Martin Short’s Nine Categories to evaluate your life situation

In his autobiography (I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend), Martin Short describes a self-evaluation he goes through every week to assess how his life is going, regardless of highs and lows.

His system is called The Nine Categories:

Category 1: Self

How am I doing health-wise?

Category 2: Immediate family

Partner, kids, pets. How are they doing? When was the last time you expressed your love for them?

Category 3: Original family

How are you getting along with the people you grew up with?

Category 4: Friends

By now, you get it. Short is working in circles, going outwards.

Category 5: Money

Are you financially safe?

Category 6: Career

Remember that you don’t need a career; you just need a job.

Category 7: Creativity

Is your work creatively fulfilling? Do you need help?

Category 8: Discipline

Are you able to sustain work towards your goal(s)?

Category 9: Lifestyle

Are you making a difference and having fun doing it?


A great framework for journaling

Even though this self-evaluation tool feels incomplete to me, I think that it’s still a good journaling exercise when things go well or not so well.

What would you add? Let me know in the comments below.

This article first appeared in Make Stuff, my newsletter.

Photo credit: Martin Short, by Dominik D / Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

About Thomas Deneuville

Thomas is a creativity coach and mindfulness meditation teacher. Originally from France, he lives in Upstate, NY, with his family and a couple of bagpipes.

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