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Does New Equal Happy?

FlowersWe all have heard the expression “the grass is greener” when talking about leaving an organization you don’t like. Sure, there are people who find themselves deliriously happy after making a major change, and some do not.

Some readers of this blog know that on January 1st of this year I made a resolution to do something new every day.

The purpose has been to enrich the level of enjoyment in my life. I’m not sure that the ultimate goal was happiness but it was to create an environment for change that might lead to new happiness.

To begin with, I’m not an overly happy person. People have to remind me to smile. I dislike this about myself. I wouldn’t say I’m depressing, but that deep sense of joy that I perceive some people experience naturally has never really been a part of my genetic make-up. I worry a lot. I get caught up in routines. I care too much about what other people think. I prefer not to be around people all the time. I need a lot of nature.

I can pat myself on the back because I am 120 days into my resolution and I’ve been able to stick to it. Honestly, and surprisingly, I can say that this resolution has made me feel happier.

Doing something new every day is hard. It gets harder as each day passes, but in the same vein, finding something new presents positive challenges.

Here are some things I’ve done in the past 120 days:

  • Restaurants. It now takes a road trip to go to a new restaurant for me. Of the 120 new things so far, 12 have been new restaurants. This means that my husband and I have been going on more drives. The alone time with him has been excellent and possibly the best part of the experience.
  • Ingress. Ingress is an Android app that uses Google Maps to establish the context of the game. Ingress is great if you want to learn about monuments and historical locations in your area. Over a two month period, I made it to Level 6, deploying resonators in 8 cities in two countries. When I hit Level 6, I decided to quit because it was becoming too time intensive, but certainly I learned a lot about different areas by looking for local portals.
  • Leadership. The past four months have been full of very tough projects, leading through significant challenges. This caused me to seek training and to do significant preparation and it felt good at the end of the day in some of these projects to write down something I’d done in the field of HR that I’d never done before.
  • Business Exploration. I get a lot of calls from people who want to sell me something or collaborate with me. In the past I have traditionally always turned these people away. This year I’ve done more of this, and I’ve learned some things and shared some things that have been mutually beneficial.

Can I continue this? Yes, absolutely! In the coming weeks, I’ll be going to an art auction, a rock concert, a spa weekend, and a cooking class. I’ll have read two or three books, and explored new towns and stores.

Should you try this? Yes, absolutely! The concept, in various forms, seems to have really taken off recently. Just yesterday I read a blog from one of our favourite guest bloggers, Jane Watson, who is doing a 100 days of happiness experiment. Her post on The Tyranny of the Happy Workplace has me wondering what will happen when many people start tracking their happiness.

I’ll report back in on this subject in August, after I’ve spent my summer planting new vegetables and flowers and generally appreciated all that’s great about newness. Meanwhile, don’t worry, be happy.

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