A Happiness Lesson from Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.”

brown beaver walking near trees

Today is Groundhog Day, and that reminds me of one of my favorite movies…yes, Groundhog Day!

In Groundhog Day, the main character Phil Connors (Bill Murray) — a nasty, selfish guy — keeps living the same day, over and over, and repeating the same mistakes, day after day after day, until he learns to be a wiser, more loving person. It’s a brilliant, hilarious, deep movie.

This year, February 2 is Groundhog Day, and the occasion has made me reflect of the way I keep making the same happiness mistakes, over and over.

Elizabeth and I have talked about this on the Happier podcast. Now that we’ve been recording episodes for two years, we’re starting to repeat certain demerits that we’ve given ourselves. Because even when we know we’re doing something that’s not good for our happiness, sometimes we still do it.

I’m very crabby with my family when we’re traveling, even when I know it doesn’t help.

I leave my clothes in a heap in a corner of the bedroom, even though I know that the clutter gets on my nerve.

I procrastinate about making phone calls, even though I know I’d be happier if I just crossed that task off my list.

I “snap” at my family, even when I know that my bad mood puts everyone else in a bad mood too.

Etc., etc.

I get so tired of my own faults, my own limitations! I wish I could vanquish them, once and for all. But instead, it’s like Groundhog Day.

That’s one of the reasons that I’m so happy to eat a low-carb diet. I used to think about sweets too much — it was so boring and draining. “One, two, three?” “Now, later?” “Is this too much?’

Now that I don’t eat that kind of food, all that noise is gone.

I wish I could solve other issues the same way — to just be done with them. I know that as an Upholder, it’s probably easier for me to make certain kinds of changes than it is for other people, but still, it’s tough.

But I remind myself that just like Phil Connors, every day is a new day for me to act in a way that will make me (and also other people) happier.

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