The 100 Day Challenge that Taught Me How To Be Happy

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In 2014 I embarked on a 100-day mental and visual journey unlike anything I had ever heard of or done before. It was called #100HappyDays and it was an experience I changed the way I view my everyday life and myself. This experience made me a stronger, happier, healthier person with more positivity in my professional life and relationships.

It’s called #100HappyDays and I have challenged myself to take part on that same journey yet again in 2015. I challenge you to join me.

What is $100HappyDays:

Some history, to start: the founder, Dmitry Golubnichy, came back from a trip home where he had seen his friends content, quite happy actually, with what he personally thought was very little to be pleased about, and he thought “if those guys can be happy with what they have – then I should be to and I will be able to find at least 1 little thing to be happy about for next 100 days”. He took to social media and used the “#100HappyDays” hashtag both to keep track and so his friends could follow – and hold him accountable. And so the challenge was born. Today, more than 1,500,000 people have taken it across more than 220 countries and territories globally; a charitable foundation of the same name has been created; and they’re building a happiness community through everything from Happiness Ambassadors to Dreamers, Word-Spreaders, and Event Organizers. What is truly striking about the challenge, though, is that over 70% of participants do not complete it and a large percentage of that say it is due to a lack of time. A lack of time for his or her personal happiness – how silly does that sound?

As you may have gleamed, the #100HappyDays challenge is, simply put, a personal challenge that lasts – yup – 100 days, and asks its participants to do just one thing each day for one hundred days straight: take a single moment of your day to reflect on something that made you happy. From what makes you happy to how you keep track over the 100 days, there’s no right or wrong. Mine ranged from ordering a shirt I was excited about, to a man playing an instrument in the subway, to adventures and encounters with family and friends. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Ninja Turtles Shapes even made it in there.

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You can post photos or write up small notes. It can be on social media, with or without the hashtags, on a public or private blog, via email to you or the #100HappyDays organization, or offline completely. The point is not about where or how you do it, but about the simple act of taking one moment in your day to reflect on what makes you happy. It’s a personal and powerful task that can truly change you. I know it changed me.

Why you should do it:

The most striking reason, I think, is the hope is that by sharing the experience you may be able to inspire others to do the same, eventually finding their own #100HappyDays in even the smallest parts of life. By the end of my 100 days, I had come upon a handful of people who had picked up and started their own challenge. I felt even more happiness as I watched others embark on what I found to be an eye-opening journey. Additionally, it holds you accountable for completing the challenge each day until the very last. I learned as I went through my first experience with the challenge that I actually had followers – people who looked forward to seeing my post each day, and a couple who even reminded me if it got too late and they hadn’t seen one from me yet (looking at you, mom). But it wasn’t just my family, I found people from my past and present were interested in this journey I had embarked on.

In the beginning of my 100 days, on less exciting days I found my attitude to trend along the lines of “Only this made me happy today? That’s actually a bit sad.” But as the days went on, I found my attitude shifting – suddenly I was thinking “wow, today wasn’t the best but you know what, at least I had that one thing”. And on days I really struggled to find something, because it did happen now and then, I would get up and say “okay, I need to do something good for me, now.” I was taking on an entirely new outlook by simply focusing on even the smallest things, and I was able to realize that even on my worst days I had or could enjoy something – even if I have to create it for myself, there was some reason to smile and be happy. I began cherishing even the smallest moments more than I had ever been able to before.

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Although the experience is really about living in the now, looking back at my 100 days and reflecting on what exactly had made me happy over the course of 3+ months was a learning experience.

A fun way to help with that reflection:

With a donation to their foundation, you can get a book of your photos, from 25 select happy days, to all 100.

Personally, as I reflected, I picked up on some patterns as well as honed in on some bigger memories – big and small – that brought me joy all over again. I was able to take this information and learn about what I needed to do for myself in my everyday life to be my happiest and therefore my best. We get caught up in these big things being necessary to make us happy – but for me? I found at the end of the day (or 100 days) it mostly has to do with surrounding myself with people and food that I love, with a few new experiences (and some chocolate) sprinkled in.

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So, are you ready for the challenge? Don’t forget to use the hashtags #100HappyDays and #HappyDay if you want people to be able to follow along, and  leave your Instagram or Twitter handle below! Even feel free to share something that made you happy today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: NICOLE NISSNNiss Headshot

I came to Boston to get my BA in Organizational Communication from Northeastern University, fell head over heels for the city of Boston, and never left. Currently the Boston General Manager at Tablelist, I oversee venue and customer relations. Previously, I worked as an Account Executive for Streetwise Media (BostInnoChicago Inno, & InTheCapital), and headed up Field Marketing in the New England Region for OtterBox. I love getting to be a part of such a vibrant entrepreneurial community here in Boston. My other passions include photography, writing, brunch (especially bacon), and meeting new people.

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