Read any self-help book or motivational blog and you soon discover that at the heart of the human condition is a core search for happiness.

There appears to be a mythical contentment that we all crave to feel with many of us spending large amounts of money as we chase the promise of feeling happier.

Ready for the truth?.. It doesn’t exist.  I mean, ongoing happiness (with ups and downs) is 100% achievable. However, it is my belief that the human race will never be competely content.  

Will our species ever stop striving to achieve greatness? Ever stop chasing goals?  Dreams?  

Nobody has everything they want and need

And neither do you. And that’s ok. Because what you need and want is forever changing.  And so it should. 

We are a species that is constantly evolving, becoming better, living longer and smarter. We want to be challenged and tested.

11 challenges to feeling happier

So, here are my 11 challenges for you.  Accept the challenge, pick up the gauntlet, take up the cudgels – whatever rocks your world.

All of these steps will, I believe, help you to live a happier life.

1. Wake up grateful.  

I’m sure we all think we wake up grateful, but have you ever actually taken note of the first thing you think about when you wake up?  Is it how much you don’t want to go to work?  To not have to get out of bed or maybe you don’t want to have to wake the kids up and make their lunches?  

Try this instead as the first thing you do when you wake up tomorrow:

Roll over and pick up the notepad and pen you placed beside your bed the night before.

Write down three things in your life that you are grateful for.

The key here is to do this every morning without repeating any of your gratitudes for 7 consecutive days.  

A few examples most of us take for granted could be:

  • The car that gets you to wherever you want to go, everyday
  • The roof over your head
  • The food in your belly whenever you need it
  • Your job- you may not love it all the time, but jeez at least you have one

Start the day grateful and go to bed feeling happier than you did the day before.

2. Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night.

Studies have shown that sleep is ranked higher for achieving your goals than nutrition.  Let that sink in.  How much, and the quality of sleep you have, is more important than what you put into your mouth!  Woahh!!

Go to bed at the same time every night, wake up at the same time every day.  This will help you create a good routine. And if you’d more important advice on how to get a decent night’s sleep, see here.

3. Exercise daily

You knew this was coming. I’m a personal trainer, I obviously promote training!  

I’m not even going to list the benefits, just move your body (intentionally) for at least 30 minutes, everyday and you’ll start feeling happier – I promise!

4. Drink more water

You don’t have to go over the top. Just aim for a little more each day/week.  If you struggle to drink 1 litre, aim for 1.5, don’t go straight to 3, as you should increase your intake gradually.  

Slowly up your water consumption and you will also avoid the dreaded night-time visits to the bathroom too.

5. Eat more vegetables

You’ve heard this one your whole life.  If you have to sneak them into your meals, just do it.

Homegrown organic produce on wooden cutting board outdoors with greenery in the background. Feeling happier can come from eating more vegetables.

Again, I’m not going to list the benefits.  You know these bad boys are good for you.

6. Cull your circle

Those you associate with the most are those who influence your life and your decisions more than anyone.  

If you want to quit drinking but hang out with a bunch of heavy drinkers every weekend, you’re gonna have a bad time quitting the alcohol.  Associate with those who you are heading on the same path as you!

7. Be a little selfish

I always ask my clients who are mothers, how can you take care of your kids, husband, run the household, etc if you don’t take care of you first?!  

Seriously, take at least an hour, every day, for you. Remember that feeling happier will make you a better mum, wife, friend, etc.

8. Quality time, not quantity

Give yourself, wholeheartedly, to whatever and whoever you are with at that exact moment.  If you are at work, work. At uni, be present in your lecture.  At home, play with your kids (or partner), not focus on your phone.  

At the gym, focus on self improvement and don’t obsess about the amount of errands you have to run when you leave.

9. Set goals

Fitness goals, saving goals, work goals, travel goals, set specific goals for all of your wants.

What do you want from your life – apart from feeling happier?! Talk to your partner, colleagues, friends, Mum, etc.  

Whoever you want to achieve stuff with, talk to them, ask them if they want to go to Machu Picchu with you. Find out how much it will cost, figure out how much you need to save every week then, work out the total time it will take you to save.  Boom – Book your damn dream trip. 

What’s life without things to look forward too?

10. Be nice to people

Are you a road rager?  A shopping centre crazy?  Or just an “I hate people” person?  Stop it.  Get over yourself.  Nobody you’ve ever met (or not met) deserves your stink eye.  

The lady who poured your coffee that had a line up of a dozen people before you doesn’t need you to be all shitty with her because it took 10 minutes to get your cup of magic. You have no idea what people are going through.  

So instead of being an a-hole, crack a smile and say “I hope you have a great day”. 🙂

If you need more convincing that you feeling happier is directly linked to how you treat others, please see here.

11. Back yourself!

My favourite.  You are you.  No one else in the world is even like you.  You need to own who you are, what you want and accept that you are worthy and that you are good enough.  Stop blaming.  You got this.


I hope this helps anyone, even just one person who reads it! Stay strong.

At the end of the day, feeling happier and good about yourself is all in your own hands.

This post was submitted by Amanda W, a CrossFit instructor on the Sunshine Coast. It is one of a series of articles from guest writers who have something that they wish to get off their chest.

If you have an issue or opinion that you want to air in these pages please do get in touch.