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The 100 Happy Days Challenge: A Simple Experiment to Increase Happiness

One night, I got a Facebook message about the 100 Happy Days challenge. So I clicked through and here’s what I read:

“While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in: Every day submit a picture of what made you happy!”

OK, fair point, we don’t take time to appreciate things anymore…

I was about to click away and get on with my life, when I read that next sentence:

“71% of people tried to complete this challenge, but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason.”

Uh! Wait, so most people fail that happy thing because they don’t have time? I’m as busy as everyone else, but this feels like a cool challenge…

OK, you got me: let’s do this!

It’s YOUR challenge, not a race for “Likes”

I wanted to do this for myself, not to get likes. Instead of Facebook or Instagram, I used an obscure blog to post my happy pictures.

Why? Because then there’s no expectations nor judgments: it helped me be completely free to take pictures that truly made me happy without second thoughts.

My pictures try to capture raw happy moments. Very often, I took crappy pictures (poor light and no filter) or lame things (only has a meaning for me) and that’s fine since it’s YOUR challenge.

llama in Paris
Example of a lame picture: “Day 26: Possibly the only llama roaming Paris’ streets that day”

Practicing creativity in your own terms does wonders because it helps you express yourself in ways that might only make sense to you.

Going the distance: Easy to set, easy to skip!

Some of my friends completed #100happydays as groups (Facebook, mailing lists…), others used mobile apps for daily reminders. As it happened, I decided to try it solo and low-tech to see how I would get on.

Getting started requires a bit of discipline, then it took me about 2 weeks to get into the daily habit of taking my photo, as part of my routine.

book in French
Day 12: At a coffee shop; helluva sailing book!

So … did I sometimes forget to take my daily picture?

Sure! In 100 days, I forgot twice, so I ended up stretching my challenge by another 2 days.

Anyways: your challenge, your rules!

In our culture of multi-taskers and high-volume of information, it feels great to spend a few seconds every day to capture a happy moment.

Taking a daily picture can be that one daily thing you create by yourself and for yourself.

A virtuous circle

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” —Steve Jobs

It seems like most people don’t have 100 straight happy days, we all have ups and downs: such is life. The question is, how do you deal with not being happy at all times?

This challenge is about training your perception on things. Scanning your environment for positive things quickly creates a virtuous circle by adding a positive outlook on your daily activities.

Day 83: Welcome to seeing the glass half-full

Even on my gloomy days, thinking about my pictures had me get out of the house and go for a walk to explore outside and see what would make me smile.

It’s a fantastic reality check—you can’t always change the course of events, but you can always adapt your perception of it all.

Yep, you’re busy, and we all are. The key question is, are you too busy to enjoy the ride?

Paris façade
Day 36: Back from the bakery; sunshine it is!

My own challenge has been fantastic. In 100 days: I found a job that I love, I finally moved in my own apartment and visited four countries — for fun!

What’s #100happydays impact on all this? It made sure I enjoyed the process of getting there as much as the achievements.

You’re done now, what’s next?

I’ll keep posting happy pictures after Day 100, because for now it feels more natural to keep going rather than to stop. It’s OK to skip certain days; it’s all about continuing to check in.

P.S: I’m not sharing all of my 100 pictures here because most of them are pretty boring, but to me, they are happy boring.

Positive thinking is not an achievement: It’s a muscle you should train … just like creativity.

  • Rolf Schulte Strathaus

    I really like the concept. Let me see, if I find the time:-)

  • Casey Hynes

    Thanks for sharing your experience doing the 100 happy days challenge! I’ve seen people posting their happy photos recently and have been considering doing it myself. After reading this, I decided I’m going to start tomorrow. A major goal of mine right now is to be more present and appreciative of who and what I have in my life to be thankful for. I think this challenge will help me stay focused on that.

    • Awesome to hear Casey! Be more present is such a nice thing to cultivate, let me know how it goes for you :)

      • Casey Hynes

        So far so good, Rodolphe! It’s been nice to take a little time each day and focus on even one small thing that brings happiness. And I think by the end, it will be nice to have this catalog of 100 moments or things that brought happiness. It’ll be a good reminder of how much there is to be thankful for!

  • Agnes Dadura

    This is great and easy idea! I think I’ll start it too!

  • I also completed the challenge and I agree that it’s not. that. simple. Life can get really demanding that you forget to be happy. It was a little hard but rewarding and fulfilling challenge. It was an eye opener as well. Thanks for sharing your experience.


    • Way to go on completing the challenge! I agree; it got a little tough to remember at times but I found the end result well worth it and quite an eye opener as well. :)

  • Katie Speicher

    I am finishing the challenge in a few more days, but it looks like the site to order the book of all the pics is no longer in use. Do you know anything about it!?

  • Pamela Myrick Peters

    I don’t know wht to do now. I’ve posted my 100 pictures on Facebook. What is next?

    • Hey Pamela! Way to go on completing the challenge! As far as I know, that’s all there is to it and you’re now a graduate. :) I know Rodolphe and I have talked about how it can be a bit tough to stop taking pictures once you’re in the habit. I suppose you could keep going for as long as it makes you happy!

  • Jolly Ninjas

    Thank you so much for sharing. We’re challenging the Jolly Ninjas to take on this challenge starting 3/20/15.

  • Fanny Montalvo

    100 Happy Days Challenge- 99 more to go! My happy this week- this weekend’s springtime walk in the park amidst the NYC palette to start off my week! Sun on my face and no more snow to deal with- life is one worthy of happy!

  • Kelvin Zhao

    My question is why stop at 100?


    Mightn’t the imperative to document those happy moments actually interfere with that “being in the moment” mentality in which most of us are happiest?

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