A small update before kicking things off:
I'm going to try something different here.
Previously, all my monthly shared happiness journal updates have been structured exactly the same way. Yes, they all looked the same, even the ones I wrote over 2 years ago.
When I initially formatted these posts, I didn't want to show who I was. I wanted to stay anonymous. Well, things have changed a lot since then: this website is growing, I feel comfortable attaching my face to this idea and want to engage with the readers a lot more (YOU!).
That's why this update will steer clear from the usual format and will be much more personal instead (and maybe a little more chaotic as a result). My previous updates have all been 90% recounting data and ratings, and 10% personal goofy stuff. I now want to turn this around.
Hey! It's Hugo, and I'm here to tell you how July fared for me.
I can't believe that we're already living in August 2019. Just a few more months, and it will already by 2020. I don't want to think too long about this, because the realization of how fast time passes scares me to death.
Let's focus on the last month instead, and see what made me smile!
My biggest happiness factors in July 2019
Here are the happiness factors that had the biggest positive influence on my mood this past month.
If you've been reading these updates for some time already (if you are even out there), then you'll notice how this is pretty much similar to every other month. My biggest happiness factors are usually my relationship, running, relaxing, friends and family. This is nothing special.
However, since I want these happiness journal updates to be less serious and goofier, I'm going to focus on one happiness factor in particular:
This one requires a bit of an introduction.
When I was 7 or 8 years old, my brother got his hands on Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, a revolutionary skateboarding game on the Playstation 1. This game changed my life.
I quickly realized that I wanted to become a skateboarding pro, and put all my savings into a professional skateboard. The next 8 years of my life, that skateboard and I were pretty much inseparable. I quickly learned how to kickflip, heelflip, varial flip, big spin, boardslide, etc., etc., and was considered to be really good for my age. But I never once landed a 360 flip.
Anyway, I'm rambling here. As my life continued and I learned about other hobbies (gaming, guitar, soccer, etc.), skateboarding lost my attention. Fast forward 10 years later, and I still have that same skateboard and keep it in my car at all times. Whenever I need to be somewhere within walking distance, I usually take my skateboard. For example, when I visited the Muse concert last month, I parked my car outside the city limits and skateboarded all the way to the venue.
I'm not as good as I once was, but I still know how to kickflip (proof below, on a deck without wheels):
This video is already 3 years old! But my point is, some of my skateboarding skills have not disappeared.
This July, I went skateboarding twice and I freaking loved it.
I'm going to try to do this more often in August. Hell, I may have rediscovered one of my biggest all-time hobbies. As silly as it may sound, skateboarding allows me to feel young again. I feel a childlike sense of joy when landing a difficult trick after trying a gazillion times.
What's funny is that I tried doing a cool trick off of a ramp the other day and I bailed pretty hard. As a kid, I used to be always covered in scars and wounds. Here's what I look like at the moment, after having skateboarded only twice.
Again, skateboarding allows me to feel like a child again. 🙂 And I love it.
In fact, I love it so much that I have vowed the following to myself (and my girlfriend):
I will land a 360 flip before the end of this year.
Yes, I will land the trick that I've never managed to land before, and I will film it and post it here as proof. I want to give this skateboarding thing a real shot!
Back to my happiness journal
I told you this monthly update was going to be goofier than usual, right? 😉
Let's get back to what these updates are usually about: my happiness tracking data. These are my happiness ratings over the last month.
My average happiness rating in July 2019 was 7.73, which I think is pretty good.
There are 2 pretty big dips in happiness though. That first one was a pretty sudden feeling of immense burnout. Here's what happened:
At the end of last month, I wrote this in my update:
To be honest, I am feeling a little bit burned out at the moment, and it was building up over June. Why else am I feeling absolutely drained and agitated after a regular day at the office? Why else am I not excited to do any of the stuff that I usually want to do? I feel like I'm always trying to hustle, to keep myself busy as that keeps me feeling productive. While I don't think that's necessarily bad, I do believe that the line between feeling productive/energetic and feeling burned out is very thin. I've slowly been crossing that line in June, and I want to stop that.
