In 2018, I set out to establish habits that made me physically, economically, and mentally healthier. It's been tough, but worth it. And it gets easier every day.
My 2019 Key Metric Pairs
First, I established a pair of key physical, economic, and mental health metrics:
- Body fat percentage and weight.
- Net worth and months of readily available living-expenses.
- Frequency of physical activity and degree of intrinsic motivation.
Some of these metrics are straightforward to capture and measure over time. I have a Withings Body+ Scale, which takes body fat percentage and weight measurements nearly daily before showering. I use You Need a Budget to track my savings and investment account balances and observe my spending patterns. My Apple Watch keeps track of my active energy usage in Apple Health.
Measuring intrinsic motivation is more difficult, but can be observed by proxy when evaluating other metrics. If most other metrics are trending negatively, it's plausible that my intrinsic motivation is flagging. If trending positively, then I am probably doing something right because I'm making detectable progress.
My 2019 Behavioral Goals
Second, I set behavioral goals that harmonize my economic, physical, and mental well-being:
- Work primarily with clients who have a culture of sustainable pace.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Develop a more regular cadence of low to moderate-intensity physical activity.
You might notice that none of these behavioral goals are tied to the metrics directly. For me, when behavioral goals and key metrics are too cohesive, it becomes difficult to tell whether the behaviors are impacting the metrics.
You may also notice that while the behavioral goals are specific and actionable, they are not pass-fail. There is not a magic number they seek to reach. There is no rigorous evaluation process; instead, I ask myself, "how are these comparing to previous baselines or trends?" and reflect upon that.
My Economic, Physical, and Mental Health Results
Here are the results:
- Body Fat Percentage, down 3%
- Body Weight, down 5.2%
- Net Worth, up 5.9%
- Months of readily available living expenses: 15
2020 and Beyond
I haven't quite decided what my 2020 behavioral goals will be. I'm content with how my current priorities impact my physical, mental, and economic health, but I could see myself needing to replace the drink less goal as it's not nearly as impactful now that two beers knock me on my ass. Perhaps I'll replace it with something like "Cook meals at home more regularly."
I'm also considering adding a new goal: Reinvest all income exceeding Oakland's median household income into undercapitalized non-white-majority owned organizations, with an emphasis on cooperative or community-owned businesses.