Category Archives: stats

March Personal Challenge : Be More Active











This year, I set some New Year’s Resolutions, mostly principle based, to help me improve how I feel about myself and about my life.

The idea, when I had them, was to take one or two or three of the principles and work on them in any given time period (months being the most obvious.)

I’ll do a Jan-Feb wrapup here in a post or two, but I wanted to share an experience and my thinking about March.

In February, for reasons still a bit unclear to me, I asked myself a question: “Can I underspend a particular budget category?”

I do pretty good with my budget, but there is one line item that I constantly overspend: Shopping. I bin all of my Amazon purchases, clothes purchases (“Dress Better”), and most household goods to this category, and so have a tendency to overspend.  It’s not a problem to my overall budget, as I’ve got a lot of wiggle room baked in.  But I wanted to see if I could for once, spend within that budget on purpose. (“Deliberate practices”)

I’m happy to report that I could. It actually took a bit of work to rein back some impulse purchases, but I made it, underspending my budget by $43! No creative accounting or anything, although I did use points to pay for one Amazon purchase.

As I thought about the experience, I wondered what kind of a question could I ask myself for March.  I have been playing with the idea of eating Paleo or vegetarian for a month (“Cook More”), but felt like I need a bit more time to learn about those particular diet systems.  I’ve been meaning to start back up my Morning Mile (“Deliberate Practices” / “Be More Active”) once the weather starts to warm back up again. I had a great experience with that practice during November, and put it on the back burner for winter.

At approximately the same time I was pondering these big questions, I found an article about getting data out of the FitBit system into a Google Document.  I love my FitBit, but I’ve never been able to really analyze my habits with it. It’s great on a one off daily analysis, but I wanted to know how I have been changing over time.  Am I walking more? Am I walking less?

I spent some time figuring it out, but I’ve got my data over to a spreadsheet, where I learned some very interesting things.  For example, last November was my 2012 high for average daily steps: about 7,600 vs my long term average around 5,500. (No surprise, thanks to the Morning Mile). I was surprised that I only hit 10,000 steps in a day only 16 times in 2012.  Sundays are my least active day, and Saturdays are generally my most active, but in 2013 so far, it’s been a virtual tie between Mondays and Thursdays. I’ve apparently been more interested in watching TV on Saturdays than going for a walk. Cut me some slack, it’s cold in January and February!

I decide my question for March would be: Can I average 10K steps?  Can I get more 10K step days in March than I did last year? What does it look like if I try to get more walking in?

I started out on Friday with a Morning Mile, and by the end of the day had only made it to 9000 steps. (I definitely took a few extra trips downstairs at bedtime for things I had “forgotten” to get past 9000.) Saturday, I may have overcompensated with a walk, a row, and then picking the vacuum cleaner at Chapel Cleanup. I hit 10K shortly after noon and ended the day with 14K steps.  Already today I am at or above my Sunday average.

The graphs at the top of the page should show you how I’m doing. They should update daily. I’ll report back in April and let you know how it went.

32 Short Statisics

I’ve compiled a list of 32 statistics which I believe describe my experience in 2009 quite nicely. Did I miss any vital statistics? Do you have any statistics about your year that you’d like to share?


  • 10Ks: 1 (plus 1 5.7mile almost 10K)
  • 5Ks: 5
  • Blog Posts: 150 on three different blogs
  • Books purchased about Writing: 6 (two of which were Stephen King’s On Writing. Oops)
  • Complete Television Series watched: 3 (Jericho, Battlestar Gallactica, Pushing Daisies)
  • Devices purchased which contain GPS devices: 4
  • Emails forwarded to the Hill Street Ward List: 249 (Interesting fact: First and last email forwarded this year had to do with Chapel Cleanup)
  • Favorite Books read this year: The Book Thief, The Shadow Gate Series, The Alchemist, The World Without Us
  • Favorite New Games: Dominion, Bohnanza
  • Favorite New Music Groups: Jack’s Mannequin, Blind Pilot
  • Games I play on Facebook: 3 (Mousehunt, MythMonger, Mafia Wars)
  • Geocaches found this year: 58
  • GPS devices left underwater within one week of purchasing: 1
  • Great Lakes which I skipped rocks into: 3 (Huron, Michigan, Superior)
  • Half-Marathons: 1
  • Least Favorite Books read this year: Little Brother, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Maximum Consecutive Days Skipping Rocks into Great Lakes: 5
  • Miles run: 245 (Per Nike+ iPod) Stopped using in July
  • Miles run: 342 (Per Garmin GPS) Started using in April
  • Months in which I ran a race: April, May, June, August, September, October, November, December
  • Movies I actively hated: The Seeker
  • Movies which I unexpectedly liked: Hoop Dreams, East of Eden
  • New Year’s Resolutions that I actually completed: 1 (Run a Half-Marathon)
  • New Year’s Resolutions that I can still remember: 3 (Run a Half-Marathon, Write Something Every Day, Do 100 Pushups)
  • Number of Pages that constitute my Grad and Undergrad degrees, once scanned: 3,796
  • Pairs of Black Shoes I bought: 3 (and still haven’t really found one I like after the first few weeks)
  • Places visited for the first time that I’ve been meaning to get to: 5 (Kirtland, The UP, Charlevoix, Mackinac Island, Michigan Renaissance Festival)
  • Songs with highest play count on my iPod: Good Christian Men Rejoice (Traditional) – 28; The Black Hawk War, or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience But You’re Going To Have To Leave Now, or, “I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue to Fight… (Sufjan Stevens) – 13; A short reprise for Mary Todd, who went insane, but for very good reasons (Sufjan Stevens) – 13; Go On, Say It (Blind Pilot) – 12;
  • Text Messages (Sent and Received): 863
  • Weight of Thanksgiving Turkey: 23 lbs
  • Woot! T-shirts purchased: 2
  • Writing Classes: 2