Dec 27, 2017

2017 in review: analytic

Narrative part of this year's review here. 2016 review here: Part 1, Part 2.

Life satisfaction

On a scale of 0 to 5 (5 high), my average life satisfaction in 2017 was 3.8. I subjectively assessed life satisfaction at the end of each day or near the beginning of the next day. My best days were 5/5, and my worst day was a 1/5.


The pink line is the week's average life satisfaction score, and the green line is a 6-week rolling average. The overall trend goes something like:

  • very satisfied in the first third of the year
  • grew less satisfied in the middle of the year
  • became very satisfied again towards the end of the year (though with higher variance)

Last year, my average life satisfaction was 3.7. So I don't think I became appreciably happier in 2017.

My average mood in 2017 was 3.88, remarkably close to my average life satisfaction score. I used the Reporter app to subjectively assess my mood once or twice a day at a random time. In 2016 I found a similar closeness between my life satisfaction score and my randomly prompted mood score. I take this closeness as evidence that my data does not suffer from a retrospective rose-colored glasses bias.


My life satisfaction score tracks pretty well with the amount I exercised each week (2.6 times/week on average; low: 0 times/week, high: 4 times/week). Causality is tricky to sort out, but I think the implication is that I should exercise more.


I started tracking when I meditated in the last quarter of 2017. On average, I sat twice a week (low: 0 times/week, high: 6 times/week) There doesn't appear to be a relationship between the amount I sat & my life satisfaction score.

However, I only have a quarter's worth of data, and I could imagine that meditation only bears fruit after a long period of consistent practice. These considerations, coupled with powerful experiences I have had while sitting, encourage me to continue developing a consistent meditative practice.


My favorite posts from 2017:

At the beginning of the year, I thought I would post less in 2017 than I did in 2016. I actually posted slightly more this year (2017: 41 posts, 2016: 35 posts). Many of my recent posts have been interesting excerpts from things I am reading – this type of post only takes a few minutes to create.

Looking forward to 2018, I suspect I will keep posting interesting-excerpt-type things so long as I find it fun.

Also, I've decided to deprecate the [rereads: X, edits: X] counter, as it was becoming annoying to keep updated and most posts were either falling into a 1-reread, 0-edit bucket or a many-reread, many-edit bucket.

Other notes

In late 2016, I began assessing conscientiousness in addition to life satisfaction each day. By March 2017, I found my daily assessment framework becoming too onerous to be enjoyable. So, I stopped assessing conscientiousness & substantially pared down the framework. I want my daily assessment to be as lightweight as possible, so that I can consistently use it for many years without it becoming a drag.

I've decided to stop including my framework for evaluating performance in these yearly reviews. I'll write more about this in the next part of this review, but the basic reason is that as my writing receives more attention, I don't want to have to think carefully about what to make public & how to phrase it.