The Happiness Project: A simple 12-month plan for living a more authentic, joyful life.

By Malissa Schwamm, Yoga Manager


Happiness is a state of being. Happiness is a choice. You can’t control everything that unfolds in your life, but choosing joy is a decision you can make in spite of the ups and downs.

Research indicates that you can train your brain to live in a more joyful state of being simply by writing down words of gratitude. Journaling is an exercise that involves the practice of expressing yourself through words. Capturing your thoughts, emotions and the events which occur in your daily life is fast becoming part of the self-care movement. Regardless of the frequency with which you write, the art of journaling has powerful health benefits. Writing helps get the mind “unstuck,” invites a renewed sense of clarity, relieves anxiety with , reduces stress, improves productivity, elevates mood and sharpens memory.

Writing your way to better health and happiness starts here and it couldn’t be easier. Here is a simple, manageable guideline from The Magnolia Journal, to get you started and to keep you on track throughout 2020. Whether you use an elegant, spiral or leather-bound journal or an inexpensive marble composition notebook, you can follow these monthly prompts to stay motivated:

January: Identify the hardest parts of last year through the lens of gratitude

February: Find one word defines what you want to focus on in 2020

March: Describe the best version of your true self

April: Identify obstacles that are holding you back from who you want to be

May: Who or what has given you the grace to be yourself

June: Write five positive affirmations about your life

July: When and where do you feel most free

August: Pen a note to someone you need to forgive

September: Own your mistakes and imperfections and commit to moving beyond them

October: What have you viewed negatively about yourself in the past that you now accept as a positive

November: What changed in you for the good this year?

December: Pen a note of encouragement to yourself about how far you’ve come over the past 12 months

To fill the spaces between each month, remind yourself how appreciative you are for this beautiful life you’ve been given. Fill in words or phrases that resonate for you.

  • I am -fearless, strong, beautiful, ready, enough
  • I will -accept myself for who I am, stand firm and be heard, let go of guilt
  • I can -do anything, choose the life of my dreams

What are you waiting for? Pick up a pen and begin your 2020 Happiness Project, a simple step toward a more joyful existence.