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Forecasting Your Quality of Life- How Tracking 3 Leading Indicators Can Guide You to Greater Well-being (Part 1 of 4)

I am not a big fan of winter or exercising indoors so I signed up for boot camp at my gym on January 1st with the hope that meeting new people and paying more money would make cold weather training more appealing. To help me stick with the program, I have become vigilant about my routine. I arrange my clothes for the week on Sunday nights, I get up at the same time every morning and I eat the same thing for breakfast. The plan has worked so far and the idea for this post came to me one morning last week as I was heading into the locker room.

The towel laundering station separates the men’s and women’s facilities and at 5:50 AM when I arrive, the same two employees are standing there, in the same spots, folding clean towels. Reflexively reaching for a warm towel, I was suddenly reminded of Bill Murray in his role as a weatherman who gets trapped, incessantly re-living February 2nd in the movie “Groundhog Day”. That in turn, got me thinking about the length of winter and how accurate the shadow of a large rodent, a Marmota monax, is in forecasting the arrival of an early spring. I already have visions of cherry blossoms dancing in my head so I want to believe the outcome for 2018 if it goes my way. However, a quick fact check suggests that Punxsutawney Phil gets his predictions right about 40% of the time, which is below the accuracy you would get from flipping a coin. So, will we have an early spring this year? I call tails.

Obviously, our individual and collective futures, weather or otherwise, cannot be known but paying attention to certain indicators can be helpful for making plans, including ones to live a high quality of life. While there are no guarantees, I have found that the likelihood of success increases when you plan for it. I have come to rely on three leading indicators to make course corrections in my own work-life alignment, when necessary, to build or protect my well-being.

These indicators are the feelings I have about my current quality of life which, by extension, influences my outlook on the future. Three aspects of life are subject to fluctuation but regular evaluation can help spot downward trends in:

  1. Financial security
  2. Mental and physical energy levels
  3. Relationships with family, friends and co-workers

I consider my overall feelings about each of these areas in my life to be measures of a “return on prior time investments”. If the returns are not satisfactory, I try to focus on what is having the greatest negative impact on my quality of life and focus on how I can make better use of my time in the future. I will elaborate on each of these topics in three successive posts. Until then, I urge you to take stock of how you feel and what aspect requires attention to improve your quality of life forecast. Let’s also hope that Phil sees his shadow and the corresponding coin toss I will make on February 2nd, results in tails. If not, at least I can count on picking up a warm towel every morning until spring actually arrives.