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Back in the Netherlands! – Monthly Happiness Report – April, 2016

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Published on , last updated on October 3, 2020

Spectacular views from the domestic flight in Costa Rica

Time for April, 2016! In this new monthly happiness report, I will cover exactly what went on in my life at the time, and how it affected my happiness. I finished my visit to the project in Costa Rica in April. In addition, I also ran my second marathon in Rotterdam, and even joined my first ever painting class! I have tracked my happiness every day, and can therefore show you exactly how my situation and life influenced my happiness.

Let’s take a look at the monthly average happiness data.

This looks pretty constant, right?! It’s exactly the same average happiness rating as the month before! My happiness continued to be quite high, after having experienced a more difficult period a few months before April, 2016. Things were going relatively great πŸ™‚

Let’s take a better look into these happiness ratings.

Monthly happiness

The chart below visualises exactly what my happiness looked like throughout the April, 2016.

As you can see, my happiness ratings were really consistent throughout this month. There was not a single big dip in my happiness, unlike the previous months February and March.


Let’s continue with the factors that influenced these happiness ratings! In addition to tracking my happiness ratings, I’ve also tracked the factors that influenced my happiness. These factors provide a lot more information to my happiness tracking data.

Happiness factors

The table below shows all the happiness ratings for April, 2016.

Finishing my visit to the project in Costa Rica

I was working as an engineer for a big marine contractor at the time, and the job included occasional visits to projects all over the world. At the end of March,I left for a 2,5 week period in Costa Rica, and I was wrapping this trip up in the first week of April.

Life on this project was very different compared to my regular, normal life in the Netherlands. I was working 7 days a week, at least 12 hours a day. It was tough, but certainly rewarding work. Based on my previous experience on challenging projects like these. I knew exactly how to maximise my happiness.

I had spent a period on a project in Kuwait the previous year, which resulted in me burning out and feeling completely miserable. NOPE, I didn’t want any more of that! Therefore, I made my life as efficient as possible. As soon as I got back to my apartment after work, I started my sacred exercise routine. It was a set of simple exercises, repeated in high frequency. It was tough, but I enjoyed it a lot, and it allowed me to blow off steam after challenging days on the project. This was exactly the same routine I did the previous time I was in Costa Rica, and it worked wonders again. It definitely kept me level-headed and sane.

Flying back to the Netherlands was amazing again. Seeing Costa Rica from the skies was a treat to my eyes, and it brought a smile to my face. Absolutely stunning views. It felt great to experience this beauty while technically being paid for it πŸ™‚ The perks of working abroad, right?

Spectacular views from the domestic flight in Costa Rica
Spectacular views from the domestic flight in Costa Rica

I flew back to the Netherlands on the 6th of April. I ran my second marathon on the 10th. Therefore, I only had a couple of days to recover from my jetlag. In addition, I didn’t run at all during my time in Costa Rica. My daily exercise routine was all I did to remain physically fit. I was not sure if it was enough to properly run this marathon.

I want to show you another excerpt from my happiness tracking journal, to give you a better idea of what my life looked like at the time. The following excerpt was written on the 3rd of April, at 21:15. I rated this day with a 7,5.

These couple of days have been alright. Not the best days, but they were alright. My energy levels are declining, so I don’t mind going home. Two days to go, and then I’m flying back πŸ™‚ They have booked me on the flight back to San JosΓ©, instead of the bus. Nice!

I did another rounds of exercises yesterday, I skipped today. I’m starting my period of rest prior to my marathon. Time for ‘carb-loading’, which is basically stuffing my body with energy. It goes against my usual diet, but I’m not complaining πŸ™‚ 

I’ve set my alarm for tomorrow an hour earlier, to prevent/limit my jetlag. Tomorrow, I will set it another hour earlier at 5:00, and the day after tomorrow at 4:00. I’m flying back to Amsterdam on Wednesday, and on that day I will set my alarm at 3:00. I call it my anti-jetlag plan. Hope this shit works…

Back home, I want to immediately focus on my marathon. I must run it under 4:00:00 this time!

After that, I want to meet up with my friends again and join a painting class. I’m curious how that will go. Going to sleep now. Tomorrow morning will be difficult. Bye!

I was pretty worried about this marathon, as you can see. On the 10th of April, I finished this marathon, and it was another fantastic experience. I enjoyed it just as much as my first one! I will cover this marathon in another ‘Good Day‘ post, so keep an eye out for that! πŸ™‚ I’ve written about this experience here.

Life back in the Netherlands

The rest of April, 2016 was rather uneventful for me. My girlfriend was away on an educational trip to Indonesia at the time. My relationship was therefore challenged a bit again. Luckily however, it wasn’t as bad as the previous period that we barely survived. My relationship was finally recovering, so a couple of negatively influenced days were nothing to worry about.

