Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tracking Your Life

Let’s start with dinner. Tonight I finally made Lindsay Curried Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos recipe that she posted almost two years ago.


It was fantastic, super easy and healthy! I wish I had made it earlier. I did add lettuce and Fresh Corn Avocado Salsa on top.


This week Lisa posted about how she tracks her workouts and food. Her post really got me thinking. I am a huge fan of tracking food, fitness, finance and faith. I use a variety of methods to keep myself accountable for my actions.

One of my biggest pet peeves is constant complainers. Now, don't get me wrong I know I complain too. I know my initial reaction to many events is complaining (I’m working on this). It is so hard to look at the bright side when something doesn't go your way. But there are certain areas of life that can be improved by keeping track and staying accountable. 

Tracking is an excellent way to stay accountable and make you realize that you have control over your life, which in my case results in less complaining. Since the wedding, my workout routine has been less than stellar, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to explain why I feel sluggish this week. The only way to fix this feeling is to get back to my normal routine. Likewise for my more recent food choices.

photo 1

For food, I use MyFitnessPal App on my phone. I'll be the first to admit that food tracking is the “tracking area” where I am most likely to slack off. I get into a routine and keep it for a month or two and then find myself slowly drifting away. As soon as I catch myself drifting I start using the app again for a few weeks until I am back to a routine. The best thing about using the MyFitnessPal App is it has taught me how many calories are in the foods I commonly eat. You better believe I think twice about that extra serving or an evening FroYo trip when I plug it into the App before I eat it.


For workouts, I use Google Calendars. I simply put the workout I did that day as an "All Day" event. I have a separate calendar for my workouts so I can easily see it on it's own if I want. You better believe its pretty motivating to scroll through the months and see which months I excelled (May, above) and which months I slacked off (July, three workouts so far this month). And yes, there is a direct correlation between my mood and my workout frequency.

photo 2

Faith is the most recent area of my life that I started keeping track of. I mentioned this the other day, but I love She Reads Truth. The community is has created has made me more accountable of daily scripture. I am not the most religious person in the world (by far), but I do like the idea of a daily lesson. YouVersion does just that.

I can access YouVersion on my iPhone and from my computer, so staying on top of my reading plans is easy. I also love the calendar feature where I can see how well I have done a following along. Recently, I have also started a "Prayer Journal" to log my thoughts about the daily scripture or lesson. I loved the groups most recent plan "Living the Surrendered Life" and can't wait to find out what's next.


And for finances, I use Nothing new there. I have been tracking my finances or budget since college. It all started with a simple budget tool that came in my planner and exploded from there. Today, my preferred method is because it automatically updates with our bank accounts. Yes, OUR bank accounts. Jay and I have not officially merged money since I still have to change my name, but I can now see what he spends on

assets over timeOur assets spiked in May 2012 because we merged our money.

Thankfully merging money wasn't very traumatic since we had gone through a few budgeting exercises in 2010. Now, our (as in my) biggest problems with Mint are with what goes where. Jay started with a very generous spending money category because I thought I would put every one of his non-living-expense purchase there. That changed. I realized that gifts were now coming from us both, we most often eat out together and when you own one car it is really hard to divide gas. So now our budgets for gifts, gas, restaurants are combined and he has a smaller personal budget.

Of course, our budget will continue to change and evolve as Jay moves back in with me permanently, he gets a job and our priorities change. But this is why I love, it provided for a seamless transition from one persons budget to a family budget on the same account. Now we (I) will continue to tweak as our lives evolve.

I can not imagine keeping track of where my money is going, how frequently I work out, what I really thought about that passage and what I put in my mouth in my mind alone. These tools are easy to use, keep me accountable and help relieve my stress.

How do you keep yourself accountable? What areas of your life do you track?