How MIT Says You Should Evaluate Your Life

I’ll admit, I’m shamelessly stealing this exercise – it’s the opening assignment for a “Design Your Life” course MIT offers.  I seem to be making a habit of doing this assignment once per year.  It is really eye opening and clarifying on where you’re doing well in life, and where you are not, and where you should be focusing your energy, and how.  I am currently going through it and finding it really clarifying.  I hope you take the time to do it (to really do it justice takes a couple of hours) , let me know if you did!  I am in the middle of going through it, and will likely post next week on the results. 🙂  Stay tuned!

For each area listed below, answer the following questions:

  1. Rate each area of your life (areas listed below) on a scale from 1-10.
    Use the rating scale at the bottom of the assignment as a guide.
    For each area that’s not at a 9 or 10:
  2. Write out what a 9/10 looks like for you in that area. Be complete in your
    description. Create the full picture in detail.
  3. Explain the circumstances that have you say you’re the number you chose
    versus 9/10. What is really going on in that area of your life that isn’t
    working well?
  4. What is your explanation for why it makes sense that you would end up at
    that number? What’s gone on in your past or your family that have it make
    sense that you’d end up at that number.
  5. What are the reasons why you can’t have what you want in this area? What
    are your negative beliefs?

The Areas of Life
1. satisfaction with school (if you’re in it)
2. body/weight/appearance/presentation/how you look
3. community/friends/depth/intimacy
4. your relationship to yourself (what do you say about yourself to yourself)
5. bad habits/vices (biting your nails, overeating, drinking, smoking, partying,
addictions, including what’s a great time for you, how many drinks can you
handle and still be able to drive, how often do you do it)
6. relationship (whether you’re in one or not)
7. sex (including, are you happy with the quality, how often, cheating of any sort
– and your history, comfort with your body, your happiness with the size of
what you’ve got, the last time you had sex)
8. romance – giving and receiving attention (not flowers)
9. characteristics that don’t work about you (anxiety, anger, moodiness, etc)
10. participation in your family – your parents/siblings/etc.
11. money/wealth (including, are you happy with the amount you earn, the
amount you’ve saved, how you spend it, how it’s managed, etc.)
12. career
13. time (how you manage your time (to-do’s/scheduling), anything you wish
you’d get to but don’t, as well as how you’re using your life, do you love what
you’re doing/anything you’re doing that you’re not impressed with)
14. home
15. being organized/the physical universe
16. learning (wanting to learn about things you are not taking the time for like
flying or guitar)
17. fun/adventure
18. spirituality
19. health

Ratings key
10 Perfect. Unsustainable state of affairs. Reserved for individual episodes and
fleeting moments.
9 Highest sustainable rating for a category.
8 Highly satisfactory state of affairs. Significant additional focused effort will be
needed to elevate rating to a 9. A source of pride.
7 Solid, can’t complain, coasting because it’s good enough but not a source of
6 Weak, but not painful. Frayed around the edges. Can talk oneself into it being a 7
but it’s not easy. Needs work but doesn’t have to be today.
5 A 6 that’s been around a while. Still not intolerable but likely the issue or the
necessary remedial steps are being actively avoided.
4 Getting to be intolerable…but not yet. Requires a great deal of justification and/or
denial to continue this number at a sustained rate.
3 Things are bad. Very bad. It is not yet life threatening or a point of no return, but
2 Things are hopeless. You wonder why you exist. There is much pain. Virtually
1 Fleeting moments of hell. Unsustainable level of displeasure.

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