TJE 45: 366 happy stories of 2020 – a personal challenge

This year, I am posting Instagram stories every day. I tag them with #366HAPPYSTORIES2020. The goal is pretty obvious, to complete 366 days of happy stories for 2020.

It’s one project I decided to do, to make the start of a new decade special. It might give me a boost, like how the original challenge did to me 6 years ago. And Iโ€™m talking about it today, February 29, 2020, to highlight the timing perfectly: the start of a new decade, which also happens to be a leap year.

Already familiar

In February 2014, I heard of the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge. It was started by Dimitry Golubnichy, with the simple goal of regaining his happiness in 2013. He made a website to invite people to join in the challenge. I registered there, and started the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge on Instagram.

Throwback! Post for Day 1
Throwback! Post for Day 100

I finished the challenge. For 100 straight days, I was able to post about anything that made me happy for each day. I also completed the steps so that I can earn my reward. I chose the cheapest one, which was a booklet.

That challenge had tremendous impact in my mental state. I sought to create happy moments basically. And in down days, I would look for, do or get little things that can make me happy. While doing the challenge, I grew more and more positive, and it continued well after I completed it. I really believed that happiness is a choice, after that. I was just super positive for the next 3 years since.

Okay, I shared in this blog the struggles I had in this post and in more detail here. Basically, I fell apart that the lessons I gained from doing the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge were lost. And that’s a waste! (Or maybe not, as the emotional toll was necessary to make me tougher. What do you think?)

Though I was feeling better in 2018 Q2, it was only in 2019 Q3, when I really started building up momentum in my “new life.” So this year, I thought, I’m gonna do more and regain the super positive me! That’s the first reason of doing this challenge. I know I’m kind of doing it in a convenient time. But hey, 366 days of looking at the bright side is pretty difficult to pull off. I had several down days already this year. Also, I have an additional challenge.

A new take

In 2014, I had more money to burn. So it was convenient for me to “buy” reasons to be happy, i.e. food, coffee, books and experiences. This time though, I am at the stage of rebuilding my finances. And at the same time, I just had a big mental shift as explained in the previous blog post. So this was the second reason why I decided to do #366HAPPYSTORIES2020. Not counting the free appreciation moments (i.e. nature, sunrise, RAOK, etc.), I want my happiness to be composed of more production, rather than consumption. This is a way for me to push creativity – which I really want to develop as a freelancer and entrepreneur.

So today marks 60 days into the challenge. How did I fare so far? Well, I started the year with travel, so that’s great. But I now count 25-28 happy stories to be about creating something. And that’s already more than what I did in the entire #100HAPPYDAYS in 2014 (about 15-17)! There are still 306 days to go, and I’m gonna push myself to be more creative, and I won’t be fazed by the challenge as a whole!

But of course, one need not wait for a special time to be happy. You can argue that 2020 isnโ€™t special, as there are literally countless leap years that start decades. It is always the right time to work on your happiness. But I like special numbers; and in a new decade, on a leap year, I will be cheesy and take on the #366HAPPYSTORIES2020 challenge!

You can follow @jecoycoy on Instagram and check out the highlights about this challenge in my profile.

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