Whether your motivation for change is at an all-time high at New Year or you think resolutions are a waste of time, there’s no denying that the start of a blank calendar leaves many of us reflecting on the 12 months that just passed. New Year is natures way of drawing one chapter to a close, helping us to let go of anything we want to leave behind and giving us a clean slate for new habits and experiences. It’s undoubtedly a natural time to set intentions about what we’d like to be, have and do over the next year. This blog details a simple exercise to help us assess how happy and successful we feel we are in various different areas of our lives at the current time, and consequently to identify any areas we may wish to make changes in.
Whilst there are many common resolutions including losing weight, signing up for a sporting event, reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and so on, the first key step in choosing your resolutions is to make sure that whatever you aim for is something that matters to you and that you truly WANT to achieve. This isn’t just true of New Year’s resolutions, but any goals or changes you choose to aim for in your life. So often we feel we ‘fail’ at making changes but it’s simply the fact that we didn’t truly value or know WHY we wanted to make the change, or perhaps we just did it because we felt others valued it or it was the ‘right’ thing to do. The ‘Wheel of Life’ exercise below is just one of many that can help us to identify exactly what we want to work on in our own lives, without external pressure or input. Whilst New Year is the perfect time to do this, it’s something you can revisit at intervals such as once a month or every quarter to check you’re still on track and making progress. This is a widely used exercise that can easily be found with a simple google search, however this particular image was taken from the Law Of Attraction Planner (available on Amazon). You may find/use alternative titles for some sections, so choose what feels right for you and best reflects your life and priorities.
If there are any areas that feel irrelevant, feel free to leave them out but do try and rate as many as possible as this is designed to looks at many different aspects/ areas of your life. Even if an area is going great or feels as good as it can be, make sure to score it as it’s important not just to focus on what we’d like to change or improve, but to give ourselves credit and express gratitude for things we’re happy with.
- Draw or print off a circular ‘wheel of life’ template such as the one pictured above. Feel free to adjust the titles for different sections to best reflect your own life, for example you may wish to merge ‘social life’ and ‘personal growth’ into ‘fun/recreation’ or to merge ‘family’ and ‘relationships’ into one and add an additional title such as fitness, mental health, physical environment or anything else that feels of high importance to you.
2. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in each section and mark it on the circle, with 1 being the worst you could imagine life being and 10 being the best. Try to follow your instinct with this and not to overthink it.
3. If there are any areas that have come out particularly high, try to jot down a few words detailing why they’re going well. Gratitude is a great place to start with any changes we wish to make, as a positive attitude can help us to feel more motivated to make changes.
4. Identify any areas that you scored particularly low/ the lowest. If there are several, try choosing just 1-2 to focus on for now. This is something you can revisit at regular intervals and the idea isn’t to get everything to a ‘perfect 10’ in one go. As we know, life has ups and downs in all areas and this is a lifelong project to stay aware of how you feel things are going and committed to a happy, healthy and balanced life as much as possible.
5. Note down 2-5 actions for each chosen area that you can take over the next few days/ weeks/ months or so to improve this score.
6. Take the action! There’s no point identifying the changes and having awareness but not actually taken action. As the saying goes, ‘dreams don’t work unless you do’, so make a commitment! For health you could sign up to a gym class or buy some new running shoes, for relationships you could schedule a date or catch up with a friend or family member and for personal growth you could do a meditation session or read a few pages of a self-help book. Whatever it is, get started! The more actions we take, the sooner we see and feel positive effects towards our goals and the better and more motivated we feel. It’s a positive cycle so get into it as soon as possible!
7. Keep your ‘wheel’ or list of actions where you will see it to regularly remind you of your plan and goals. Mark on your calendar when you plan to repeat the exercise and keep working towards the life YOU want to live.
Bev Meakin – Personal Trainer/ Exercise Referral Officer and Complementary Therapist. Instagram @bevs_life