Conclusion

I wanted a few days to really sit and think about what had happened to me over the last 30 days—what these 5 tasks taught me, if they really helped, if this could be an ongoing method to make me a happy person, if they were actually a ladder out of my rut.  And a funny but sad thing happened.  On Wednesday, I stopped doing them.  All of them.  Didn’t do them on Thursday either.  Not even Friday.  Didn’t do a single one.

The absence of the 5 tasks on those 3 days confirmed everything I already suspected.  They work.  They have been working.  Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were horrible.  I was a mess—I was anxious, stressed out, felt physically “off,” and all of my bad habits instantly found their way back to me.  But today, I’m back on track, and I already feel better.

So my conclusion is this:  Not only do they work for me, I need them.  I need all 5.  I need them every day.  I’ve had a glimpse at happiness, and I’m going work my ass off to keep it.  These tasks are hard at first; they take some getting used to, but they change over time and they get a little easier (and some days they’ll be hard again).  But you start to realize that this effort you’re putting in is changing you, changing your perspective.  It’s not a bunch of peddled easy answers, or other people telling you how to look at things, or self-help books suggesting you look at things a different way–it’s you.  Through these tasks, you’re the one who is creating profound and life-altering changes. But it takes work, effort, accountability, patience, community, flexibility, and creativity.  It takes all of these.  As the past three days proved, though, it’s worth it because when they’re gone, you notice.  You notice hard.

Throughout this month, I read some other articles that listed lots of things happy people do.  Sometimes it was 22 things, or a dozen, sometimes more or less.  In reading those, though, I noticed that many of those on the list were by-products of these 5 core tasks.  These 5 are the basic building blocks of all kinds of better behaviors and outlooks that start to happen organically.  I think you need all 5 because they all do different things, they all have their own flavor and associated realizations.

Meditation

Meditation

 

Exercise

Exercise

 

3 things you’re grateful for

Grateful

 

Journal about something good that happened

Something good

 

Random Act of Kindness

RAOK

But I will add a 6th that I discovered was also important.  Spend time on your art—whatever it is for you, whatever activity you naturally pour your passions into.  For me it’s writing, and I was able to include that in how I approached this experiment.  I wrote every day in some form.  And I’ve got a body of work to show for it, daily time spent on something I love, something that grounds me, and it made each day feel whole and worth it.

So, I say a giant thank you to Shawn Achor and his TED Talk for these 5 magic tools, and I thank my inner me for finding my way to the unknown 6th.  I learned tons from these 30 days, and am incredibly glad I did it.  And I’m eternally thankful to all of you who stuck with me.  The accountability and encouragement you provided kept me at this.  If you take on a similar project you’ll need that, so make sure you’re involving someone who is going to cheer you on and remind you that the work is of value, that you are of value.

What’s next for me?  I’ll continue to do each of these tasks every day.  And if I miss a day and feel horrible again, I’ll jump right back on the train.  I’ll keep writing and see what I can do about turning this experience, or any experience, into a book.  And in the words of a new friend, I will:  “Keep.  Going.”

Again, my most heartfelt thanks to all of you for your steadfast encouragement, support, anonymous gifts, wise words, advice, and friendship.  I owe my newly found happiness to you.  Thank you.

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24 comments

  1. Pamela

    I’m so happy for you and so inspired. I practce yoga 5 times a week and I love it but its work. I notice when I don’t do it. I just started meditating and boy is it work!! And I’m trying to make changes to my diet. Hard. Maybe hard is what makes it good? Maybe hard is what makes it come alive. Once again, thank you for your courage and wholeheartedness. I learned so much from you!

    • randyscotthyde

      For me, I noticed that the diet changes happened naturally as a result of the other stuff. I don’t know about you, but I can be hard on myself with that. Focusing on this other stuff made it less about “restrictions” and more about “better choices for what makes your body happy.” Just a thought. But yeah, I think we might be hardwired to get a lot out of challenges. I also hope that challenging things become second nature after a while, ’cause sometimes you just need a break! Thank you, Pamela!

  2. Jennifer

    THANK YOU, RANDY! I’m so grateful you shared your journey with us. And, I’m so happy you are going to keep it up! I look forward to reading the book. 😉

  3. Felicity Magher

    Well done you!!! May your life continue to be filled with new experiences, love , light & happiness. Reading your blog has changed the color of my day many times in the last 30 days. May the force be with you Randy, I wish you well.

  4. Kris

    Thank you Randy. I know what you mean about the not doing the “steps” everyday and how it makes you out of sorts. I think not only do we thrive on challenge, but we are creatures of habit. You just created yourself six new habits. Keep on keeping on and I too look forward to the book. 🙂

  5. Sian

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us — your work improved my life and the life of everyone I shared it with. Seriously — the 6th act, the writing, was a far-reaching act of kindness. I’m going to miss the HECK out of your daily posts. I don’t suppose we can talk you into giving us periodic updates? At the very least, I need to know if Turbo is still keeping it real and whether the hills of SF still suck. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  6. Susie Dalton

    “I’ve had a glimpse at happiness, and I’m going work my ass off to keep it. ” You know what? That sentence pretty much encompasses exactly why I myself am a very happy person–I just never thought of it so clearly before.
    You are just awesome, Randy. Much much love.

  7. A Pleasant House

    It’s been such a pleasure following your journey Randy. I certainly hope you do keep practicing HAPPINESS (and blogging) because your words are so well crafted and joy is a gift everyone should give to themselves. My hat is off to you my friend. Keep in touch. With much admiration, ~Cheryl

  8. Robert

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey, Randy. It has been an inspiration. I looked forward to your posts every day, they were so insightful and entertaining, I love the way you write. As I “Keep. Going,” I will really miss your daily post. I’m grateful for finding your blog and I wish you all the happiness your new vision of life promises. THANK YOU!!

  9. Hans Hoelstad

    I must say I enjoyed your musings immensely.. I can relate to many of your “battles”. I am currently reading Shawn Achors first book and awaiting the 2nd. Your experiment was if nothing else inspirational, and although I am of the optimistic side, I undoubtedly have my bouts with depression.. Am more intrigued after reading your story, and you can probably sense a bit of Day 1 Randy here when I say I really should give this a go myself…
    Again thank you for sharing, and I am sharing the link to your blog with everyone I know…
    Hans in Montana

  10. Ashley Meyer (@ashleybmeyer)

    That talk by Shawn Anchor… so powerful! Over my years of on-and-off meditating, on-and-off exercising, on-and-off gratitude journaling, this confirms that I have to do what I was trying to find a way around the whole time: doing ALL of those things EVERY day. None of this “meditate on even days, exercise on odd days”; for me (and lots of us) they really do ALL have to be DAILY habits.

  11. Lisa Pierce

    Thanks so much for such a wonderful journey. I came across the TED talk just last week and have been exploring the “leaves and roots” from his “tree trunk”. Yours has been the most engaging so far, maybe because your thoughts have been in my brain for many, many years. You, though, have such a gift with words and like many of your other readers, I hope you’ll update us and I can’t wait for your book. Thanks so much for the kindness that sharing this means to all of us!

  12. tim

    Bravo! Thank you for being brave and kind enough to share this work with the rest of us.
    I too am using Shawn Achor’s 5 tasks and I too am currently winning my struggle with depression. Not every day…but I have had some real encounters with feeling happy – something that has been eluding me for too long.
    Thank you for being an example to follow. I have looked forward to reading your posts so much.

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