Welcome to November. The busiest month of the year in many ways. With the days getting shorter, it's getting more and more difficult to enjoy the beauty of the Autumn outside. Especially when you're stuck in traffic!
But the moments that I was outside, the beautiful Autumn colors were magical. And that's part of what made me happy in November!
How happy, you ask? Here's how happy I was in November 2018.
Not bad! A 7.87 is just about average for me, which is nice considering how busy November was for me.
You see, November was one of my most productive months ever.
I busted my ass off at work, tried to run as much as possible again, and made some pretty nice steps with this website (the one you're reading right now!).
It's good to see that my happiness did not suffer because of it!
Anyway, let's see how my happiness developed this month!
The chart below visualizes exactly what my happiness ratings looked like throughout November. Like always, I have added some comments to this chart to add context.
Apart from a couple of relative dips, I'd say November was a great month!
My happiness was above average most of the time, and I really enjoyed my simple life in the Netherlands.
For those who don't know me: I really appreciate a quiet weekend or moments of relaxation. I don't need the most exciting life in order to be happy. A simple walk outside can make me just as happy as anything else, really.
That's what you see in the graph.
Despite the fact that nothing spectacular happened, I was still very happy throughout the month.
Let's have a look at the total set of data for November!
The table below shows all the happiness factors that influenced my happiness in November 2018.
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You can see a couple of days that were negatively influenced by stress.
I want to highlight one of these days.
You see, November was a great month, but also a very busy month. I was very busy at work, tried to run as much as possible again, and continued to work hard on this project (Tracking Happiness!)
I let it get to me on the first day of November, which I rated with a 7.5 on my happiness scale from 1 to 10.
A pretty tough day. Everything was fine at the office. Woke up early and got in before 07:00. It's still busy, and spent a lot of time at work just socializing. And that takes a lot of energy from me. We also met our newest colleague today, which will hopefully make life easier. But I still feel pretty unenergized.
Actually, I feel pretty frustrated. I was stuck in traffic on the way back, which was a huge pain in the ass. One of the busiest traffic I've ever seen. And it made me sick.
When I got back home, I hoped I could get rid of my frustrations by running. But it backfired quite a lot. It only made things worse, as I'm still not as fit as I would like. So after finishing my run, I said Fuck it and went to the supermarket to buy snacks.
And that was my evening in a nutshell. Spent the rest of the evening on the couch, watching soccer and browsing the internet.
Now it's already late, and I know I'm gonna regret this tomorrow. It's undeniably going to be a shitty day. I don't want to work.
Oh, before I forget: I really enjoyed playing the guitar for an hour this evening. I learned to play the first part of Bohemian Rhapsody (untill the solo). I love it. These quiet moments of peace, when I feel in touch with the music. That's when I can finally lose myself - and my frustrations - in a peaceful moment. It makes me happy.
So as you can read, the month started in a relatively stressful period. I was busy at work, and the traffic only made it more difficult to maintain a happy mindset.
I mean, it's pretty hard to stay positive when you're stuck in traffic like this for more than an hour...
Luckily, the next couple of days improved. I especially enjoyed the weekends in November!
My girlfriend and I tried our best to avoid any responsibilities or appointments over the weekends: we wanted to use this time for ourselves to JUST RELAX.
And that's exactly what we did on Sunday the 11th of November. I rated this fantastic Sunday with an 8.5. It was one of the best days of the month.
What a fantastic day. Woke up at 09:15 feeling fresh and well-rested. Let me describe the perfect Sunday morning ritual: Taking an hour or so to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee with a couple of sandwiches in front of the window that looks over the street.
It's such a peaceful way to start the day. Especially now that the Autumn colors are showing.
Spent a part of the day shopping for Christmas decorations. My girlfriend is very eager to dress-up our appartment, so I just follow her with the shopping cart. It makes her happy, so I like it as well 🙂
Ran another 5.3 kilometers after that, trying to go as fast as I can. Apparantly, my top-speed is 12.8 km/hr now. I'm pretty happy with that. Played some games together and worked on the website some more, before calling it a day. Going to bed now. Time for a new week, and I must say, I'm actually looking forward to it! I hope work will be good!
These kind of Sundays are soooo nice for me.
