I think the brain science behind New Years resolutions is pretty spotty. Most resolutions are big, nebulous, and really hard to track. They look too big to succeed, and by March they get thrown out the door in the same bag of trash as our gym memberships and library cards.
I'm a want-to-be data nerd. Back in January 2014, I took a different approach to the New Year.
I identified about a dozen behaviors that I wanted to track for the year (miles ran, hours spent studying, etc). Then, I opened up an Excel sheet, and started tracking them. I turned day to day behaviors into metrics, and fluffy resolutions into cold, hard numbers.
Now it's January, and for the third year in a row instead of looking ahead, I'm looking back. It's time to look at 2016 Life Stats.
1. Miles Ran: 315
Just about the distance from Boulder to Taos, New Mexico. In fact, 315 miles would take me right up to Pueblo De Taos. I can dig it.
2. Chinese Hours: 73.5
This one dropped off a lot this year, especially in the fall. Guess that's what happens when you are no longer a full-time student. Definitely planning to amp this one up in 2017.
3. Hours Volunteered: 279
This is almost exclusively time spent working in the high school ministry at my home church. Everything from retreats to premiere showings of Rogue One.
4. Books Read: 34
A mixture of favorites from my library (C.S. Lewis, Bob Goff) and a handful of new reads (Stephen King). Reading time took a hit this year (in 2015 I did 56 books), but I still managed to do one book every 10.735 days. I dig it.
5. Bible Hours: 210
I tried to roll up the number of hours spent in the word. Sometimes it felt like busy work, but getting hours on the clock does increase exposure / understanding / application of scripture. Plus teaching it once a week definitely helps cement concepts.
6. Place Travelled: 20 - 25
I was on the East Coast. I was on the West Coast. I was sometimes on both coasts in the same week. I even tapped the Canadian border to see Niagara Falls from the north side.
7. Planes Ridden: 46
When I was sixteen years old, I flew in a plane for the first time. I was blown away. I thought flying was a once in a life time experience.
Which means I lived 46 lives this year. Take that, cats.
8. People I Spoke in Front of: 7,514
I like to talk. I'm a pretty verbose guy. I wave my hands a lot and throw around a bunch of hyperbolic statements. I'm not saying it's the best way to do life, but at least I have a job that gives me audiences. With 109 speaking engagements, the average crowd in the room was 69 people per talk.
9. Videos Shot: 41
I saw a tripod in BestBuy in May. It was $30. I bought it, and then made two Udemy classes that are hosted online. I have 2,200 students. I also cohost the class with Billy the Irishman (who is me) and Chad the Frat Star (...who is also me).
The walls are thin where I live, so I'm pretty sure the people next door to me were incredibly confused when I was yelling at 10pm on week nights in an Irish accent.
10. Blogs Written: 18
Between this blog, work, and other outlets, I wrote a lot this year. Speaking of writing a lot...
11. Pages Written: 311
Do know how old I was when I started trying to write books? Seventeen. Do you know how many books I've tried to write? More than a dozen. Do you know why I don't now have seventeen books? Because I'm a lazy / easily distracted writer.
I started three or four different books this year. But then inspiration hit in late October...
12. Books Written: 1
I wrote a book in 10 weeks. 65,000 words, 230 pages on a 6 inch by 9 inch page. It unpacks Ephesians 4:29, and it's all about the power of words to build up or destroy people. It's called No Unwholesome Word. Check out the book cover my contract designer made, it's pretty slick.
I've got the book out to beta readers currently, and then I'll do final edits. Hopefully I'll be a self-published author by early spring?
13. Trees Climbed: 8
The legacy of adult tree climbing lives on.
14. 14ers Climbed: 6
14ers. Mountains over 14,000 feet. It's a rush of 2:00am wakeup calls, three hour drives, storm dodging, cliff climbing, and eating a lot of granola. Starting elevations ranged from 10,000 feet to 12,000 feet.
Was it a good year? I think so. You can't measure everything in numbers. Moments with friends, fun nights, long trips, tough days, rough hikes, writers block - sometimes life is too messy to quantify. What I do know is that all the moments that made up my 2016, both the quantifiable and unquantifiable moments, make me all the more excited for 2017.
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