Why I started

When I was 20 years old, I entered a period in my life which I knew was going to be very interesting. Life changing, you could even say. It was the final step from adolescence to adulthood, and I wanted to make sure I would never lose these memories. So I started to keep a journal.


My journal was a very basic notebook, and from the first day I got it, I started to fill it up with my personal thoughts: what happened during the day, what was on my mind, what I liked and what I hated. You know, kid’s stuff. I wanted to write down exactly what I thought, without a filter. If I knew somebody else was eventually going to read it, I wouldn’t allow myself to write my deepest thoughts and personal opinions. Therefore, I never told a single soul I was doing it.

The content of my happiness tracking journals
The content of my journals

When I survived this period of my life, it turned out that I found joy and order in keeping a journal. Something about it was very peaceful. It felt very nice to write down my thoughts, knowing that I would never lose them. So I continued to do it. Even though the period I initially bought the journal for was over, I was still happy to continue doing it.

After some time, I switched the old notebook for a cloud based spreadsheet app (Google Sheets). It made life easier: I was able to fill my journal even more incognito and was ever more so reassured that these journals would never be lost in a fire. Unless there are going to be some attacks on Google’s database centres, but I think I can safely assume that is not a likely event in the near future. Anyway, as it turned out, life as a young adult was more – much more – interesting than I thought it would be.

The content of my journal

I know there is a number of people out there doing this as well. At the end of each day, you take out your journal and start to write down every single thought that crosses your mind. My continued journals were always quite detailed. I would write about what made me happy and what made me unhappy during the day. That was the gist of it. It was the start of what I’m still doing today. I was already tracking my happiness, without really knowing it.

This is a good opportunity to refer to my ‘My personal happiness‘ post series, where I share some of the contents of my journal to the internet.

I was not yet seeing the full potential of tracking my every thought. I just continued doing it for fun – for inner peace. It was only some time later that it really started to evolve into something more: what eventually became the tracking of my happiness.

Move on to ‘Why I continued‘ .

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