At Slate.com, Gretchen Rubin has a way for increasing her happiness that works for her:
[T]he fact is, if you want something to count in your life, it helps to figure out a way to count it. To put it another way, as one of my Secrets of Adulthood holds, “You manage what you measure.”
That’s one of the key reasons that my Resolutions Chart works so well. Setting myself a concrete task, and measuring each day whether I’m complying with it, makes me far more likely to stick to my resolution.
Difficult-to-measure resolutions like “Find more joy in life” or “Be present in the moment” are tougher to keep than “Once a week, make plans with friends” or “Don’t use my iPod when I’m walking to work.” It’s hard to tell whether you’re getting more joy out of life, but it’s easy to score yourself on keeping a weekly outing with friends.
In my own case, with my workaholic tendencies, I realized that if I didn’t measure certain values in my life, I’d neglect them. My friends like to make fun of my paradoxical resolutions like “Force myself to wander” or “Schedule time for play,” but if I don’t put these things on my calendar and score myself on my Resolutions Chart, I just won’t do them.
Her “Resolution Chart” is a little Ben Franklin style card (inspired from his Autobiography) in which Rubin checks off whether she did something that day (or not).