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 I’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 isn’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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