Just like I promised in my happiness tracking journal, I did manage to meet up with my friends after my marathon. However, this night was not what I wanted it to be. My friends wanted to go to a club, and I didn’t want to be a Debby-downer and spoil the plans. So I went with them, but didn’t really enjoy the night. It was actually pretty disappointing, as I usually love the time spent with my friends.

I also joined my first ever painting class. I will discuss this experience after showing you my positive happiness factors! πŸ™‚

Positive happiness factors

The chart below shows all the positive happiness factors of April, 2016.

As you can see, I found a lot of happiness in working out. During my time in Costa Rica, I continued to exercise a lot. After returning to the Netherlands, I ran a marathon and continued to run afterwards. These activities definitely boosted my happiness.

I also joined my first ever painting class on the 23rd!


As a kid, I used to watch Bob Ross painting on the television, and I absolutely loved the shows. At the end of the last month, I found out that the official channel of Bob Ross was uploading every single episode of the show to YouTube. Fantastic!

I watched a ton of these episodes. I mean, I absolutely devoured them. Not only was Bob Ross a fantastic person to listen to, he made painting look extremely easy. So I wanted to give it a try as well!

So I joined a painting class near Rotterdam, and attempted to create a typical Bob Ross painting of a picturesque landscape. You can see how I did in the animation below. πŸ™‚

My first attempt at a bob ross painting
My first attempt at a Bob Ross painting πŸ™‚

It was amazing to try this, and I was quite happy with the result πŸ™‚ This day was actually one of the best days of the month!

It’s time to show some of the negative aspects of April, 2016.

Negative happiness factors

The chart below shows all the negative happiness factors of this month.

There are two factors that I want to further detail here, and those are my relationship and my tiredness.

My relationship

My relationship was challenged again. After a long time in Relationship Hell, we were finally recovering the past couple of months. However, at the end of April, 2016, my girlfriend traveled to Indonesia for a brief educational trip. Our communication during this time apart was not great, and so the relationship slowly became a negative happiness factor again. As a result, the happiness ratio was pretty bad this month.

I have analysed my relationship and exactly how it influences my happiness in a gigantic post, which you might enjoy πŸ™‚

Anyway, my girlfriend and I were not worried that much, as we had experienced (and survived) much more difficult periods apart!


My happiness was negatively influenced by a lack of sleep on four days during the month. Only one of these days occurred during my time in Costa Rica, during which I worked at least 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Well then, how come I wasn’t getting enough sleep during my – relatively easy – time back in the Netherlands?

I have discussed my sleep behaviour and discipline before in a previous post, and will eventually create another huge analysis of how sleep exactly influences my happiness in the ‘Happiness Through…‘ section.

Anyway, I had some trouble getting to bed early, and my alarm was not of the forgiving kind. No matter how tired I was, I still had to get my ass out of bed. The culprit here was obviously my lack of discipline regarding going to bed at a decent time.

What didn’t here was the amount of videos of Bob Ross I watched on YouTube. Just about every night in April, I watched at least a full episode of the show before trying to sleep. This resulted in 20 minutes less sleep a day, at the very least. Some nights were much, much worse.. I don’t know if this effectively reduced my happiness. On one hand, I was feeling more and more tired after staying awake for too long. On the other hand, staying up late allowed me to completely tune-out of the daily challenges while watching Bob Ross paint a “majestic happy little painting”.

It also kept me motivated enough to actually sign up for this painting class I did. Therefore, I still don’t know whether or not this lack of sleep effectively reduced my happiness ratings. Keep an eye out for my ‘Happiness Through…‘ section if you want to find out!

Closing words

That’s it for this month! April, 2016 was a good month for me. I not only successfully finished my time on the project in Costa Rica again, I also ran my second marathon and joined my first ever painting class πŸ™‚ I will cover my experience running the Rotterdam Marathon in the next article.

If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer you!



Hugo Huijer

Founder of Tracking Happiness

Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 7 years.

6 thoughts on “Back in the Netherlands! – Monthly Happiness Report – April, 2016”

  1. Hello admin please fill me in a bit.

    So you are posting the journals you wrote to track your happiness in your past, right?

    Your writing process is great and well detailed and I find this Journal/personal voice interesting and helpful. Its as if I am reading your diary which was written such that it would help others.

    • Hey Megan,

      That’s right. I’m trying hard to catch up to the present! At the moment, I have about 18 months to catch-up, so it will take me a little while longer lol.

      The fact that you enjoy reading this brings a smile to my face! The goal of publishing the contents of my happiness tracking journal is to inspire as much people as possible. I’m planning to eventually branch out with my website, to try and reach more people πŸ™‚ I hope to keep you around! πŸ˜‰


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