On the first day of 2017 I started a bullet journal. My initial intentions were to use it as a daily planner and accountability tool, where I wrote down goals and important dates. I thought I’d use it to take notes on our trip, jotting down the specific details I always forgot when it came time to write about a place.
Over time, it evolved into something else. I found that I didn’t care about planning ahead, to-do lists, or writing down goals, but I was fascinated by the habit tracker aspect. This was a chance to get hard numbers on exactly how often I did things like exercise or drink alcohol. I always thought I exercised ‘regularly’ and drank ‘in moderation,’ but was it true?
Only one way to find out.
In January 2017 I kept track of how often I:
- Did yoga
- Drank alcohol
- Published a blog post
- Worked on my book
- Transcribed my grandma’s old diary (pictured above)
- Ate a meal out
- Didn’t eat meat
That changed over time, and what I eventually focused on was how often I:
- Did yoga
- Did other exercise
- Ate meat
- Bought coffee
- Drank alcohol
The categories are flawed; they don’t specify amounts. A ‘meat day’ could have been a bite of Jared’s pie or a plate of fish and chips. A ‘drank alcohol day’ could have been a single beer or a full day at the wineries. I wasn’t too worried about the details, I was just curious about how often I actually do certain things.
On December 31st I tallied up the numbers to find out. Some habits weren’t so bad: I bought 39 coffees throughout the year, and 10 of those were $1 coffees in Bali. (I did drink coffee every day but who’s counting?) I also ate meat on 104 days in 2017 and did exercise on 173 days.
The most eye-opening figure was the alcohol consumption: there were 155 days during the year when I drank some amount of alcohol. That’s an average of almost 13 days each month, which seemed like an awful lot. I suspect our traveling lifestyle had something to do with it, but I’ll be more conscious of the habit in 2018.
In addition to the daily tracker, I started keeping a list of successful meals we made, which was a handy reference when I was feeling uninspired in the kitchen. I also wrote down every book I read in 2017, and was astonished to find that I read 76 books, which made me feel a bit better about all the alcohol.
I liked this project so much I’ll do it again in 2018, as soon as my new moleskine notebook arrives in the mail. Admittedly it seems weird and vaguely obsessive to tally up my daily activities, but I’m hooked on the reality check it delivers at the end.