Now. How. Wow: A three-step, two-minute happiness habit

Obstacles have a way of becoming all-consuming — dominating your thoughts and energy from sunrise to sundown. When that happens, strategies that allow you to take a step back and gain some valuable perspective can be a big help.

That’s why I love happiness hacks — quick, easy habits that set you on a positive track for the day, give you a dopamine hit or snap you out of a momentary funk after getting up on the wrong side of the bed. I’ve come up with a three-step, two-minute daily happiness habit I like to call “Now How Wow.” Here’s how it works…

NOW — A grounding exercise to put you on solid footing

Pick a colour, any colour. Now spend the next 30 seconds or so making a mental inventory of everything around you containing that colour. (Essentially, it’s “eye spy” with no wrong answers.)

I’m amazed how quickly and effectively this grounding exercise gets me out of my head and brings my attention back to the moment and my surroundings. It slows the flurry of thoughts pinging around my brain, calms me down and makes the day ahead feel less stressful.

HOW — A daily intention to focus your approach to the day

After finding every red or green item in your backyard or office, ask yourself this question: “How do I want to be today?”

This exercise isn’t about identifying what you want to accomplish or what’s on your to-do list. Instead, it’s an opportunity to be intentional about the attitude or energy you’d like to bring to the day.

For example, you might want to approach the day with a patient or productive mindset. Maybe it’s setting a goal to be kinder to your co-worker. Or more outspoken at the weekly Zoom meeting.

Whatever it is, making a conscious decision about how you want to act as a person can be a great way to add direction and focus to the day.

WOW — A moment of gratitude

Finally, count your blessings. Simply take a moment to reflect on two or three things you’re grateful for. Because the world is full of stressful jobs, scary pandemics and stupid jerks who cut you off on the highway. Reminding yourself of the awesome things in your life can be a powerful mood booster.


Three steps. Two minutes. One easy way to rev up your day. To help make the habit stick, piggyback it with another one you’ve already established — like while you’re brushing your teeth or driving to work.

Give it a try. And if it works for you, add it to your repertoire of other happiness hacks that make life a little better.

More stories from the Overcoming Obstacles Handbook


Lessons learned from leukemia

More life lessons

Cancer reminded me that life is the greatest teacher of all. The following stories share obstacle-busting lessons from some of life’s other awesome and absurd moments — from sleeping in a barn to multiple run-ins with Bill Clinton’s bodyguards to nearly driving a car off a cliff.