I love writing things down – in a notebook, with a pen 🙂 – and I still have the notebook in which I wrote down the first idea of what I wanted Happier to do:
“Help people be happier. Encourage them to do more of what makes them happier. Inspire them to improve different parts of their lives without feeling pressured to make dramatic changes. Make improving your life something that’s fun to do, not a chore.”
I remember how excited I was at the opportunity to build a company that could do this. (Also intimidated at the challenge of doing it — getting people to change behavior is insanely difficult and promising someone that we will make them happier sets a really high bar.) We decided that we would start with a simple, fun, and social mobile application to encourage people to notice, appreciate, and share small everyday moments that made them happier. Thousands of scientific studies have shown that practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to feel more positive, optimistic, and less stressed, and even has important health benefits like improved sleep and reduced anxiety.
We released our iPhone app in February of 2013 and wow, we’ve been blown away by the response from our users. We’ve gotten thousands of emails, cards, and even hand-written letters from people all over the world, telling us how Happier has changed their lives for the better, inspired them to become more grateful, positive, optimistic, and significantly less stressed. There is a lot still to do and every day we are working hard to make the Happier experience more awesome, easier to use, and more engaging, and we are fueled by knowing that we are on our path to building something that can truly positively impact people’s lives.
Almost from the day we launched we started hearing from many of our users that while they enjoy using Happier, they would like more guidance from us to help them develop a more grateful mindset. They told us their lives are busy and they don’t have time to go read some of the books and research that inspired Happier or that while they would love to improve certain areas of their life, they aren’t quite sure about how to do it. We had always envisioned one day extending the Happier platform to offer more guided experience so hearing this feedback encouraged us to think about this even more.
And today I am psyched, thrilled, and excited to announce that we’re launching Happier Courses! Our vision is to create interactive, mobile, 1 to 3 week courses that combine daily activities, inspiring videos and other content to help people learn and practice new ways to become happier and healthier. We will work with leading wellness and lifestyle experts to bring their expertise to our users in a brand-new interactive format. Happier Courses will never be preachy or boring — we want them to be something you want to do instead of something you feel you need to do. And we are designing them to fit into your busy life because we believe that improving your life should be something you do while you’re living it. (We are working on courses in everyday meditation, improving your dating mojo, a personal style makeover, and more that we will be launching in the next few months – so get excited:)
Our first course is Everyday Grateful and it’s taught by yours truly. It’s a 21-day interactive course to help you develop a more grateful mindset and start on a path to feeling more positive, less stressed out, and more optimistic. More than 11,000 studies have shown the positive impact of gratitude on your outlook and health and that science is the foundation of the course. It’s been incredibly fun to design and I’ll go as far as to confidently say that I think it’s as fun as it is meaningful. (Oh, and it comes with our limited-edition Make Your Life Happier Kit!)
Everyday Grateful kicks off on January 6th (you’ll be able to sign up at any time after that as well, but January 6th will be the first day) and we timed it this way for a reason. New Year is when many of us make resolutions and we wanted to inspire you to make a Gratitude Resolution: to find something or someone to appreciate and feel grateful for every single day in 2014. I hope you’ll give this a shot and if you do, I can promise you that it will change your life. Becoming more grateful and appreciative of the small things and experiences I encounter every day and expressing thanks to people in my life changed my life a few years ago and inspired me to start Happier. It’s so simple and yet so incredibly powerful.
Happy New Year and here’s to a more awesome — and grateful! – 2014!