The Monthly Practice Report: Aug ’11 – Jan ’12 Recap
After tracking my entire life for the last six months, let’s see what trends and patterns may have emerged, and if anything has improved!
To lose weight or to get in shape, many suggest to keep a food journal – the thinking is that when you have to write down what you’re eating, you’re going to be more mindful of your choices.
At one place I worked, my boss asked me to keep a record of what I did during the day, to see how much time various projects and parts of the business required. I certainly felt more productive during the days I had to write that info down!
As I’ve been hyper-aware of how much I’m exercising, when I’m going to bed, and what percent of the time I eat animal products, I know it’s definitely affected my adherence to the goals I’ve set.
For example, I can see the number of days per month of wearing my contacts decreased as I started tracking this data. This has always been something I’ve thought more about doing, yet had never committed to.
Guess I just need to start writing it down!!
I’ll admit that for many of these items, I just kind of “feel it out.” If it feels like I’ve worn my contacts a lot, I’ll take a break. If I have the sense that I’ve eaten a lot of meat, or that I’ve been going to bed late, I look at curbing those things naturally.
I rarely go back into my journals and make firm decisions about the coming days or weeks; the one exception is exercise: I’ll take a look and see if there’s any form of movement I haven’t done in a while. Most of the time, though, I feel into what I’d like to do that day: do I feel like stretching, doing yoga, etc?
Six Months at a Glance
Here’s a table of pretty much all the data I’ve been tracking since I started August 3, 2011.
- Some items have not been tracked since the beginning, and are indicated by a “-” in the table (and are not plotted on the graphs, see below).
- By default, the data represents the number of days in the month. For example, with Meditation, I sat for longer than 15 minutes for 14 days in August, 21 in September, etc.
- The Categories in bold, like “Meditation” and “Journaling” – those have been charted out below, so you can see the information a different way.
Quick note on Meditation: I have meditated every day since 5/20/10 – the numbers below reflect how much time each day.
Click on the table for a larger view.
Averages to highlight:
- Good with Food!
- Animal Products – my goal is 20% or less of the time; average: 22%
- Non-Paleo foods – my goal is 10% or less of the time; average: 13%
- Lots of Exercise: I’m averaging some form of movement about 6 days per week
- Frugal Living:
- A combined average of ~$500/month for food and travel costs is pretty excellent to me – a year would only cost $6000!
- Full-time travel lifestyle: only $6500 total for six months! I’m sure I can still find ways to reduce costs – this number is very encouraging, though!
- In many categories (meditation, morning creativity), I’m performing the activities for the majority of the month!
- For journaling, I’m working to increase the average days per month
- For working, if I’m truly enjoying what I’m doing, then I don’t mind working often – I think a big difference is if I’m on the computer for most days. I’d love to institute one day offline per week!
- Journaling has been erratic, but since I made the commitment in January, I’ve been much better!
- It’s no surprise to me that in November, during my longest days, I took many naps; I’d love to see my sleep hours increase, and have been more vigilant about a bedtime (10-11 pm) recently! In fact, in another six months, I’d love to see my average bedtime be an hour earlier!
Check out all the specific data from each month:
A Gallery of Graphs!
Click on any of the charts for larger views.
Here are a couple I want to highlight:
I really love that my meditation practice deepened over this time, and that my exercising stayed fairly consistent.
I believe now that I’m tying these three activities together in the morning, I expect to see the lines run a little more together over the next six months.
August was definitely an expensive month: it was “my vacation” as I drove around and camped for two weeks – not the norm for me, though I certainly can afford one “big trip” each year.
I also think I can keep these individual expenses around that $1000 mark each month.
Any questions? What else would you like to know?
How were the last six months for you?
I’d love to hear your answer + any other comments you have below.
Looking forward to learning more!