I swear that there’s only one thing preventing me from achieving academic, social and general life perfection: effort.

Of course, effort is also the only thing keeping me from a glorious six-pack and taut, bronzed skin. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the PE classes that begin each of my days, because I really do, but the prospect of slapping the snooze on that alarm like it owes me money and sleeping until my noon class is a little too tempting at times. This brings us to today’s theory of life as it relates to my quest to get in shape in the form of what I like to refer to as “effort points.”

The points work like this: Each person is allotted a predetermined amount of life points each week. To get your ass off the couch and in a classroom or to eat good food requires effort points. Choosing instead to stay on said couch and smoke a bowl (or eat a burrito, or drink, etc.) uses fatty points which, on my scale to the right, act as negative effort points. Effort points move your life forward, fatty points move it back. At the end of the week, if you’ve spent more effort points than fatty points, you’re golden. It’s as simple as that.

At the same time, it’s not simple at all. Everyone is different when it comes to how many life points they receive and how they use them. For example, there’s the UCSB sorority system. Homegirl Delta Gamma will hit the gym every afternoon — sometimes twice a day — and go hard while she’s there to attract Homeboy ATO. She’ll tell you all about it in a Facebook status update. So you’d think that she has a lot of effort points, right? Actually, the same girl can be spotted at 2 a.m. at Cucas six-shots deep consuming 7,500 calories worth of California burrito and racking up the fatty points. It’s all about the balance.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the people who don’t necessarily drink their lives away, but don’t go jogging either. These are what we call “boring people.” Avoid them at all costs.

Then there’s me. After my inaugural column went to print, I promptly stayed up until 4 a.m. in celebration of nothing and skipped the next day’s soccer and tennis classes. The following morning, I used the excuse of a new giraffe tattoo on my forearm as reason not to hang out with Legend of the Dome Kathy Gregory on the volleyball courts. Rough start. But I picked it up over the weekend, getting a hike in and playing some football on the beach. Yesterday, I went back into fatty debt when I went to soccer and tennis only to skip my next class to get in a couple rounds of Tuesday afternoon beer pong.

Life is a series of ups and downs. One day I build up the effort points. The next, I drown them all in a puddle of booze. More than a few people have asked me what exactly the point is of taking these classes and what the hell I mean by “getting back in shape.” By the end of the quarter, I want to be in the black when it comes to my life points. For me, the life point system will guide me to offsetting a pitcher at Gio’s with a protein shake and a wheatgrass shot every once in a while. Step one? Get my lazy ass off the couch. At least I’m self-aware.