I wanted to do the #100happydays challenge but I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do it so I put it off. Yes, I know, I’m an inspiration. Please email me for a signed copy of my book (seriously though).
“It’ll be really difficult.”
“I don’t really want to do it.”
“What if I can’t think of 100 things?”
Probably. Then don’t. Then you’ll fail.
The answers to my helpful thoughts. Sometimes I don’t mind thinking these thoughts because I know it could lead to something unexpected. I like a bit of unexpected.
“It’ll be a fun challenge.”
“I really want to do it.”
“I’m doing it.”
Those thoughts crept up on me as I was closer and closer to making the decision. They saved me from regret. From the me that was wearing the mask.
“71% of people tried to complete this challenge, but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason. These people simply did not have time to be happy. Do you?”
That’s on the website. I don’t know if it’s real or not but I hope it is because that means I’m not in the 71%. I never want to be in the 71%. Especially when it comes to choosing to not be happy.
I WAS in the 71% though. I’d read that before and not done anything about it and every time I thought about it I felt bad. Like I was letting myself down.
I hate that.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
Tony Robbins said that and he’s smarter than me so he’s probably right. It was true here. I kept putting it off and I didn’t like myself for doing that so I knew it was important.
I still didn’t know if I could do it and I was nervous to start… but I started. I hope I’ve learnt that lesson.
Here’s what I learned from completing the #100happydays challenge:
1. Happiness is everywhere
My friend visiting from China. French toast with bacon and maple syrup. Juggling balls.
Netflix. An article getting published. Stuff my parents bought me for my new house.
Some “cool” socks. A sign that said “SIGN NOT IN USE”. A twitter account called “Selfie Failz” that followed (for reasons which remain unclear).
I didn’t get married or have a child or fall in love but that’s the simplicity of happiness.
It’s not elusive.
It’s waiting for you.
2. Gratefulness = Happiness
I’d never practiced being grateful before because it had just never occurred to me.
Or maybe it was because I didn’t want to be grateful because I didn’t want to feel satisfied because I didn’t want to stop pushing.
The opposite happened. The challenge forced me to be grateful, which forced me to be in the present, which let me smile at the day I’d had.
But the fire still burned. I still wanted more.
I was grateful for that.
3. Be bothered to look for it
Before I did this challenge I think I wanted my happiness to be serendipitous.
I thought if I looked for it consciously, hungrily, desperately… it would mean less.
That’s bullshit. For me, anyway.
A laugh is a laugh. A smile is a smile. Peace is peace.
It didn’t feel less so it didn’t mean less.
It just felt like happiness.
4. Happiness is in the little things
A rainbow. Watching Family Guy with my dad. A picture of me as a kid.
Happiness doesn’t exist. We create it. That might be the most important thing I’ve learnt.
5. I don’t care about anyone else
Most of my 100 moments were about me. I’m responsible for my happiness so I’m ok with that. But there was a gap.
I helped paint a friend’s house. A told a guy who helped me he was “the man” and he said “that’s one more person who thinks so” and started dancing. Helping someone to get a job and getting a thank you text.
Those things made me feel amazing. I’m got tears in my eyes. I left my job last week and I love the people so I’m still a little fragile. But I’m happy I’m confident enough to love people.
Maybe I’ll do another challenge and do something that makes someone else happy for 100 days. Holding the door open for someone, smiling at them, carrying their suitcase up the stairs.
That will make me happy. Maybe I do care.
6. Happiness isn’t easy
“What the fuck am I going to choose today?”
That clouded my mind many times.
One time I forgot about it until about 11pm. I would’ve hated myself if I didn’t remember.
One time I forgot to take a picture and my friend commented saying “surely this is cheating.”
I don’t know.
But I don’t care. It’s my happiness and I make the rules and I play the game.
7. I cared less and less about being judged
On day 44 I posted a picture of a cool t-shirt my dad bought me and my friend, in our Whatsapp group, said “He must be running out of things to be happy about…”
That really annoyed me. What a prick. Fuck him.
But then I stopped.
He wasn’t doing the challenge. He wasn’t using creativity to find happiness. He was hating on my happiness.
I hope that made him happy.
Also… I was running out of things to be happy about. But that’s why it’s called a “challenge.”
It was when I started running out of things to be happy about that I had to be creative and start looking in places I’d never looked in before.
If I can find happiness in a t-shirt my dad bought me then I win.
I was happy. Judge that.
8. I make the rules
I chose two moments on day 7. I can’t believe it took me seven days to break the rules. Bryony, don’t.
I chose a moment on day 100 + 4.
I like rules. I like the rule that someone can’t murder me without life imprisonment. That’s a good rule.
But rules about what to be happy about? About how I’m “allowed” to tackle a challenge? About what I can wear to work?
No. I won’t accept those. When I break the “rules” I feel rebellious, different, scared.
I feel Me.
You feel me?
I’m pretty sure the above two sentences aren’t grammatically correct.
9. I inspired
Two people at work started the challenge. My ex girlfriend started it. Many of the comments on the original article were about people wanting to start it.
That made me so happy. I love the feeling of being inspired and I have a want, a need, a compulsion to inspire others.
One of those people finished it and it was the person I would’ve bet money on to finish it. I don’t know about the others.
Lots of people asked me about it.
“What is it? How do you know you’ll have 100 things to be happy about? Is it hard?”
It’s a challenge. I don’t. Yes.
“I’m going to start on Monday,” one of them said.
People are who they are.
Unless. Until. What if?
10. Happiness is a habit
I added this point in about three weeks after day 100 because I’d almost totally forgotten I’d even done the challenge.
I wasn’t taking the time to be grateful. All the habits I had and this is the one I chose to destroy?
I was back in the 71%. The average. The people who didn’t have time to be happy.
“If I don’t have time for happiness then what do I have time for?”
I was making time for doing my job, speaking to girls, watching Netflix. I couldn’t make time for one moment of happiness?
I’m tired right now. Isn’t it great I have a bed I can sleep in?
I’m hungry. Isn’t it wonderful I can cook and eat healthy food?
I feel too warm. Isn’t it marvellous I can step outside and look into the sky and feel the chill on my face and smile?
I’m the one who chooses happiness into existence.
Maybe having a bed and being able to cook and stepping outside to feel the chill aren’t “enough.” They’re so small.
If I waited until I fell in love or had kids or became a millionaire… well, I’d be waiting. And waiting. And then, finally, I’d be happy. But if things like that, big things, are the only things that make me happy… I’ll only be happy a few times in my life.
I won’t live my life that way. I want to be happy every single day and this challenge showed me I could be.
You don’t have to wait. You can be happy now. In this moment.
I don’t want you to believe that. I want to you to do what you want. If you want.
That’s also not advice. Well, it is. But not for you.
It’s for the 10 year old me.