Even though nothing special happens, it's the little things that make me happy the most, like:
- Waking up relaxed with a nice breakfast
- Going for a walk with my girlfriend
- Going for a short run
- Just hanging out and having fun in our apartment
It's the boring but happy life that I've come to love.
Another simple thing that made me happy in November was the beautiful Autumn.
There's a small window of about 2 weeks in which the colors of the leaves transform into something extremely beautiful. That, in combination with the nice and cold weather, results in stunning scenery.
My girlfriend and I went for a lot of long walks through the forest that is just around the corner from where we live.
Don't you think these colors are just amazing?
I've really come to appreciate this small window of ~ 2 weeks in the Autumn. It starts when the color of the leaves starts turning and ends when all the leaves have dropped.
After these 2 weeks, the most depressing period of the year starts: the cold, wet and bland winter. As I type this post and look outside, there's not a single leave on the trees anymore. 🙁
Anyway, I really enjoyed the beautiful Autumn colors while they lasted! This definitely had a positive influence on my happiness!
Let's first have a closer look at all the other happiness factors that positively influenced my happiness!
Positive happiness factors
The chart below shows all the positive happiness factors of November 2018.
My biggest positive happiness so far in 2018 is by far my relationship. November was no different.
I spent a lot of time with my girlfriend, and it was nice to continue our normal and uneventful life in the Netherlands.
Ever since we moved in together, we've made it a habit to go on walks outside together. It may sound dull and boring to you, but to us, these walks are awesome and super nice.
Why? Three reasons:
- It's a moment to have nice talks with each other, without being constantly distracted by electronics and/or media. Or in other words, quality time together!
- It's really easy to clear your head while walking. Whatever frustrations we have, it usually gets much better after a long walk.
- It's healthy!
We especially liked walking through the forest close to our apartment on the weekends. This "relaxing" was very nice and had a huge positive impact on my happiness.
I also continued running as much as possible, in preparation for my 5th marathon! I still have a long way to go, but it feels good to be back on my feet!
Let's see if I can continue running this often now that it's getting colder!
Anyway, November was a very nice month for me, as I enjoyed a lot of the things that I'm passionate about.
What about the things I didn't enjoy?
Negative happiness factors
The chart below shows all the negative happiness factors of November 2018.
These negative happiness factors are all easily explained.
Being tired, agitated, and stressed were a result of simply being too busy. I think I could have prevented these negative influences if I had taken things a little easier, both at work and at home.
Lesson learned: I need to keep my agenda clear as much as possible! Too much things to do can turn into stress and restlessness.
On the 28th of November, I wrote about how much my work was mentally taxing me. Why? Because I had to spend the entire day & night in a hotel to discuss a project with one of the clients of my employer.
I rated that day with a 7.5, which wasn't necessarily bad. But you'll see how this day had a negative impact on my happiness, especially after having already been very busy throughout November.
A very tiring day. My girlfriend and I carpooled to work, which was nice. But the rest of the day was just super exhausting. Spent the entire day in a hotel with the project team and client, in order to build a strategy and get to know each other.
It lasted from 9 in the morning until 11 in the evening, and I'm completely drained. It's 23:30 and I'm finally back in my hotel room. I spent the entire day socializing with colleagues and pretending I'm a guy who loves small talk and to chit chatter about our profession. We constantly had to sit in a circle to discuss how we're going to make this project a whopping succes. But it felt very forced and cringe-ey. Fuck this shit. I'm drained. Going to bed now. Bye!
The days in which I was mentally exhausted by my work were easily the worst of November.
But it's all relative since none of these days were strictly "bad". They were just "less good".
And that's a good sign to me! It means that November was a pretty happy and successful month, despite the challenging circumstances!
That's where I want to stop this Monthly Happiness Report.
November was a great month, in which my happiness was positively influenced by the little things! The beautiful Autumn colors, spending time with my girlfriend and just relaxing in my apartment were responsible for most of my happiness!
With just one month remaining, I'm hoping I can end 2018 on a high!
I hope these posts give you a general idea of what tracking happiness means to me. Because I'm tracking my happiness ratings and factors every single day, I am fully aware of what I need to do in order to become as happy as I can be. With that said, I hope I can somehow inspire you to also start tracking your happiness. 🙂
If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I'll be happy to answer you!