The Great Pedal Project

My name is Randy Scott Hyde, and I’ve been a miserable fuck for far too long.  In September 2013, I finally put the pizza and wine glass down, turned off the “Real Housewives,” and decided to do something about it.  My 30-Day experiment to finally find some happiness was inspired by the passing of the grandmother who raised me and Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk about 5 things you can do everyday to get your hole-filled soul together.  

  1. Meditate
  2. Identify 3 new things you’re grateful for
  3. One random act of kindness
  4. Journal about one good thing that happened
  5. Exercise

Inspired by many friends and readers, I completed the 30 days and found that it works.  I mean it really, really works.  It’s a lot of hard work, but as September ended, I felt better–like there might be hope for me yet.  

But when I quit the blog, I lost the encouragement of my fellow happiness-seekers, as well as a new and solid goal to work towards, and October had me spiraling back down to misery as I became less committed to the 5 tasks.  So November, I’m back in the game.  I’ve signed up for a 545-mile bike race from San Francisco to Los Angeles to support vital HIV/AIDS programs, and will use that as my goal to turn this work into a habit.  If 7 months of doing this daily for a good cause won’t do it–nothing will.  

So here are the new rules:

  1. Starting in November, I will do each of the 5 tasks every day.
  2. I will post on the week’s progress every Sunday until the ride on June 1.
  3. There will be stick figures.
  4. I will do this bike ride even if it kills me.
  5. I will not give up.

I welcome and ask for any thoughts, encouragement, or ass kicking as I get myself back on the horse and the bike, and I thank you for it. With your help, I’ll fill this soul hole good and proper!

 

How did it go?

Preparation

Week 1

Week 2

Weeks 3 & 4

Week 5

24 weeks remaining

22 weeks remaining

21 weeks remaining

20 weeks remaining

18 weeks remaining

17 weeks remaining

14 weeks remaining

12 weeks remaining

9 weeks remaining

7 weeks remaining

5 weeks remaining

2.5 weeks remaining

3 days away

After the finish line

 

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24 comments

  1. Elizabeth in VT

    Randy, I think that writing may become the hardest part, because creating your 5 happiness habits are the real focus of this project. Jo Van Every suggests to people who need to write that they “make an appointment with their writing,” and making a committed appointment with your writing will be your most important factors for success. I have a friend who sits down daily at 7am and writes for about 15 minutes (he’s found that’s what he needs to complete the writing that frames his day). There may be days where you believe you can’t “write about it”. But the important thing is to maintain that writing habit, even if on some days you just write what comes into your mind, which might be the weather, or what you decided to wear today. One day you’ll find that you WANT to sit down and write, and you’ll realize that if you don’t write, you will miss it.

    Project success, though, doesn’t hinge on the writing. Project success depends on your success in creating your five new happiness habits. What you’ve written about your project already shows vision, clarity and determination. Focus on those 5 happiness habits, and I bet the writing comes on its own.

    And thank you for the Shawn Achor video!

  2. eac

    Your expressions are so unexpected and captivating…the Jesus of all grandmothers…fabulous.
    So, ok, I can’t do your meditation but can contribute to the gratitude effort….
    1. connectedness – via the Net, just game changing
    2. new expressions by talented writers – such as yourself- ‘the the path to happiness in five daily tasks’.
    3. Spell check – because I suffer from fat finger typing

  3. Lisa Garon Froman

    Here’s my encouragement….do it! Also, you can combine gratitude with your meditation (I do it) if that makes it easier, Or keep a notebook by your bed and after you meditate, write a few things down that you’re grateful for. Even if it’s you’re grateful for your morning egg or coffee. Or for random people you don’t even know like me who wiill hold you in their thoughts and good intentions. They’re plenty of us out here…hugs to you on your journey.
    P.S. As for your rules for the next 30 days and beyond…. remember……you got this.

  4. JP in SF

    I’ve always labored under the apprehension that Happiness is a Choice. That I can decide, on an ongoing basis – either specifically or generally, that I will react to every stimulus with happiness. It’s hard. I often wonder if I’m kidding myself. It’s an ongoing struggle, especially considering the pervasive negativity with which I grew up (thanks, stereotypically over-bearing NY Jewish mother). But you’re making this decision, so maybe it’ll work.

    So Mr Hyde, with friendship in my heart (and also for selfish reasons), I look forward to reading my way through your process, and wish you good tidings on your journey. With hope, I’ll see you on the other end.

  5. Melanie

    Hey Randy, this is Ray’s friend Melanie. I learned about this blog when a friend of mine who doesn’t know you posted it on her fb today – your experiment is inspiring all kinds of folks! And it sounds awesome. And as a fan of grandmothers and of other people making plans for me, I am excited to read about it. And we should hang out.

