I tried to be happy for 100 days in a row and failed. Twice. And somehow, I got happier in the process.
The 100 happy days challenge took off on social media a couple of years ago. The idea was that we have so much in our lives to be happy about, but no time to recognise it.
This was the challenge: For 100 days in a row, take a photo of something that made you happy that day and publish it to instagram or facebook with a brief caption.
It sounds like a great idea. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our busy lives and forget to appreciate all that we have. This helps you to stop and think about those things. There was one flaw in the challenge; it created competition. People wanted to be seen to be more happy by something more ordinary than someone else. Yawn.
Even if it is not intended, facebook is already basically millions and millions of Joneses to keep up with. 100 days of how wonderful someone’s life is doesn’t necessarily inspire happiness in others, especially if they feel alone or unhappy.
My 100 happy days challenge
I decided to have a go once all the fuss had died down, with 2 differences:
- I wouldn’t take photos (a photo might speak a thousand words, but sometimes only 5 words are needed) and;
- I’d keep it to myself, so I just kept a 100 days note in my phone.
I’ve had 2 attempts at this so far. And I’ve “failed” both.
Attempt number 1
On the first attempt of the 100 happy days challenge, I got to day 48. I stopped on the day our car broke down for the 3rd time in 2 weeks and I was off work sick. Everything seemed to be going wrong, I was tired, the car was costing a lot of time and money, and I just didn’t feel happy at all. Don’t get me wrong, there were things I was grateful for on those days, but I couldn’t say I felt happy. And so rather than pretend to be elated, for the sake of the challenge, I admitted defeat.
Attempt number 2
On the second attempt, I go to day 52. I gave up on 25th December, Christmas Day. This time, it was different. I gave up because just wanted to enjoy the Christmas break and be in the moment, rather than thinking “Should I write this thing I’m doing right now as the thing that made me happy today?”
What I learned
I couldn’t help doing a bit of analysis on what had made me happy over the 2 challenges (I love a good spreadsheet!). All in all, I had notes of what had made me happy for 100 days, albeit not in a row.
30 of my days’ happiness resulted from spending money, including weekly Pilates classes (I’m always on a high when I finish), being on holiday (so the thing causing happiness wouldn’t have happened without spending the money to travel, if that makes sense) and the run up to Christmas and buying gifts for people.
70 days came from things that didn’t cost money. That’s something I’m really chuffed with, and just goes to show you don’t need to spend money to be happy.
The really great thing about the challenge was that it made me make time for more of what I enjoy doing and forgetting the stuff I enjoy less. So playing more board games, going for more walks and trying my hand at more new recipes. Less slobbing in front of the TV!
I also realised that being happy every day isn’t necessarily a good thing. It is important to be serious and it is human to be sad sometimes. It is experiencing unhappy days that allows us to have a greater appreciation for happy days.
Have you tried it?
You should totally have a go if you haven’t already. Don’t post it on facebook. I’ll leave you to choose whether you want to take photos. But have a go, because:
- It’ll teach you about where your happiness comes from and
- It’ll make you more aware of bad days and doing something to make them better
Have you tried the 100 happy days challenge and how did you get on with it?