We’re excited to announce that the Tracking Happiness Diary is now available to everyone. After a successful launch for our email subscribers, we’re now confident in opening up to the rest of the world.
If you ever wanted to start a diary, or want to power-up your current diary habit, the Tracking Happiness Diary might be just for you.
This post will share some of the behind-the-scenes of this Diary, and why it may be the perfect for you.
- I once lost my diary
- Why I eventually started a digital diary
- Why my diary is my most powerful habit
- The Tracking Happiness Diary
- Wrapping up
I once lost my diary
Over 10 years ago, when I was 17, I started my first ever diary. It wasn’t a nice
diary, it wasn’t pretty, my handwriting sucked, and it had water stains all over it
(I hadn’t started drinking coffee yet, or else they’d be coffee stains).
I eventually lost that diary when I left my bag on a bus…
It really stings to write about this. Since time is flying by so fast, I would be willing
to pay serious cash just to read that diary once more. There’s a lot I would like
to know about the 17-year-old version of me.
That ugly little notebook contained things that I’ve already forgotten by now:
- Thoughts about family members
- Events that happened at school
- What went through my mind as I choose to study Civil Engineering in uni
- How I could barely run 5k
- How I was a little chubby back then
- So much more
I have almost no recollection of that time, and it sucks. If only I had not lost
that stupid diary.
Even worse: I completely stopped writing a diary altogether.
I was paranoid that someone would post my dumbass thoughts somewhere on
Oh my lord, if someone would have ever read the inside of my diary, they’d
probably think I oughta be locked up.
For the next 10 days, I called the lost & found department of public transit, hoping that they’d have found my bag.
Unfortunately, it was never found.
Luckily for me, no-one ever tried to blackmail me with my diary, and I also
haven’t found copies of it on Facebook. In the end, the person who found it
probably didn’t care. Phew…
But that’s not to say that this story has a happy ending! In the end, I still lost my
dear diary, and I’ll never be able to laugh at my idiotic thoughts back when I was
still a teenager.
Why I eventually started a digital diary
I eventually started journaling in a digital diary.
My digital diary started as a simple spreadsheet. It was literally called “thoughts.xlsx“, and it was located in a secret folder on my laptop. I opened the file every morning and wrote about the previous day.
After a while, I moved that file to an online spreadsheet, which made automatic backups easy.
The things I learned from my diary
I didn’t know it then, but this system eventually led me on a self-awareness journey that I couldn’t ever have imagined. The things that I learned from my diary were shocking, interesting, revealing, and sometimes even quite disturbing.
What really helped here is that I’ve always tracked the things that gave me unhappiness. Every time I wrote, I’d ask myself: what factors made me unhappy?
Negative factors in my happiness
This added an extra dimension to my diary. It allowed me to really learn more about myself.
In the past 2,654 days, my happiness has been negatively impacted 315 times by tiredness, 149 times by my work. and 148 times by being stressed.
Throughout the last 7 years, these have been the 3 most frequent negative factors of my life.
Reflecting on your progress over time
“Don’t compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.”
My diary makes it really easy to compare myself with who I was before. It can be revealing and shocking sometimes, but most of all, it’s funny and makes me feel positive about who I am and how I’ve developed as a person.
My diary warns me about things to come
My diary helps me realize whenever I’m entering a “rut”. In other words, a period where I’m slowly and unconsciously not doing anything exciting.
How? When I find it harder to write about my day, it’s usually a sign that I’m not spending my time on anything exciting.
So whenever I write: “Today was more of the same. Today was essentially a copy of yesterday”. It’s usually a sign that I need to mix things up. If nothing changes, I can expect to find myself lacking motivation, energy and excitement soon.
This is something that’s really easy to miss if you’re not writing a diary. Whenever I journal, I ask myself: “what would 70-year-old me like to read about in my diary?”. If there’s nothing exciting to write about, it’s a sign that I need to do something new soon.
That’s how I’ve found new hobbies, like playing the keyboard and drawing. It also motivated me to sign up for my first marathon back in 2015.
Why my diary is my most powerful habit
this diary has turned into my most powerful habit, and it only takes me 2 minutes a day.
Most days, I open up a link from my phone that takes me to my diary. Within seconds, I’m able to empty my mind in a blank text field.
Right after, I select the factors that had an impact on my happiness that day. For example, my girlfriend makes me happy a lot of the time, so I often select “Relationship” as a positive factor. 😊
In the end, I give my day a rating on a scale from 1 to 100, and voila: that’s my bedtime ritual done!
