We caught up with Mo Seetubtim, founder of The Happiness Planner, who tells us more about it and her inspiration behind it.

Mo writes about modern life wisdoms (you can find her posts on her blog, brandmentalist.com) and regularly contributes to the Healthy Living section of The Huffington Post. The Happiness Planner is an undated 100-day planner that helps you to focus on what makes you happy. The dated 2016 edition will be available in September/October. Buy yours here!

What’s the story behind your own, Brand Mentalist, and how did it lead to The Happiness Planner?

I started BrandMentalist a few years ago initially as a place to store inspirational quotes and wisdom I came across. I thought what I found inspiring could also inspire other people too. Then I started writing. And then the blog just grew. I started receiving a lot of emails from people telling me how inspiring my blog is to them. So, as I started getting a fan base, I tried to think of a way to turn my passion for inspiring others and self-development into a business. The idea came about when I asked my readers what they wanted me to write about. A lot of them replied and said they wanted to learn how they could become more positive and happier. So this came about the idea for The Happiness Planner – a product that can be integrated into people’s lives and helps people welcome more joy into their every day life.

How did you define the main topics of the happiness planner ?

Basically it’s something that is missing in the market. And I want to inspire people to strive to be the best they can be and find happiness from within. There are a few key things one needs to master in order to become happier. That includes positive thinking, mindfulness, gratitude, self-awareness, and self-development. So I listed all of these things down, started structuring them and turned them into The Happiness Planner.

How can the planner impact your life on a daily basis?

The Happiness Planner starts with a little exercise in the beginning to help people understand themselves better. They will get to think about what makes them happy and unhappy, what qualities they want to improve on, what habits they want to change, and things they want to achieve in life. By answering these questions, you will be inspired to integrate the answers into your daily life over the next 100 days or 12 months (depending on the edition). This will affect you in how you plan your days – you will do more of what makes you happy and start working on removing or changing what doesn’t make you happy. Our daily pages also contain cues that encourage positive affirmations and gratitude – people will get to think about the good things that happened that day and also what they hope for tomorrow. Moreover, we also have a little section for Exercises and Meals on top of the typical Schedule and To-Dos. So people can really consciously plan their days and weeks with the focus on their health and well-being above all else. The most interesting bit of all is probably the weekly reflection where you get to evaluate your emotions and energy level. You will get to reflect on the things that happened – positive and negative. Most importantly, you will learn to look at the positive side of the negative thing that happened because everything comes into your life to teach you something.

So The Happiness Planner is really a positive daily reminder. It’s like a life coach that sits in your handbag or on your desk.

When did you first get hooked on self-development?

Probably when I was in high school. My dad bought me a lot of self-development books and even though I didn’t fully get what all those wisdoms meant at the time, they inspired me and sparked my interest in psychology. I also had a hard time growing up with my mother because she was very strict and negative (she’s better now though). So in order to deal with that especially in managing my own emotions and how I coped with conflicts, I had to learn to understand people.

My dad is a huge inspiration to me in this. Every time I was upset about something, he would show me  a different perspective – a self-development point of view. For example, when I wanted a toy I couldn’t have right away, he would tell me to wait. Of course, I didn’t want to wait. But he said, “you have to learn to be patient. It’s an art you need to master because it’s important in life”. Another example is when i had a fight with my mom. My dad would say , “your mom has been this way for 40 years, she’s not going to change. However, you’re still young and you can still change your attitude in how you deal with situations.”

Even though I moved to Australia when I was 19 for college, what I learned from Dad has stuck by me since and it’s become a huge part of who I am which I have transferred the passion on to my blog, BrandMentalist.com.

Any book that initiated you to this path?

Probably Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Affective People. I really loved that book. It gave me a paradigm shift even though I did not fully understand everything at 15. There are also other books I love which were given to me by my father i.e. Staying OK, The Magic of Thinking Big, The Tipping Point, etc.

What’s the key to happiness for you?

To me, there are a few keys to happiness. If one can master all of these, then one can live a happy life.

(1) Positivity – the ability to look at the positive in every situation – even find joy in being stuck in traffic or waiting in line for something – it teaches you to stay calm and be patient, you know.

(2) Resilience – the ability to bounce back from set backs and the ability to accept failure and the fact that some of your goals might not been reached and be happy with the results.

(3) Simplicity – the ability to find joy from simple things. By simple things I mean, free and affordable things like helping other people, going to the beach, looking at the beautiful sunset, drinking your favorite cup of tea, playing the guitar, exercising, and reading your favorite book.

(4) Gratitude – Feel thankful for what you have and appreciate the good things in life.

(5) Mindfulness – Live in the moment. Avoid worrying too much about the future or thinking too much about the past. Enjoy and appreciate the present moment.