Resolutions are a thing of the past. No one keeps them, and we talk about them as if they are motivating but really they are a wasted effort if we are not fully taking stock of our entire selves. When we assess what changes we actually need to make, we are able to make the most out of efforts to increase our overall life happiness. Today we want to suggest an alternative…. completing your own life audit. Essentially what a life audit does is to help you take stock of where you currently stand in self-fulfillment in multiple areas of your life. This audit will explore multiple areas of your life and help you to determine improvements and changes each one of those areas can benefit from. A life audit is a great reflective exercise that helps you to see where you are doing well in life and acknowledging that.
Where do I start?
When you are ready to complete your own life audit, I would recommend breaking your life down into categories or segments of living. Your breakdown could take the form of a wheel such as this:
Other layouts can include columns, a box design, or just free writing! Remember, this is YOUR audit, so you can make it as simple or complex as you would like! Once you have your design, we want to begin by labeling the primary areas of your life. Below are a few example categories that you can use to get started:
- Physical Health
- Emotional Health
- Spiritual Health
- Occupational Health
- Community/Social Health
- Financial Health
- Recreational Health
Once you’ve chosen your categories, now is the time for self reflection. Beginning one section at a time, what are your initial thoughts? What are doing well in that area, and what goals do you still have? Put any and everything down about that category you can think of. It can also be helpful to decide how to quantify your level of satisfaction. Some people use a numerical scale, or even an alpha grading system (A, A-, B, B+, etc). If you find yourself struggling with how to determine your satisfaction in these categories, consider asking yourself the following:
- How is my Physical Strength, mobility, and energy in life?
- Job Satisfaction – does it match your personal values, do you feel challenged?
- Career Progress – are you where you believed you would be in your career at this stage in life?
- Net Worth – do I spend or save in the way I should? Should I be planning for a major life event such as retirement or a child going to college?
- Financial Knowledge – Do I understand my financial needs, now and in the future?
- Do I have the relationships with my family that I want?
- Am I committing enough time to friendships, or building friendships that I need?
- Do I have a connection with my community? Do you have an interest in giving back?
- How is my love life? Do I have a relationship with my partner that is enjoy?
- Is my Self-Image healthy and realistic? Do I appreciate myself and have a motivating internal narrative with myself?
- Are you participating as often as you would like in your faith?
- Habits, Fun & Leisure – What is there to add, take away, or change?
- Personal Growth – As you walk through your life, what more do you still want to learn, do, or experience?
Ok, So How did I do?
This is designed to be a simple exercise, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
This is the time to get real with yourself! Do not let yourself sugar coat or minimize your patterns, or real issues that need to be addressed. Same for allowing yourself to gloat when it is deserved. If you are especially accomplished in an area of your life compliment yourself on that!
Take your time
This is such a great opportunity to dive deep into your life, so take your time with this. After writing, set it down for a period, then come back to it later. You may find that you have new reflections to add in.
With this honesty can come heightened emotions. Let’s stay aware, that emotions cannot hurt you but they are purposeful in the way that motivate and provide feedback that change is necessary!
Completed! Now what?
Now you have the information about yourself. Some of it is filled with praise and accomplishments, but other parts are acknowledgements of needs to be addressed. This last step is going to help you to engage yourself intentionally for 2022
Let’s take ACTION! Taking you next moments to identify what you can do is your next step. However, there is a really important small step to take first. There are parts of our emotional unhappiness that we cannot change and you will have to be on the lookout for that. For example, a chronic health problem is most likely identified as a negative in a category. Since you are unable to change that, you will have to examine what elements of it you do have control over, such as an exercise regime or diet change which helps to alleviate some of your symptoms. Seeing elements of what we CAN do is an important process in this step. Once you understand this we can now formulate your action statements. Using concrete language which includes the what, where, when and who we write down specific steps to change. This helps you to form achievable and most importantly workable goals that actually give you specific steps to make lasting improvements on that category of your life.
Take the next step
Just get started! Choose the category that you feel most motivated to see a change in and begin with follow through with that action statement. You will notice an increase in overall happiness soon. To help yourself stay accountable, make a note on your calendar to check in on your progress quarterly throughout the year. Those reviews are not meant to be opportunities to criticize what you haven’t done yet, but are chances to reinvigorate your intention for yourself for the year and to start again!