Tim Ferriss proposes in The 4-Hour Work Week:
“Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all.”
Happiness is a vague and unreliable beacon, forever dangling in the distance; excitement is the quality that nourishes us. Excitement takes many forms beyond its initial high-energy connotation. It might be action, thrill, a sense of danger; it can also be deep focus, sublime tranquility, flow.
Excitement is often born from novelty, but a more precise word would be contrast.
This is why purchases don’t imbue a sense of lasting satisfaction. There’s the initial rush of excitement, while you are able to clearly contrast life-before-the-thing and life-after. As time passes, you lose the contrast. You just have life-with-the-thing.
This is why travel lingers high on many people’s lists of happiness-inducing exercises. The contrast.
Also, cleaning an apartment, taking a new job, etc. The contrast.
We usually speak of creating lasting change in order to improve our lives. A more effective aim is to create frequent change.