Stop Motivating Yourself and Start Measuring Yourself

There’s a place and a time for motivating yourself with videos, quotes, and stories. There is also a place and time for a cup of coffee and a caffeine kick. But to think that if you drink enough coffee you will eventually be imbued with the power to achieve your dreams sounds quite silly.

“What gets measured, gets managed.” -Peter Drucker 

It’s the same with motivation. If you’re reading this and you are farther along in your mind-body-life journey, you may realize that those inspirational wallpapers don’t really hit you the same anymore. They used to get you fired up, and out the door. Now, they might seem a little strange. We don’t know about you, but we’re sick of Wolf of Wall Street quotes. How could anyone possibly believe that dude was a role model?

If you really want to make progress in life, you eventually have to stop with the motivation. You have to stop drinking the coffee and get to work. Motivating yourself should come from within, but then it’s called willpower. And we can show you how to build real, lasting discipline. We might even go so far as to say that some of those inspirational quotes are dangerous. This is your story, and no one else will ever be able to live it like you do. So here is how to carve your own path.

 

MEASURING YOURSELF OVER MOTIVATING YOURSELF

Your life is filled with metrics. Your bank account, your fitness records, your nutrition, and even time itself are all numbers. If you don’t know your own personal metrics, you can never gain experience points to take you to the next level. What gets measured gets managed.

Furthermore, our brains are remarkably bad at self-analysis. You can end a day feeling like you just took over the world, and then wake up tomorrow feeling like you are two steps behind. If you have daily metrics you can refer to, you can start calibrating. You can start seeing things for what they really are, and not what they feel like.

 

SELECTING YOUR PERSONAL METRICS

We all probably live drastically different lives. That means everyone is going to care about different things at different times. That’s totally cool. Please don’t judge anyone by the metrics they’ve chosen. Maybe “waves surfed” is the ultimate goal to one human, while “deals closed” is the only mission to another person. To think that those can be compared against each other as “right or wrong” is a fallacy. Motivating yourself is all about customization.

Here’s where you can compare. Your metrics from yesterday, to your metrics from today. Now, a word of warning here. Your life is not a straight line, steadily increasing or decreasing. Some individuals seem to take this metric-management way too far, and start to freak out when they sleep more than 6 hours a night because it messed up the perfect system. We don’t believe things need to be so black and white.

There are a few basic metrics everyone should be aware of. The value of these metrics is to discover patterns in your life. Do you always have a horrible mood on Tuesdays? If you realize that, perhaps you want to schedule more enjoyable activities on Tuesday than any other time. Customize your living experience. A few examples:

Hours Slept
Daily Mood
Exercise Intensity
Nutrition Quality
Hours Worked
Energy Level

For the first few days, just focus on writing these down. You’re going to need a spreadsheet or a journal for tracking. Depending on your line of work or particular interests, create some personalized metrics. Perhaps “time spent practicing guitar” or, “people connected to” is important to you. Get to brainstorming, and start tracking! Once you’ve spent some time getting into the habit of only tracking, it’s time to find out what you want to conquer.

 

IMPROVING YOUR METRICS

We’ve spent years reading and researching different mind-body-life strategies. What always seems to leave a bitter taste in our mouths are concrete rules that are thrown around: “You must sleep 7 hours (here is a great sleeping guide, though), you must exercise in the morning, you must throw away all your video games.” Listen. Some of that is really good advice, for the 10% of people who just happen to exactly fit that kind of routine. But this is your story, remember?

If you want to sleep 14 hours a day, and your most important metrics like work progress, mood, or strength start skyrocketing, then stick it to the man! Why should anyone tell you how to live if you are already happy with the progress you are making? Take knowledge and advice from mentors and sources all over, but then, combine them with what you already know about yourself and the world.

Start searching for key activities that get you where you want to be. Stop key activities that make you feel good in the moment, and then guilty or stressed afterward. Journaling seems to be an incredible habit that can work for everyone. We believe that meditation can also have astounding effects on your quality of life. But that’s just our opinion. Find out for yourself.

 

DITCHING WORRY

Everyone worries. Most people know that worrying isn’t helpful. Very few people know how to eliminate worry. The secret is in the metrics. You can’t control time. You can only work so hard in one day, and you can only solve so many problems.

When you’ve got your metrics, you aren’t worrying. You are executing. You are reviewing, looking for opportunities in your own system to make it a little better. Your life can become your hobby. You can put aside all of the feelings of inadequacy or stress, because you can finally live in the present moment.

Your debt will be there after your commute home, so why spend that time worrying? You know the way out of debt is to pay it off strategically. So if you have that metric and process in place, you’ve done all you can do. Go take a walk in the sunshine.

Your mission, right now, is to find three metrics you want to start with. If you’re a rookie here, start so small it seems like a joke. Today, you do one pushup. Tomorrow, you do two. Today you tell yourself one positive thing. Tomorrow, you tell yourself two. Track your progress, track your failures. Find the balance of habits that puts your metrics right where you want them to be. That’s the secret to motivating yourself. Being able to place your results on a sheet of paper. Being able to connect your habits with your outputs.

THE BASE CAMP JOURNAL MAKES FAILURE IMPOSSIBLE:

MORE INTEL

2 Comments

  1. Eric One

    Kaizen and mood tracking spreadsheets are really helping me with this.

    Reply

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