If you want to feel happier and less stressed, you have to get specific about what it will take to get there.
That's the advice of former Google career coach and job strategist Jenny Blake, who has helped more than a thousand people improve their work lives. To get serious about living a better life, Blake recommends creating a happiness equation, or a list of ingredients that, when added together, help you prevent burnout and feel inspired.
Here's how to create your personal happiness equation:
1. List your ingredients
"Brainstorm a list of all the activities, all the ingredients that bring you joy," Blake tells CNBC.
Be specific and think about what you need on a daily basis. For example your list of activities may include, seeing friends, working out, eating well or working on a side project.
"What are the activities," she says, "where if you were to get these done in a given day or week, takes you 80 percent of the way toward feeling great?"
Blake emphasizes being happy 80 percent of the time, because while you don't want to be unrealistic and assume doing these activities will make you feel happy all of the time, you do want to aim high.
2. Design your routine
"Once you identify your must haves and you core ingredients," Blake says, "think about how you can systematize them and include them in your day-to-day and weekly routines."
For example, your equation might look like:
Happiness = Seeing a friend once a week + working out two times a week + going to bed by 10 p.m. + devoting 15 minutes each day to my side project.
Creating a routine is crucial because it makes your big goals manageable. According to behavioral psychologist and researcher Dan Ariely, the biggest reason why people don't achieve their goals is because they don't break them down into actionable steps.
"Block off non-negotiable time on your calendar," Blake says, "to make sure that all these things can get done."
And of course, if after a few weeks or months your happiness equation needs updating, adjust it.
"It's a great shortcut you can return to at any time," Blake says, "Ask yourself, 'What can I activate to turn [my life] around?'"
Check out why Blake says you should forget trying to find your one passion