in Productivity

Returning to Reality

Health and wealth.  A lot of problems can be distilled into these two gigantic verticals.  In the marketing world, there are thousands and thousands of different businesses that are positioned around these particular macro niches.

Most of us stress about one of these two…or if you’re like the average person…both!  One thing I’ve found to be very helpful is an exercise I call returning to reality.

It’s a cold hard smack in the face if you’re not where you want to be in these two areas, but as Peter Drucker says:

“What gets measured, gets managed.”

And it’s true.  If you somehow had the exact minute breakdown of how you spent your days, classified into groups and you reviewed it nightly, I can almost guarantee you would start trending towards spending your days better.

Returning To Reality Exercise


  1. Weigh yourself and write it down
  2. Take front, back, and two side pictures in excruciating high resolution
  3. Write down what type of food you eat on a daily basis (OK to generalize)
  4. Write down the type and duration of exercise you do on a daily basis


  1. Find out your exact net worth (Mint, Excel, whatever works)
  2. Find out how much money you made in 2012
  3. Find out how much money you’ve made the last three months
  4. Find out your 3 biggest discretionary expenses

After you’re done, take a look at the information in front of you.  This is the reality of your health and wealth.  You can’t argue with the cold hard facts staring you back in the face.

Now you have a a foundation you can build off of.  A lot of the time, you’ll find absolutely massive glaring problems that you can fix…now that you can SEE them.

This exercise takes what’s floating around in your head and puts it right in front of you.  $4 bottles of kombucha 5x a week start to take on the value of $80/month.  500 calories of sweets 5x a week start to mean 10,000 calories of pure sugar/bad fats per month, or a little under three pounds worth.

This exercise hurts and it’s a good thing that it hurts, because it brings to light things that are invisible to the way our minds typically work.  We don’t naturally think in months, years, or decades, but when you extrapolate really small decisions like spending a little more every day, eating a small bad food, or the massive amount of miles you’d rack up in a decade if you ran a few a day, you can really start to change your life.