It’s so easy, but I can’t overstate how much this simple habit has taught me about myself.
Here are just a few:
- I’ve learned just how happy my partner makes me, even though we fight and argue sometimes. (my diary reminds me not to take this for granted and be grateful for what I have).
- My diary helped me realize just how badly I started to hate my job. In fact, I started resenting the entire industry I was working in… (my diary made it a lot easier for me to quit my job in 2020.)
- I’ve learned how important my sleep really is. (I’m only ever really unhappy when I’m sleep deprived. Coincidence or not?)
- Money doesn’t buy me happiness. Or at least, spending things on materialistic items hardly makes a difference to my happiness. (my diary was really clear on this one. Which makes saving money easier and more fun 😉)
Another benefit of keeping a diary that I haven’t talked about yet:
Writing a diary increases your subconscious ability to control how you perceive the world around you. This has a lot to do with the fact that writing a diary increases your self-awareness.
Last year, we published the results of one of our studies:
We surveyed over 1,000 people and asked them simple questions about their happiness.
It turns out that people who think that happiness can be controlled are 32% happier on average.
But what can you do with this info?
What I want you to take away from this study is that you can be happier if you try to find areas where you can be in control of your happiness. Then focus on improving those areas.
A diary is one of the most efficient tools to help you realize what these areas are.
The Tracking Happiness Diary
If you ever wanted to start a diary or want to power up your current diary habit, the Tracking Happiness Diary might be just for you.
Here are some of the many benefits:
- No more risk of ever losing your data.
- Frictionless diary writing without limitations.
- Always accessible via your email.
- The diary comes with your own personal dashboard.
- Receive weekly overviews of your diary.
- No need to install anything, whether you prefer a laptop, mobile or tablet.
- Filter your diary for specific happiness factors.
- Analyze and compare weeks, months and years all at once.
- Many, many more.
- No set-up required
- Easily edit and download your data
- No need to install an app
- Always accessible via your email
- Only you can access and view your data
- Laptop, tablet and mobile friendly
- Proven method based on scientific studies
- Track your happiness on a scale from 1 to 100
- Frictionless diary writing, no limitations
- Track your positive and negative happiness factors
- Unlimited diary entries
- Customize and track as many factors as you want
- Remembers your previous happiness factors
- Detect negative trends early and take action
- Get automatic advice on both positive and negative factors
- Analyze weeks, months and years all at once
- Filter your diary for specific factors
- Reflect on your happiness at the end of each month and year
- Export your data to a spreadsheet whenever you want
- Easily Import data from another journal or app
- Your data is safely stored in the cloud
- Always receive a weekly backup (in a spreadsheet)
- Weekly overviews sent to your inbox
Browse through my diary yourself
I’ve decided to let you browse through my diary YOURSELF.
You can access my personal dashboard here.
This dashboard contains the last 2 years of my diary. I filtered some of the data so that my life isn’t completely public. 😉
Because I want to show you how insightful your personal dashboard can be once you turn your diary into a habit.
So how badly did my work affect my happiness in 2020? Find out yourself:
- Open the dashboard -> Select the dates from Aug 17, 2019 to Sep 14, 2019.
- Then have a look at what a nosedive my happiness made…
- Scroll back up and navigate to the 3rd page of the dashboard. Then scroll down to see what negative factors had the biggest impact on my happiness.
It’s Tired, Stress and Work. Do these sound familiar?
My happiness diary made it really easy to decide: I need to find another line of work…
(For those interested: I worked in offshore engineering at the time.)
It’s not that I needed this dashboard to tell me what I needed to do. But looking at the data objectively made it easier to make this difficult decision. My options:
- Continue working in offshore engineering and become unhappier, or…
- Take control of my life and find something that makes me happy instead.
I share my data online to show you how actionable your diary can be.
When you start to track your own happiness, it will take a couple of days before your dashboard contains any actionable advice.
But with each entry in your diary, you’ll see trends starting to develop. You’ll see what factors have the most impact on your happiness. And before you know it, you’ll have a rich dashboard filled with data that’ll allow you to learn from the subtleties of life.
If you don’t know if this is something you’ll enjoy doing, there’s a free 28-day trial.
For now, I would like to hear from you:
What factors have impacted your life the most? Have you ever thought of tracking these factors?
Write me back and let me know. Your replies to Friday’s email were really nice to read, and as usual, I reply to them all.