Do you consider yourself good at caring for yourself? Do you take care of your body, mind, stress levels, and soul? Which areas of our lives still need work? I recently read several publications from the Headington Institute and they developed a unique one page questionnaire/measurement tool (link below) to comprehensively measure self care and lifestyle design. In an area that is tough to quantify, they have done a great job distilling the important aspects of lifestyle design into a quick and easy test that produces a lifestyle quotient number. Everyone has an ideal they are trying to achieve but how do we know when we are getting closer? We often look to others around us to determine how we are doing. But measuring yourself against others in lifestyle design is a slippery slope; however, assessment of ourselves introspectively is actually much more useful, especially when we measure our lives over time.
I’m still a huge fan of life hacking and I’ll continue to work through the principle of constant optimization. My goal is to always strive to live a healthier, more efficient, impactful life. But once you have been in this mindset for a while, it can be really difficult to measure progress. Am I actually improving my life? Do I have the same nagging issues that I had years ago? Have my life circumstances changed to the point where I am dealing with stressors that I never even considered five or ten years ago? Sometimes outside benchmark assessment is useful. Many people don’t know where to start. Most individuals are aware of the most urgent issues in their life, but I think a third party assessment can be useful to uncover hidden areas of our life that could use work. I’ll save you the hundreds of dollars in counseling by linking to the assessment and providing some context.
Self Care and Lifestyle Balance Sheet
Lifestyle design is notoriously difficult to measure. We often know when something is out of line in our life but trying to figure out exactly what that something is can be difficult. In addition, there are many areas where aspects of our life are struggling, but we find it difficult to accurately asses our weaknesses and develop a plan of action. The most common yearly resolutions for individuals each year have something to do with self care. And many times the symptoms we notice, like inability to sleep well, a few extra pounds, or financial pressure, develop from seemingly unrelated areas of stress in our life. So, how well do you care for yourself? How well is your lifestyle designed?
Feel free to take the one page assessment now; or take a quick look. The assessment is made up of twenty-five questions that ask about anything from financial pressure, late nights at the office, exercise, to healthy eating. It takes about five to ten minutes and produces a score that ranges from 0-100.
Download/View Assessment PDF here: Headington Institute Self Care Assessment
Once we get our life in balance- or at least make significant progress to a more balanced life- the next thing we think about are the loved ones around us whose lives are painfully out of balance. We all know that you can lead a horse to water, but change is made my individuals. However, one of the first steps for any type of change is simply assessment. For many, all the changes that are needed can be overwhelming and a nagging partner, friend, or family member have temporarily worn out their influence. Sometimes it is nice to have an outside assessment and the self care test is a great place to start. We actually sat down with several of our closest friends and we all filled out the quiz. We then casually discussed many of the consistencies and challenges we all faced as a group and as individuals. We didn’t make any wild plans for change, but knowing where to start was a great first step for everyone that participated.
Lifestyle design begins with self care. We must take care of ourselves and environments to live a happy, healthy lifestyle. And the great part about lifestyle design is that it is not based on a particular income, job type, or any specific geography. You can begin to prioritize the parts of your life that are challenging the ideal you set for yourself. Once we understand where we want to be, and create a path to get there, we have the opportunity to own our goals. To internalize the changes we need to make. There is no magic pill. No one can make the changes for you. If we want to make progress, we must make the commitments to change ourselves.
The Finish Line
So? How well or poorly did you do? Any unexpected results or questions? Did you take the assessment? Write down your answers. Write the date by them. Think through the areas that may need work. If you want to join us, a few challenges might be a way to kick start some habit change.
When it comes to optimizing our lives, there is no true finish line. Designing the perfect life does not finish once you have become financially independent, reach your goal weight, or you quit your job/begin your dream job. You can always be healthier, happier, and more generous with your time and your possessions. Even the perfect life could be a little better. But the great news is that we don’t have to be perfect to enjoy life. In fact, we can enjoy it throughout the entire process. And moving to a better place can mean something completely different for you than your neighbor. Striving for a better life starts with determining where we are right now, then taking action. So, are you taking care of your self? Start the journey today to design the life you would love to have.And feel free to share how you do on the assessment in the comments.