Chris Lakin

Force Happiness

We may have to force ourselves to do not-yet-habitual activities, even if we enjoy them greatly.

When I first started this website, I found myself relishing writing. But there came sprees of days where I wouldn’t write. Not because I wouldn’t have enjoyed it, not because I didn’t have ideas, not even because I had gotten busy— but because I had forgotten. Writing wasn’t yet a habit; instead, my default activity laid in watching science youtube videos.

And each time I wrote, I concluded afterward, “Wow! That was great! I need to do this more often!” —Yet I still failed to automatically, habitually, randomly decide to write in my spare time.

This was despite my belief that writing was one of my few most important activities.

Only after months of writing everyday in the morning did I begin to spend my random spare time writing. Only then came the moments of quickly writing between classes, or writing when I knew I should’ve gone to sleep an hour ago. I love these moments—but they didn’t occur until the habit existed.

I don’t know why it took as long as it did, but now I know: we won’t automatically do the worthwhile, far-sighted activites that we know will fulfill us. Not unless they come habit.

We just have to accept this, and then try to correct for it.

Drawing © Ariana Dyer.


Posted 2020 August 22, updated 2021 March 25.

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