8 Easy Steps To Be Happy

I get asked all the time how I live my life.  How many times a week do I exercise?  What type of food do I eat? In essence, what do I do to be happy? I’ve culled some of the major points below.  Do I follow my own advice all the time, um, no … but I do try.   What it really comes down to is applying the Golden Rule to yourself.

The Nuts & Bolts

1.  Divide up your plate. Eat a meal that’s 50% fruits and/or veggies, 25% starch and 25% protein.  This will almost guarantee that you’ll get the right nutrients and not too many calories.  Some of my clients have just followed this rule for successful weight loss.

2.  Exercise most days of the week. The National Weight Registry, a huge ongoing research study, suggests you move most days of the week.  This means light exercise like walking and gardening.  More aggressive exercise is strongly encouraged like running, group exercise classes and basketball.

3.  If you need to lose weight  ~ Journal. You’ll lose weight a lot faster if you write down what you’re eating.  It can be as simple as a pen and notebook or as elaborate as an online program like Weight Watchers.  Whatever works best for you is what you should use.  You’ll think twice about eating a handful of Oreo cookies if you have to write it down.

4.  Know your daily caloric needs.  Here’s a general rule of thumb; for women multiply your weight by 11, for men multiply your weight by 13.  That’s your approximate calorie needs to maintain your weight if you do zero activity.  Add 200 to 500 calories (depending on how sedentary you are) to maintain your weight.

The Really Important Stuff

5.  Rest. We are so busy with our lives, running from one activity to the next. Program downtime into your week to relax and unplug.  We simply can’t keep the going, going, going pace forever.  Eventually the stress will build up and we’ll wind up with weight problems and worse medical issues.  Learn how to chill.

6.  Play.  Don’t forget to play, whatever that means to you.  Go to the park with your kids, go out to dinner with friends, challenge your spouse to a rousing game of Scrabble.  Whatever it is that’s fun for you, make sure you do it at least a few times a week.

7.  Eat Well.  Avoid processed food, embrace organics, eat real food.  As humans, we are all designed to run on high quality gas.  If we put in the cheap stuff we get pinging in our engines and sometimes the engine will even fail.  Treat your body well.

8. Cherish your connections.  Your friends and family are the best reasons to be on the planet.  Spending time with them, being there for them.  Being your true, silly self around people you know and love is incredibly healing, energizing and restorative.   Make plans a few times a month to be with people you love and just hang out.  By the way it’s easy to add some playtime in here.

So that’s what I try to do.  What do you do to be happy? Would love some feedback.

Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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18 Responses to 8 Easy Steps To Be Happy

  1. Jill April 9, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    Great post!! I would add under determining your caloric need that one should use their ideal weight vs actual weight (if looking to lose weight) to come up with the calories needed at rest:)

  2. Lisa Johnson April 10, 2010 at 1:29 am #

    Jill, I like this strategy and I’ve used it myself. It’s a graceful way to float your weight down to the right place :-) thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Neil Wood April 11, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    Lisa, I hope more people follow your 8 tips to Happiness.
    I consider these daily Habits. Over the months and years, our habits “add-up” to something positive or negative in our life.
    You have simplified the Happiness formula to easy to follow habits that will lead to a healthier and happier life ~

    Thank you for sharing ~

    Neil Wood, Sunset Bay ~ Hull, Massachusetts

  4. Hauke Borow April 11, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    Hi Jill,

    I like your post because it emphasizes the small things you can implement into your daily grind in order to become a happier human being.

    I guess it would be a great idea to add “less perfectionism”.

    Nowadays people tend to be so perfect that their expectations and requirements are nearly unaccomplishable.

    So I think we should rather concentrate and focus on what we still have and learn how to be pleased with that.

    Yours,
    Hauke

    http://www.haukeborow.org

  5. Heather Bestel April 11, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    Great post, I particularly like #5 & #8 I find the less stress I have, the happier I am. And one of the nicest ways to lessen stress is to play with your friends. Thanks Lisa x

  6. webazony April 11, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    hi lisa.
    great post! in addition to this i would say no.9 should be: Spend time with kids. There’s no other better way to feel like a child again, get creative and pump up your heart with joy and happiness.

  7. Heather Claus April 11, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    It’s amazing how simple all of this yet, yet how not-easy for so many.

    Brilliant summary, Lisa!

  8. Lisa Johnson April 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    Neil, you’re right a little bit of good here and little bit more good there adds up to being in a really good place. When I was in college and dating I’d date a not-so great guy but then the next guy would be better (although still not-so great) my friends and I called it the upward spiral.

    We were learning as we went to choose better for ourselves. In this example, I would up with a great husband (@wymer) and we’ve been married for 10.5 years. Thanks for sharing,

    BTW, I’m opening a studio in your neck of the woods next month. http://ModernPilatesBoston.com :-)

    Lisa

  9. Lisa Johnson April 11, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Heather & Heather & Webazony,

    Thanks for the comments, I like the idea of having kids as a separate category, as long as they’re in a good mood! ;-)

    I do believe our lives in connection make us the happiest. We should always be moving towards that, a combination of self-love/self-care and spending time with loved ones.

    Be well,

    Lisa

  10. veterinary technician April 13, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    What a great resource!

  11. K9 Coach April 14, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    Rockin’ post Lisa :)

    Such great things to remind ourselves of everyday. Lately I have cut out alcohol. Like totally. WOW! What a difference.

    I probably won’t be a complete non-alcoholic person forever, BUT it makes it easier to limit it or just not order the glass of wine cause you are out to a casual dinner with friends if you don’t feel like it.

    Mineral water is a good thing ;)

  12. K9 Coach April 16, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    Such an absolutely great post.

    I’ve pretty much always been fit, but recently while heading into the mid part of the “40′s” I noticed the trim part of me was gaining a tire.

    What made the difference in removing that tire? A food journal. Seriously I thought I was eating well. I was not. Ridiculous calories that I somehow shoved off as “well I exercise”. So take not of this one write it down. You’ll be amazed at what you actually eat and how it changes when you see it written down in front of you.

    Rest. Play. Cherish your connections. Huge. Wag more. Feel good.

    Thanks Lisa

  13. Chris April 24, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    Love the post Lisa. Good common sense. If we only could have the discipline to follow these. I believe you are so very right.

  14. Lisa Johnson April 24, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    Chris, I’m trying to practice what I preach too L– :-)

  15. Tara burner July 14, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    I don’t get stressed about things just do what I can give the rest to god to deal with. Spend time in prayer and meditation along with working out and doing whatever my teen is willing to do with me leadsnto happiness too

  16. Jon Benson July 26, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    Yes, your formula will work to make a person happy and healthy.
    Thanks for sharing.

  17. Lisa Johnson July 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    Thanks Jon :-)

  18. live cricket streaming July 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    I don’t get stressed about things just do what I can give the rest to god to deal with. Spend time in prayer and meditation along with working out and doing whatever my teen is willing to do with me leadsnto happiness too

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