Monday, August 6, 2018 (Project 4 of 12)

I’m excited to introduce project 4 of my 12 projects in 12 months challenge:

I’ve never been very athletic but I keep myself in good shape. I keep a tally of my body fat and weight each month. Ever since 2011, it’s never migrated over 5 lbs of where it needs to be. I do this through consistency. My friends have wondered how I have been able to keep it up through all these years. One of the key reasons for my prolonged fitness: Social Accountability and habits. But it wasn’t always that way.

6 years ago at my previous job I met a friend who was an amateur body builder. I was looking for fitness advice so I asked him about his workout routine. He showed me his routine in a calendar that he created in Google sheets.

He and a friend had been logging their workouts in this shared document. They would use it to keep track of their own workouts as well as each others. If one of them failed to track a workout in a short while they would be sure to receive an encouraging inquiry.

My original workout log. Or you might say its version 0.01 of

I soon joined them and was given my own tab in the spreadsheet. Since then I’ve been consistently logging my workouts for years.

Why did this work?

They say what gets measured gets managed. I 100% believe this. If you don’t write anything down, you avoid accountability. This goes for workouts just as much as starting a business. If you don’t keep track, you look back and have no clue why you haven’t made progress. But if you write things down, you are accountable for your actions. You can see right then and there if you did the work or not.

Jerry Seinfeld famously had a system that he credits for him being such a great comedian. He would make a big X on the calendar whenever he would write a joke. Pretty soon he had a week or so of X’s lined up. Once you have a a chain of X’s lined up, it looks pretty nice on the calendar. The next goal is to not mess it up. Don’t break the chain! Consistent daily action builds extraordinary outcomes.

This “don’t break the chain” strategy might be just as strong as the social accountability. I like seeing my “X’s” and that alone might keep me going. However the synergy of the two strategies makes it even more powerful.

So why create

The spreadsheet works but it has its shortcomings because its not tailored for workout tracking.
  • On mobile, Google spreadsheets opens extremely slow and entering data is a chore because it is not formatted well for mobile. 
  • Google sheets on mobile does not work offline. You can view it offline but in order to edit, you need to have a connection. This does not work for me as I do not have unlimited data and the gym does not have wifi (nor does it have reliable 4G). 
  • Tracking is a chore in the spreadsheet. Each month we need to recreate the month template and assign the proper dates. 
  • Pictures. My friend specifically asked for this feature to visually track his gains. 
Also, since my accountability partner has an iPhone and I have an Android, I needed it to work across all devices. I’m solving my own problem after all.

And that’s why I decided to create as a progressive web app (PWA). It is basically a webapp that acts like an Android / iPhone app. You can add it like a native app to your phone as you would a native app by just going to the website. It works offline, it caches things and loads fast.

How’s the 12 projects in 12 months going?

The projects that I am doing are small and fun. They are scratch my own itch projects that solve my own problems. Thus, I know that I will have a user base of at least 1 if no one else likes them (although I really hope you do!). My goal is to start with small wins and learn the ropes of building and selling while I progressively work on more ambitious projects.

I’ve been learning about ways to spread the word. I did my first Product Hunt launch and have been engaging on Twitter, IndieHackers, and writing medium articles!

I was asked to chime in on whether I thought the 12 products in 12 month challenge.

Is success in 12 products in 12 month challenges a statistical outlier?

I’ll repost my response here:
In my article I talk about how I think the challenge solves 2 major problems:
Not getting started
Spend too long building product
I like to think of it as all the challenge does is put in constraints to help about with those. Like training wheels for newbie starters like myself. For some people it can definitely help them become more successful. Don’t think its necessary, especially if you know what you are doing. Definitely times where it could hinder you and you might want to break the rules. In fact, you might say the goal of this challenge is NOT to complete the challenge (like Peter Levels).
For myself I feel pretty good about the challenge so far. I think its helped me with problem 1 because.. well before it I’ve never shipped anything. And now I’ve shipped something.
I had a pretty low bar to start. My real goal this year was just to make $1 and I just made my first sale ever ($2!) last week with my 3rd project and I’m really excited about it. Definitely a small win but I thought I’d start small with mostly fun/scratch my own itch projects and try to learn from those and work myself up to more ambitious projects.

Yes! I did actually get my first sale ever with my Android journaling app ( It’s just a couple bucks but it’s so meaningful for me and proves to me that yes, I can do this if I put in the work. I’m hooked.

And still looking forward to September when I will be doing my first digital nomading experience as I attempt to complete the challenge in a foreign country.

Exciting things to come.