If I were still counting, today would mark the 101st day of my 100 Happy Days challenge. Yes, I finally did it. I can now officially say I'm one of the 29 percent of people who took on the 100 Happy Days Challenge and actually completed it! Truth be told, I wasn't so sure I'd manage to see this day when I first took on the challenge in March. You see, I've always been one of those people who lets life get in the way of my goals. I'll use every day upsets and circumstances out of my control to excuse myself from what really matters, which ultimately is my own happiness. But I surprised even myself, and I did it. So I know if this is something you want to do (and you should, if you're looking to breathe new, positive energy into your life), you can do it, too! The 100 Happy Days website states that people who successfully completed the challenge claimed to experience the 'symptoms' listed below: - Start noticing what makes them happy every day; - Be in a better mood every day; - Start receiving more compliments from other people; - Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have; - Become more optimistic; - Fall in love during the challenge. Here's what happened to me. I did start noticing the things that made me happy every day. And I started doing those things intentionally. I made time for exercise because the endorphins made me happy. I took up exercises that I enjoyed -- like Zumba and cycling. Though it was hard at first, I found that as time went by, I intentionally looked for moments in my day that brought me joy. This, in turn, helped my mood. I don't know about you, dear reader, but the past winter was tough on me. Towards the end, I felt like my soul was being crushed by the darkness all around me. (Dramatic, I know, but so it was.) Taking up this challenge and seeking out my 'daily happy' helped lift my spirits. I learned to intentionally look for my joy, especially when I'd find myself slipping into a slump. It's amazing what taking control of your own brain can do for your spirit. I didn't really start receiving more compliments from people (I wasn't expecting to, while working on this project), but people did start commenting about the shift in my perspective. The usual suspects who had to deal with my whining and tales of woe were hearing less and less. Something was changing. There was a spring in my step, and if I started complaining, they noticed that I'd talk myself out of it before they had to. (Seriously! I barely recognize myself...) "Life is a gift and I'm grateful to have it." These few words sort of became my mantra as days went by. Every morning I would wake up and affirm my luck. Even if things seemed bad, I learned that they could always be worse. The trick was perspective and reminders. Learning to slow down and think things through is a tough lesson; one that I'm still learning. But it's a good one, and I'm getting better at it with each passing day. Even if I have to constantly remind myself to do this. I often refer to myself as a hopeless optimist. Hope has gotten me through some of the darkest days in my life, and I'm never without it. Just when I think I've reached my limit, I always find more, whether through friends and family or simply by reaching out to my own spirit. I know that sounds kind of strange, but please believe me. If my life has taught me anything so far, it's that we're a lot stronger than we think we are. With patience, care and compassion (especially towards ourselves), we can get through the most difficult of times. Hope is fuel for life. Ah, falling in love. Well, that hasn't exactly happened. And I didn't notice anything different in that regard over the course of this project, though I'm sure it has happened to some people. I will say this: The idea that what you put out into the world is exactly what is returned to you has some truth to it. If you let yourself be open to love, it just might come find you. Even though I've completed my 100 days, I know I'm going to move forward with the lessons I've learned. I'm not perfect by any means, and I'm certainly not trying to be. And I know life is tough under the best of circumstances, but life is also beautiful. And any day we spend without at least reflecting on one beautiful aspect of this gift is a day wasted. So try to focus on the good and drown out the bad. I promise, it will only work in your favour. Cheers! Oh, I bet you thought I forgot... Here are days 69- 100. Click here to get a recap of my journey, starting with week one.