  6. Pennie

    Randy, I’m a nurse and a therapist. I’m also a student right now studying for a doctorate in psychiatric nursing (at age 55.) I love this experiment you’re undertaking. I can’t wait to share your blog and your success with others who are also trying to fill their soul holes. What you’re doing is courageous and inspiring and something we all should probably be doing. Thank you for sharing yourself so honestly and openly and with humor. Pennie

    • randyscotthyde

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Pennie. This stuff ain’t easy. Which is probably why a lot don’t do it. I’ve surprised myself making it this far. Love that you’re going for your doctorate! That work ain’t easy and I applaud you like crazy!

  7. Lynne

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am sharing with many friends struggling similar battles. As for me I have the battles too but right now it is 6:20 AM in Texas and I have meditated for 20 and did Yoga for 20 and will be early to work today. I started participating in a Laughter Yoga Club several years ago and it made me feel so much better I have been a leader for 3 years, and many times my kindness is to lead laughter yoga for various groups in nursing homes hospitals etc. I too feel many times like what I do is not enough but I keep doing it because you never know when a small gesture can change someone’s life and surprisingly yours. Thanks for being an inspiration! Namaste

  8. Pam Woodson

    You are me! Ok, so I’m a woman but YOU ARE ME! OK, I’m older than you BUT you are me! I already was thinking this as I was reading your blog. BTW, I’m sorry,that I found it “after the fact” but I’m catching up ( while drinking my morning coffee & wine hey! It’s Saturday!). I already felt that you were me BEFORE I read the line that your grandmother died of pancreatic cancer! WHAT? My sister died of it 15 years ago! So unexpected! Such a SHOCK to our (small) family! 48 years old when she was diagnosed! 2 young kids and a wonderful husband. When I look back, trying to explain my (own) depression, I think that this REALLY got the ball rolling. Yes, I noticed YEARS ago that I was depressed! I KNEW it, when I was a kid but didn’t know what it was. I, somehow, “managed” it to a degree. Eventually, I gave up and just figure that it’s easier to not fight it. It seemed easier to WALLOW in being miserable. BTW, I’m giving the short version of my life! Anyway, I have been drawn to Shawn and his “Happiness Project”! What I LOVE about it is that it’s based on science! Yes, Shawn, explain to me how the brain works and I’m, more than willing, even, HAPPY, (heh-heh), to give his methods a shot! I LOVE , that finding your blog, was a BONUS of following Shawn on Facebook. Your HUMOR, drawings (they’re hysterical and spot on) and your RESISTANCE (which is the BEST) has made me a HUGE fan! I’m only at day 10 but can’t wait to read more! It’s a GREAT blog but I’m so depressed that I didn’t know about it while it was happening! Oh well, better late than never!

    • randyscotthyde

      I absolutely love this comment! Thank you so much! I’m really sorry to hear about your sister, though. It’s such a terrible disease–it’s fast, and it’s deadly. And losing loved ones is hard. I also agree that a little science behind something helps tremendously. Keep up the fight, Pam! And thank you!

  9. Katie Nolan

    Hi Randy,
    Your writing is poignant and hilarious. I watched Shawn Achor’s talk a while ago and thought “huh, good idea” and then left it at that. Actually, I left it to watch videos of sleepy kittens. Then I started reading your blog and that’s when I got really into the idea of trying this for myself. On behalf of myself and the people who love me, thank you for inspiring me to take on my own happiness project.

    Best of luck with the Pedal Project– I’ll be (virtually) with you through it.
    Katie

  10. Gail Tosti

    I had wanted to write to you as you went through your soul hole “project”. As a fellow soul hole survivor I wanted you to know that someone way way over on the other side of the country (W. Palm Bch., FL). was enjoying your perspective, writing, humor, stick drawings, etc. and was being helped with my own healing by reading about yours. Couldn’ t seem to find the sign up until now. Duh. Whatever. Keep writing. You have a gift. I have learned so much since my own crash and burn. Thank you for this work. It helped me and I really wanted you to know that. I will be rooting in the background.

  11. tim

    Hey Randy,
    Where are you? I keep checking for your latest update but it doesn’t appear. Hope you haven’t hit a rough spot.
    If so please know that there are lots of us out here cheering you on and looking forward to your next post.

  12. Lindsay Hall

    My therapist suggested that I read The Happiness Advantage when I came up with a very surprisingly similar plan to rectify a negative work situation on my own. It really spoke with what I’ve been intuitively doing on my own for the last year and a half, but hopefully more guided advice will help me progress faster and more permanently.

    My journey has also been anchored in blogging and cycling, if you want to check it out here: http://trainingonaprayer.blogspot.com/ I’m looking forward to reading more about your progress.

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