Know Your Metrics, Change Your Life

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Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

The title sounds like a marketing ploy, the beginning of a great campaign towards how we market to our customers and conduct research.

It’s not. It’s about your personality, your life. And you might wonder, but Joy, why are you talking about metrics while referring to how you live your life? Well, little grasshopper, pull up a chair and let me tell you.

In the last few months, I’ve had a few terrible flare-ups (I have Fibromyalgia), and I thought to myself, “Well that’s it, I’m going to get fired from my job, and nothing will be worth it anymore.” You see, my ability to sustain employment was the metric I used to measure my worth. If I lost my job, I would no longer move forward in life.

“In fact, I became angry.”

I would crumble, fading into nothingness. (I can feel my mom rolling her eyes at how dramatic I have become as an adult.) Yet, it didn’t happen; I didn’t lose my job. And at this point, you would think that I would have felt optimistic in the general aspect that I could live to fight another day, but I wasn’t happy at all. In fact, I became angry.

My shortcomings

My emotions were on a collision course with my ideas of self-worth. I was sad that I wanted to give up but frustrated that I had to keep going. Talk about a living contradiction.

This contradiction continued to fester as I never identified the metrics by what I considered valuable in my life; I was simply struggling through life. For those who suffer from chronic pain, each day can be terrible or manageable based on your mental fortitude and your desire to overcome. A strong desire to overcome your pain with a miraculous recovery is often met with an opposite reality. No matter how much you want to rise and face the music, there are days when you have nothing more than a weak smile to fight against your inner demons.

A person with short blonde hair looking at a large blank piece of paper in the middle of the road.
Photo by Daniel Gonzalez on Unsplash

Now what?

You could image my emotional distress, so I did what I usually do when I no longer what to deal with reality; I read a book. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson challenged my perception of self, while pimp slapping me in the face with his concepts on metrics. The lessons I learned has begun to change my life on a fundamental level.

Manson explained that our metrics were more than a simple measurement marketable assets, but an evaluation of what we deemed valuable, influential, or sentimental in our lives. I cried. My mind raced as the questions began to fall from my mouth.

What did it mean to be successful?

Why did I fail at personal growth and development?

How did the possibility of impacting another person’s life define who I wanted to be?

The experiment

Though it took a longer time than I initially thought, the understanding of how our metrics affect our lives had wormed its way into my mind. I started with the smaller things; If I could find a joke that made me laugh, I would be happy. Easy! I have a collection of Calvin and Hobbes on my bookshelf that had always made me laugh.

I did it! I laughed, and then I cried, as is the theme here.

It blew my mind that such a simple change could affect my mood so much. The changes that followed were harder, as they should be; I shifted how I valued money.

Metric: All bills paid = success

Method: Schedule all payments, check off a list once payment is approved.

Results: Success

Metric: One new poem a week = progressive steps towards next poetry collection

Method: Think of a concept that I want the poem to expound, and draft a few sentences. Repeat until the process is complete.

Results: Failure, I didn’t take the time to write.

These two examples highlighted the problems I faced. I didn’t make time for the things that would improve my knowledge or work quality. I would roll around on the couch, complaining about work and how it never helped me get closer to my goals.

Yes, my finances were taken care of, but my personal and career goals got nowhere. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs had slapped me in the face once more.

New Metrics, New Me

How do you establish your new metrics?

What questions must you ask yourself to reveal what you really want in life? You could talk to a therapist or a longtime friend, but you must remember that you ability to be honest with yourself is key to creating new definitions for your life. Personally speaking, I hated the process, but it seems to have worked out the way I wanted it to.

Here are a few steps I came up with:

  1. Write down all your failures and shortcomings. Now is an excellent opportunity to see what has not worked for your life.
  2. Write down your goals in life. Be realistic while considering your strengths and weakness. You can be a bit audacious here as well.
  3. Analyze what qualities you will need to reach your goals and which of those you already possess.
  4. Draft your first metric on your smallest, yet most comfortable goal to accomplish.
  5. Rip that paper up. You don’t need it; you were probably letting yourself off easy.
  6. Think about what defines the accomplishment of that goal; why is it essential for your life and overall health, and how will it determine who you are.
  7. Draft your metric while being brutally honest with yourself.
  8. Rinse, repeat, and fine-tune.

Below are the ones I created with a bit of journaling and banging my head against the desk.

Metric: Success breaks down into smaller wins that I encounter towards being a full-time freelance writer and connection with other writers and authors.

Metric: Emotional Health is a moment of contentedness with my personal growth and ability to overcome mental blocks.

Metric: Physical Health defines a place of mental wholeness where I am no longer afraid to see my body in the mirror or talk about my eating habits.

Metric: Mental Health appeals to finding holistic and repetitive actions that improve my overall mental health without subtracting from my well-being.

Metric: Financial Health is a cumulative effort to establish a budget and stick to it.

My metrics may seem a bit vague, but they can be broken down into smaller metrics and redefined as something that allows me to value myself and those around me.

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