Streaks V: Not This Again

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Regular readers of this blog know about me and my streaks, so I thought I would give an update, since it’s been a while. This whole thing probably only interests me, but it helps motivate me to see all this data in one place every now and again. Anyway, here we go.

Every night before I go to bed, I have a mood tracker called Daylio that I use to give a quick rundown of the day’s activities and swings in my mood over time. Not counting tonight’s entry, which of course hasn’t happened yet, I’m up to 424 straight days of tracking my mood.

I also track my daily caloric intake as best as I can through an app called MyFitnessPal. It has an extensive database of items and allows you to input recipes so that even the most complicated foods can be accurately tracked, along with their nutritional information. As of today, I’ve logged 464 straight days’ worth of food.

To help keep my mind limber, I’ve been using two apps, one called Elevate which gives quick exercises in reading, listening, math, and more, and the other called Duolingo, through which I’ve learned the rudimentary basics of Spanish and am now doing the same with Italian. Each of them has an identical streak in place – 344 days now.

The one I came to talk about, however, is my checklist streak. I have a checklist of 21 items that I have to do every day, things that include taking my meds four times a day and checking my blood pressure three times a day as prescribed, eating at proper times (I’m diabetic, so regular food is important, and I’ve been known to skip meals without the checklist), exercise, but also things like leisure time and socialization, and even my daily entry into this blog. Before the middle of January of this year, I’d only every gotten full marks for a day just a handful of times – less than 20 since I started my checklist back in October 2014. But something happened in January that made everything click, and now I’m completing that checklist almost every day. I had a streak of 84 straight days that was ended when I forgot my evening blood pressure one night. There were a few days that I took off shortly after that – I had a trip out of town that I didn’t want the pressure of trying to hit everything on that list every day for, but once I got back in town, I started back up again, and I haven’t stopped since. The new streak hits 85 days tonight, which makes it now the longest uninterrupted streak I’ve ever recorded of achieving full marks.

I’m really proud of that mark, but there’s a part of me that would really, really like another day or two off. I might do that once I hit 90 days; I might decide to keep going until I actually forget to do something – I haven’t decided yet. But for now, I’m going to take a moment to recognize this achievement, and remind myself that the changes that I’m making are good and significant. Sometimes I don’t think it’s any big deal. The more days that I have where my mood stays good and stable throughout the day, the harder it is for me to put my accomplishments in perspective. “Well, this is something that’s expected of you now, isn’t it? So it’s no big deal,” I find myself telling myself. I write these blog posts to remind myself that it is a lot of work and that it’s nothing to minimize, but I find myself doing it from time to time. I write in my blog as much for those following my journey back to “normalcy” as I do for myself, but these posts are mostly for me.

The next big achievement is going to be in five days, when I extend this full marks streak out to three straight months. After that, I’m closing in on a solid year that I’ve been challenging my brain every day. That will be a big deal when it happens.

I haven’t really given much though to how my checklist will change once I’m back in school. Certainly there will be some things that will fall by the wayside, and some new things added. I haven’t changed the items on that checklist in over a year now, because I’ve found a list that works for me. But that list also isn’t taking twelve credit hours a semester into account. Whatever changes happen, I expect the streak to end soon after, because it’ll be a change from what I’ve been doing. But hopefully I can keep it up.

Right now, though, I’m content to wrap things up for the night.

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A Big Milestone

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Regular readers of this blog will know about my daily checklist. It’s a way to structure my day and to challenge myself while I work my way through the issues that have me on disability at this point in time. There are twenty-one items on the checklist each day. Some of them are essential for my health – taking my vitals four times a day to monitor my blood pressure, taking my meds at the appropriate times, eating three meals a day, exercising, getting to bed with enough time to get a decent night’s sleep before starting the following day. Some of them are activities designed to give me some structure to my day – reading in a self-help book, doing my learning activities in the Elevate and Duolingo apps on my phone, writing in this blog, ensuring that I don’t focus entirely on productivity (which I am prone to do) by setting aside time each day for leisure activities and socialization, even if that socialization only takes place via messengers online, plus a generalized “to-do” category that adds things like household chores and occasional tasks that need my attention, like putting together a playlist for my radio show. And historically it’s been very difficult for me to keep my head about me long enough to do all the items on the list. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of forgetting to do something; sometimes it’s just not having the energy to get something done.

Yesterday I completed a huge milestone with regard to this checklist. Yesterday represented thirty straight days of completing full marks on my checklist.

I started this checklist on October 24, 2014, and the number of items on it has fluctuated from the start, but I’ve been on the current list of twenty-one items for the better part of nine months now. Before I started the streak I’m currently on, I’ve managed to complete my checklist a total of 33 times in the nearly 28 months that I’ve been doing this checklist. That means that this streak represents almost half the times I’ve completed my checklist since I started keeping it.

I’m very proud of myself for sticking to it through this streak. There are times it’s been hard – getting out and exercising when you feel like hell because of strep throat isn’t easy or fun, and I admit that I walked a shorter route during that time, but the point is that I went out and did it. I’m especially proud of the fact that this streak is crossing over into a time on the calendar that’s historically rough for me, and I’m showing no signs of letting up on the streak anytime soon.

So that’s my big news for the day. Tomorrow I have something that’s just as big, but you’ll have to wait until then to see what it is.