The Happy Checklist

The Happy Checklist

"I urge you to please notice when you are happy." - Kurt Vonnegut

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As I entered 2019, I knew that I wanted to set goals for myself that were achievable within a year but also would force me to leap out of my comfort zone. During 2018, I felt like I had set so many goals that by February 1st, 50 percent of them had already gone down the drain. I remember feeling disappointed for a lot of 2018 that I wasn't doing enough in all aspects of my life. I wanted to be a better friend, a better daughter, a better girlfriend, all while putting myself, mental health, and physical health first. Instead of succeeding in these areas, I convinced myself that because I had already failed at so many things on my list of resolutions, I wasn't worthy of succeeding elsewhere.

I knew that to be successful in 2019, I needed to take on a completely different approach. I began listening to podcasts for learning purposes rather than entertainment. I researched famous entrepreneurs, successful women, life coaches, and people who just had their shit together for tips and tricks on how they were successful day in and day out. I studied morning routines, nighttime routines, meditation techniques, healthy habits, and mentorships to learn how these people lived their day to day lives.

I was driving back to school to begin the second semester of my junior year and I came across a podcast talking about overcoming hardships and conflicts. She was explaining how, whenever she starts to feel sad and overwhelmed she goes through a mental checklist called, The Happy Checklist. The Happy Checklist is a list of things that make an individual happy, no matter the mood they may be in. She explained that whenever she feels stressed or sad, she runs through the checklist to find things to make her feel at peace. If she has crossed off all the things on the list and still feels sad, she allows herself to feel that way, acknowledging that it is okay. She found that, by the time she got through her checklist, she couldn't even remember why she was sad in the first place, and it ultimately changed her mood as her day progressed resulting in days filled with joy and positivity rather than negativity.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I began running through my head to create my Happy Checklist. I developed a list of eight things and typed them in my notes on my phone and on my computer. Now, whenever I feel stressed with schoolwork, upset about a relationship in my life, or just sad, I run through the list and I can honestly say it has changed my life for the better. I encourage you to create your own Happy Checklist and use it in your daily life when times get tough, I promise it will prove worthwhile.

My Happy Checklist

1. Read Jesus Calling
2. Workout
3. Call my mom or boyfriend
4. Meditate (Try the app Headspace!)
5. Listen to a Motivational Podcast
6. Buy my favorite coffee (Vanilla latte with almond milk & cinnamon)
7. Blast some John Mayer
8. Paint my nails or do a facemask #self-care

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.
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It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Top 10 Easiest And Most Effective Ways To Increase Protein In Your Diet

Hitting the gym, eating healthy, and not seeing results? Let's fix that.

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Protein is a vital part of any good diet. It'll bring out those changes you work so hard for in the gym, but it's definitely hard to incorporate in every meal. Here are some easy and tasty ways to pack your meals with more protein and see results for all your hard work:

1. Remember that breakfast is just as important as dinner.

Breakfast can be difficult to make a high protein meal because, most the time, you're rushing in the morning. But, if you focus on incorporating some foods that'll increase the amount of protein in your breakfast, you'll see significant changes. Foods like greek yogurt, eggs, and protein powder in your coffee are small changes that can make a big difference.

2. Supplements.

Although a lot of people hesitate to use diet supplements, protein powder can be effective for anyone struggling to reach the amount they need daily (which is most people). If you look at protein powder as a tool and not a 'quick fix' to adding protein, you'll find it extremely helpful. You can add it to yogurt, smoothies, pancake mix, and even your morning coffee!

3. Make every snack a protein snack.

Make it your goal that when you snack, you're having a protein snack! My personal favorites include greek yogurt parfaits, protein chips, protein bars, hard boiled eggs, or beef jerky!

4. If you don't track your protein intake, try it out.

Tracking how much protein you consume in a day can help you figure out how much more you need to add to your diet, as well as where you need to work on incorporating it the most.

5. Include a high protein source in every dinner.

Chicken, salmon, beef, tofu, etc...

Whatever you choose as a protein source, try to incorporate it into your dinner as much as possible. In the mood for pasta? Add chicken or beef to your pasta for protein.

6. Pair peanut butter with fruit.

Having a banana? Add some peanut butter to it for added protein. But, beware, too much peanut butter can significantly increase caloric intake! So measure, measure, measure if you're aiming to be in a caloric deficit!

7. Buy or make a big, protein-packed salad for one of your meals.

A whole lotta greens with protein-packed toppings is a great way to have a high protein, low carb meal! Choose the right toppings, a high protein source, and a healthier dressing, and you'll see that a salad can leave you full and satisfied for a while.

8. Choose protein enriched food when eating out.

Going out to eat with friends or family? Try your best to opt for a high protein entree! For example, choose egg whites with sausage when out to breakfast instead of french toast or pancakes.

9. Meal prep!

Sometimes it's hard to get enough protein because you might just not have enough time to prep it and add it to a meal! However, if you meal prep for the week when able to, it'll make life a lot easier. Something as simple as cooking a lot of chicken Sunday night to use throughout the week can be extremely helpful!

10. Utilize seeds!

Adding hemp, chia, or flaxseeds into your diet can give you an extra amount of protein that could go a long away although seemingly small. Add them to protein smoothies or on top of a salad!

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