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Year in Review: Gratitude

The Year In Review:

GitHub repository (PRIVATE)

I think this is a new review I’d like to start this year and keep going through subsequent years. At a time where negativity surrounds us, it’s important to keep in mind things we’re especially grateful for. So every day for this year, I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal in a Google Sheet.

I’m wondering what the word cloud for this gratitude journal looks like.


So from looking at this word cloud, I think there’s a couple of things that kept me happy this year:

  • Having a routine: There’s a lot of mention of “morning”, “afternoon”, “evening” here, and I think it’s because I did things for which I was grateful during those times and noted the times during which I was doing them. I think this habit was primarily set by using my habit tracker for most of last year, where my day was broken down into “morning”, “afternoon”, and “evening” and I had to accomplish tasks by a certain time period. I think being able to regulate habits is something I no longer take for granted. For me, it’s important to stick to a routine in order to function properly, and a lot of times this year I failed in doing that. So, when I manage to get back on my feet after a bout of bleugh, I’ve marked it in my gratitude journal.

  • Eating good food: Oh my God. So much food. A lot of good food too. I think this year I gained around 30 lbs, mostly from eating at my parent’s place and not being able to work it off, which is hella not great. But during stressful times, and when you can’t see friends / do events around other people / etc. I think I subconsciously turned to food as a form of pleasure and relief / respite. I think this is an important point because I’ve always prided myself on living the simple life, or trying to not enjoy materialistic pleasures in the hopes that if I’ve never experienced something, I won’t have it to miss. Now, I do think that worked in large part for 2020, I haven’t really lost a whole lot this year, and I think it could be useful in later years as I expect more 2020s to occur, but at the same time I think it’s important to find reasons to enjoy life, and food looks like it’s the thing my animal brain turns to. I definitely notice myself being happier after getting some bibimbap, and angrier when I’m eating some homemade porridge. I think this is something I need to own more going forward, since it’s unlikely to impossible to forget a good thing once it happens in your life.

  • Spending time in community: As a guy who prides himself on being independent and individualistic, seeing how often I mention going to Morning Poppins for writer’s group or going to faith-based small group or virtual friend group gatherings in my gratitude journal is pretty interesting. I think, or maybe like to think, I’m pretty detached from the world, but this year has shown how not even I am an island, and need other people to function healthily.

I think practicing gratitude explicitly is important for making sure I stay sane in the short-term, but this exercise is also helpful in terms of understanding what my brain is primed to do or reach towards for emotional comfort, which helps inform some of the priorities for next year’s New Year’s Resolutions and how likely I am to accomplish them.


I digitized my gratitude journal like my fitness calendar and my sleep log and my financial ledger, and generated the following wordcloud:


Should be more reliable than using an online service.