Well, on the 2nd of July, I had a pretty chaotic day in the office and as a result, something snapped. On my way home, I started feeling sick and stressed out, and once my girlfriend made it home as well, I was feeling like a trainwreck.
I couldn't think straight, felt overwhelmed by everything and just wanted to trap myself in a room, protected from the chaos of my daily life. Sounds pretty dark and emotional, right? Well, that's how I felt.
I clearly crossed the line between "feeling productive/energetic and feeling burned out". Definitely.
I called my manager at work and said I needed a day off, that I was overwhelmed and asked if I could hand over some of my tasks to someone else on our team. He luckily agreed with everything.
My burned out journal entry
Since I'm a huge advocate of journaling, and want to share with the world how much it helps me cope with this type of crap, here's what I wrote in my happiness journal that day:
This day was rough. I call it my crazy, overwhelmed burn-out day. I'm pretty shaken by it.
It started as a regular Tuesday at the office. I had a lot on my plate, and I was busy with 3 of the 6 projects that I am a part of. However, in the afternoon, we got a sudden call from a client. They gave us a week to finetune one of our offers, which would have been okay had they not also given a SHITLOAD OF NEW DOCUMENTS. What they don't seem to understand is that this could change our entire offer. For fuck's sake. While reviewing these documents, we also found out (in the middle of a meeting) that I had made a mistake in my previous offer. Ugh. I fucking hate this.
I eventually entered my car feeling fucking stressed, and due to the chaotic rush hour on the road, it only got worse. When I get home, I was completely devastated. Every single fucking thing annoyed the living shit out of me. Then, as a final drop in the bucket, I ruined dinner and I was just done with it.
I called my manager and told him how overwhelmed I'm feeling and that I need a day off. My girlfriend wouldn't let me go to work anyway. We went for a long walk in the evening and that's all we did. I'm fucking done. My girlfriend worries about me, and hell, even I worry about me at this point. This terrible day came out of nowhere. Just yesterday, I actually enjoyed my work, and today I fucking hate it. I need to change this.
This sounds pretty dramatic and terrible, don't you think? Well, on that second day of the month, this was exactly what was going through my mind.
Let me quickly show you which factors had a negative influence on my happiness in July:
Stress and tiredness.
Those were my real enemies in July.
Oh, my girlfriend and I also had a bad argument one day, but hey, that's part of being in a relationship. 😉
Let's quickly turn the topic of this post around, into something that is actually more positive!
Let's focus on positivity!
After that God-awful second day of July, I was determined to put my money where my mouth is. I was going to:
- Take it easier at work
- Sleep more
- Relax more
I didn't want to feel stressed and tired anymore.
And I must say, I did a preeeeetty good job.
I tried to spend as much time outside, especially in the beautiful sunny weather. I went for more runs, and I even ran a couple of 10K's this past month.
Here's some proof:
This is how I managed to turn July 2019 into a HAPPY month, despite a terrible start.
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I think that's enough goofiness for today, don't you agree?
This update was waaay more fun to write compared to my relatively stale and dull previous updates. If you feel differently about it (I'm assuming here that anybody reads these updates at all) then let me know!
I'd love to get to know you better, so don't be afraid to come and say hi in the comments below!
Who runs Tracking Happiness?
My name is Hugo, and I'm from the Netherlands. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, a passion for data and statistical analysis and am an expert in happiness.
I've tracked my happiness every day for 5 years in a row. And I'm now using my knowledge to inspire you to prioritize your happiness. You see, I'm a strong believer in what gets measured gets managed. I want to show you what I - and many others - have learned while tracking our happiness.
My Happiness Essays have reached thousands of people around the world and have been shared in many places.
With my data, I have inspired hundreds of others to also track their happiness. And I'm hoping this number will only grow more!
December was another nice and quiet month for me personally. I enjoyed all of the things I knew that I liked, and my happiness ratings were great as a result. It was a nice end to a fantastic 2016!
During October, 2014, I started working on one of the projects of my employer in The Netherlands. It actually had a very positive effect on my happiness!
Time for another quick update re: my happiness in September 2019. This post is about the final days of stress in Russia, a fantastic holiday in Bosnia and Herzegovina and finally returning to the Netherlands to continue my normal life again.