Maybe you can’t live without a to-do list. But you will live happier if you (also) have a fun-was-had calendar to celebrate and promote doing more of what makes you happier. You deserve it!
Too Busy to Have Fun
You’re probably all familiar with this. You’ve done a simple fun thing that made you feel happier, like go for a walk or watch a sunset. Afterwards, you say to yourself: I really should do this more often.
But then… “life just gets in the way”. There’s never enough time to just sit and watch the sunset… or you’re too tired from another long day to go for a walk. Yes, yes, we’re all so very busy. But as we complain, we secretly celebrate how busy, i.e., how important we feel. Well, you ARE important, but your happiness is just as important as all the “to-do-list things” you’re so busy with.
Maybe you’re ambitious enough to look at your crowded calendar and say “I’ll pencil in” this fun thing over there. But then doesn’t this fun thing turn into just another “to-do” item on your calendar? Ugh, so much to do! The pressure! Well, I can always not do that fun thing I penciled in…
Guess what? Putting pressure on yourself does NOT make you happier. Oftentimes, it just makes you feel guilty or like a failure. So what to do?
Introducing the Fun-Was-Had Calendar
A few years ago, we realized that all of our “too busy” or “too tired” kept us from doing things that could’ve made us happier. And we found ourselves to be rather unhappy.
We needed a change! But what we didn’t need was another “to-do” list. Instead, we wanted positive reinforcement: a way to acknowledge and celebrate having done fun things and thus inspire more.
So we hung up a monthly wall calendar in the middle of our home and started our first fun-was-had calendar. And yes, in the years since that day, we’ve done so many more things that make us happier!
How a Fun-Was-Had Calendar works
The basic steps of having your own fun-was-had calendar are so simple:
- Get a monthly calendar that allows you to add notes to individual days.
- Put the calendar where you see it every day.
- Write on the calendar whatever you did that made you happier (after you’ve done it).
- Rejoice in the memory of fun activities and feel inspired to do more.
Additional tips and recommendations
Of course, we recommend you use one of our Happier Place Nature Photography Calendars . Naturally, you don’t have to get our calendar… but ours has extra inspiring slogans and images… So why wouldn’t you?
If you use a monthly calendar already for appointments, don’t turn it into a double-duty calendar for appointments AND fun-was-had notes. It’s important that you don’t muddle fun with your to-do’s – or the whole idea of “positive reinforcement encouraging fun” won’t work. So make room in your home (or office) for two separate calendars.
Don’t put anything on this calendar before you’ve done it. This isn’t about “scheduling fun”. This is about “having fun” and marking it on the calendar in celebration of the experience you had.
The act of adding something to the calendar you’ve already done will fill you with the joy of happy memories.
Yes, an empty calendar will probably encourage you to say: hey, it’s been a while since I/we have done something just for fun… let’s go for a quick walk right now. That’s great. But it shouldn’t make you feel stressed about having to do fun things. It’s supposed to be a gentle reminder to be good to yourself. You deserve to have fun and do things that make you happier. So celebrate it when you do them, don’t chastise yourself when you can’t.
Obviously, it’s up to you what kinds of activities you list on your calendar. We recommend activities that brought you joy, anything that took you out into nature, was something totally new, or simply kept you off the couch. Of course, if spending an evening on the couch is something special to you that made you happier, then by all means, add it to your fun-was-had calendar.
We hope that keeping a fun-was-had calendar will bring proactive and positive change to your life by you encouraging yourself to do more of what makes you happier. It worked for us!
On that note, we do think that such a calendar works great for couples. It’s a good way to celebrate time spent with one another, to inspire the next fun activity and to help avoid taking each other for granted.
The fact that we kept recommending a fun-was-had calendar to friends so often, is one of the reasons we wanted to launch something like Happier Place – to share our Happier Life tips and hacks.
To inspire people to keep their own fun-was-had calendar, we took it one step further and published our very own calendar for 2018… and then another Happier Place nature photography calendar for 2019.
Read more about the 2019 Happier Place monthly wall calendar: 12 Months of Nature – The 2019 Happier Place Calendar.
UPDATE: The 2020 Happier Place Wall Calendar is now available in our shop.
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16 thoughts on “A Happier Year with a Fun-Was-Had Calendar (vs. a To-Do List)”
You are lovely and inspiring. I will definitely use this methods from now in 2019. Thanks for sharing a lot.
I love this idea! I would rather have a calendar filled with all the fun things instead of making a to do list. I will have to try this out this coming year.
This sounds really great. This is what I really needed. Perfect to start the year. I think this is more useful that a to-do list.
Love reading that! I hope you give the fun-was-had calendar idea a try. And please report back if you do.
Now I really like the set up to this. I bought a 2019 planner because one of my goals was to be more organize and actually remember to get things done on a timely manner
Good luck with being more organized and getting it all done in a timely manner in 2019. The idea of a fun-was-HAD calendar is a bit different because it’s more of an after-the-fact journal. Hope you have some outdoor fun this coming year, too.
This looks WAY better than a to-do list for sure! I would definitely consider doing this for my family.
… and it’s a lot more fun. If you do try this for you and your family, let us know how it worked out. We’ve been keeping a calendar like this up on our wall every year since 2013 – and it keeps inspiring us to have more outdoor fun.
This idea is so cool…never thought of doing it this way on a calendar. Thank you for sharing!
Great to share a new idea with you. Thank you for your comment!
I love this idea. I’m always so busy that sometimes it feels like there aren’t many fun moments but this is a great reminder if I can be consistent with using the calendar
Glad you love the idea. It works for me exactly the way you describe: too many blank spots in the calendar is a good motivation to go outside and/or have some fun. You know you deserve the break.
We gave planned a game night and remember a day or two later and the opportunity has gone. Having it marked down would give us a better chance on keeping the activity. We use a calendar for all our other appointments and activities and it almost always works.
While I think having a calendar listing fun things you want to do ahead of time can also be great and might really encourage you to stick to your game night… this article is actually about an opposite approach: only add fun things you did after the fact to the calendar (kind of like a journal), so you can see and celebrate the fun things you did. And if the calendar remains blank: it’s a reminder to make time to do something fun. You deserve it!
Wonderful idea & inspiration to do Happy Things.
Thank you for saying so, Ellie. We’re glad you like the idea.