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Inspiration to Change Your Life.


What is YOUR Joy Backbone?

I recently collaborated on a book called The Book on Joy, where 30 authors each share a story from their lives connected to joy. My chapter is all about the concept of having a Joy Backbone. This is a list of things that you can introduce into your life that are guaranteed to bring you joy. Similar to deciding what we want in our lives, knowing what brings us joy can be equally tricky, often because we don’t take the time to sit down and think about it.

Why do we need to know what brings us joy? Simply because if we are honest with ourselves and clear on what we enjoy doing, it is easier to make conscious choices that will increase the level of joy in our lives AND it really helps with setting your personal goals. I’ve had a version of ‘comfortably run XX km’ as a goal for a number of years. It was only recently that it dawned on me that I didn’t actually enjoy the running – it was the listening to Spanish music whilst running and enjoying the fresh air that actually gave me joy. Running has now been replaced with going to the gym and using the fabulous EGYM machines they have to help me achieve my ‘toned arms’ goal.

If your goals are linked to your personal joys, you will have more motivation and consequently be more likely to achieve your goals. So, sit down with a blank piece of paper and a pen and answer the question:

  • I always feel joyful when I’m…?

To help you, think about:

  • When did you experience the most joy in your life? What were you doing? Sometimes we need to review our life to tune into the things that have brought us joy in the past and could bring us joy in the future.

  • What brings you joy in your life now? What are you doing when you experience joy?

There is no limit to the number of joys but aim for at least five. Here are ten of my joys (in no particular order).


I always feel joyful when I’m…

  1. Working on collaborative projects.

  2. Shopping with friends and helping them choose outfits.

  3. Reading, especially personal development books and biographies.

  4. Doing a yoga class.

  5. Spending time with friends on a weekend break/holiday.

  6. Playing tennis (with someone at a similar level).

  7. Interacting with people through my work.

  8. Learning something new and taking courses (languages, psychology, technical skills).

  9. Spending an afternoon with a girlfriend chatting and reading magazines.

  10. Traveling and visiting/learning about new places.


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