Example Program

Using SAYA to track physical and mental well-being.

A few things to note about this particular program:

• The Objective is to maintain top physical and mental performance and increase longevity.

• This Program was created over about 7 years, and has been calibrated to the lifestyle and goals of one particular person. Your goals, interests, and tolerance level for various Activities may be completely different. This Program is also the result of a large amount of iteration and fine tuning of scoring. Building a Program that works for you will take some experimentation and willingness to iterate.

For example:

Caffeine has a negative effect on me, but the magnitude isn’t that big. At first I scored it -10 if I had at least one fully caffeinated drink, but I realized it made no sense to score a cappuccino and two bourbons as the same magnitude effect.

At first I scored alcohol as an automatic -10 with -10 as the ceiling. I eventually realized a single drink should be scored lower, but there shouldn’t be a cap on how big the negative score is if you keep drinking.

After reading a lot about longevity, I added cold showers, supplements like NR (nicotinamide riboside), meal skipping and vegetarian/vegan days. At first I thought these were just going to be annoying sacrifices to achieve higher scores, but I soon learned that my body feels great when I do them. As you start using your Program, you will realize there are Activities that are missing. SAYA lets you add, delete and reorganize Activities and modify how they are scored whenever you want, as well as change you scoring goal. This gives you the power to optimize and recalibrate your Program as you start using it.

Once you have created your list of positive and negative scoring Activities, think about what your highest scoring but achievable day might look like and what your lowest scoring day would look like. For my Program they would look something like this:

Best day: +65 (Surfing +15, Meditation +20, Cold shower +10, Hot tub +1, Reading +5, Vegetarian Day +15, Caffeine -1)

Worst day: -42 (Sugar -8, Processed Carbs -8, Caffeine -6, Alcohol -15, Overeating -5)

Now map out, realistically, what a 7 day week might look like where you are consciously trying to achieve a high score if you were using your Program. Add the daily scores up and divide by 7. This should give you an idea of what kind of 7 day average score you should set as a Goal. Set a 7 day moving average Goal that is ambitious but achievable. Once you have a framework within which to track how you are doing, you start figuring out ways to get your score higher and higher. What once seemed onerous becomes an opportunity to help you score higher. Over time, using roughly the same Program, I have steadily moved my 7 day moving average goal from 12 to 35 and have been able to achieve it most of the time.

Some of this may seem very subjective; how many negative points do you assign for a bowl of ice cream? A single cookie? What if it is a small vs large cookie? Having rules helps, particularly for Activities that represent weaknesses or vices or that can be hard to quantify. For example, I have a maximum of -10 for sugar because eating sugar makes me feel bloated and uncomfortable so it isn’t something I ever max out on. If sugar is a weakness for you, try assigning negative points based on actual grams of sugar consumed and don’t have a limit on negative points. It is critical to get started using SAYA and then adjust your Program as needed. If you feel like you are doing well on your scoring yet not feeling or functioning at your best, consider increasing the negative points for the most harmful Activities, increasing the positive points for the most beneficial Activities, and/or raising your Goal.