Music you want to listen to or play
  • Dates you want to make with friends
  • Recipes you want to cook
  • Creative classes or workshops you want to take
  • Movies or shows you want to see
  • Thrift store finds you want to seek out
  • Time you want to spend with pets—your own or friends’
  • Naps you want to take
  • Outdoor activities you want to do

The visual effect of a calendar like this is incredible. You get to see how much you plan to do just for yourself and your happiness—which, in and of itself, could make you happier already. It also allows you to make sure that you don’t over-schedule—or under-schedule—yourself.

Want to try your hand at your own calendar? Here’s a sample one with lots of ideas to get you started: Download a sample calendar

Now you try!

Download a blank calendar from the zine.

Courtesy The Quotepedia

You don’t have to buy an expensive calendar. Inexpensive calendars can usually be found at thrift stores or in the clearance section of box stores. Or you could make your own. Check out these seven awesome and creative DIY calendar ideas.

Remember, happiness is in the journey of doing what you love.

Want more ideas like this? Check out FORGE’s self-paced and cool and FREE artist’s zine.