As you may remember, in 2013 I selected “happy” as my focal point word for the year. It was an interesting choice, especially when you consider where I came from. See, at one point in my life I believed that happiness was something that happens to us. I thought happiness was outside of our control. If things are going great, we will be happy. If things aren’t going so great, then we won’t be happy.
It probably isn’t a great surprise that in my younger years, I was, in general, a lot less happy than I am now. In fact, I remember being at a basketball game (probably in early high school) and one of my friend’s moms asked her if I was okay. She commented that I always looked so unhappy. I don’t know what was going on in my life at that time to cause my undeniable look of unhappiness. But I do know this: at that time, I believed my own happiness was outside of my control. And perhaps that is why I wasn’t happy.
What I have learned since then is that while there is much in our lives that we can’t control, happiness isn’t one of those things. We can choose to be happy, even in the midst of unhappy times and circumstances. We can look for things that make us smile, make us laugh and make us feel good. Anytime and all the time. Happiness is always our choice. This is one of the greatest lessons I learned from my Dad, who smiled and laughed all the way through cancer. He literally told us jokes the day before he died.
Happiness is a choice.
It bears repeating and it also bears intentionally putting into practice. A few weeks ago I decided to do just that—intentionally practice choosing happiness. I saw one of my Facebook friends had joined the 100 days of happiness challenge, and it was then that I decided to make happiness a higher priority in my life once again.
The challenge is simple enough. To participate, all you do is submit a picture of what made you happy everyday for 100 days. That’s it. The website explains that the photo can be anything from “a meet-up with a friend to a very tasty cake in the nearby coffee place, from a feeling of being at home after a hard day to a favor you did for a stranger.”
Here’s what really got me. The website states that 71% of the people who tried to complete this challenge failed. The main reason cited: lack of time! This really connected with me. What could be more important to spend time on than happiness? (Nothing!) When you recognize what makes you happy, you feel happier, and those feelings impact everything you do. Your happiness spills onto everyone you meet. (Don’t believe me? In the last week Jay told me I seem happier. This after just 24 days of doing the happiness challenge.) It works.
What I’m seeing so far is something I already knew: for the most part, it is the simple things that make me happy—food, time spent with family and friends, accomplishing goals and seeing others achieve a goal of their own. Simple stuff. Good stuff.
Want to follow along day by day for the rest of the challenge (or find out what these pictures represent?) Follow me on Instagram for the 100 happy days play-by-play.
What do you think? Do you have the time to make happiness a priority in your life? Do you think it’s that easy, or is their more to it? Let me know your thoughts and be sure to let me know if you’re inspired to take the happiness challenge yourself. Thanks for sharing!