Over the past 19 weeks we have been examining and clearing through some common limiting beliefs and habits of thought that can keep us stuck in a life we don't love. You should by now be feeling a lot freer and clearer to develop a delicious vision of the future you want without being as limited by thoughts of perfectionism, gaining the approval ot others, comparison-itus, and so on.
So, after that mental spring clean, onwards. It's time to move to the second section of our habits of happiness programme and create a delicious vision of the life you want that will be so compelling it will draw you forward, giving you the fuel you need to create action.
We begin this week by taking a reality check of how life feels at the moment. What we are looking for is your level of satisfaction with each of the eight key areas of life I define below. We are going to score this, with 10 being "this part of my life is awesome" and a score of 1 being "honestly, this part of my life currently sucks". This is important for a couple of reasons.
1. It creates a benchmark, so you can see where you are at now and when you look back in several months as you work through the tools in this programme, you will be able to re-do this exercise. This will give you a visual statement of progress you have made in creating change in the balance and the level of satisfaction and happiness in your life.
2. It will give you a clear indication of where you need to focus your energy, in terms of prioritised action, and effort in the areas you need most to up the happiness quota in your life.
Work your way around, and grade your satisfaction with life out of 10 for the following 8 key areas:
1. Health: How satisfied are you with your health? Are you fit and healthy? Do you have established routines to keep you well and energetic? Are you happy with the way your body looks and feels?
2. Money: How satisfied are you with the amount of money in your life? Are you regularly worried about money or feeling comfortable?
3. Family and friends: How satisfied are you with the quality of the relationships you have in your life? Do you get quality time with the children? Also quantity, are you happy with the relationships you have with friends and extended family?
4. Hobbies, playtime and fun: What do you do for fun and relaxation? And even more crucially when was the last time you did them? Are they a regular part of your life? How satisfied are you with the amount of play and fun in your life?
5. Partner: This is the key relationship in your life, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend. How satisfied are you with the current state of your relationship? If you are single are you happily single or unhappily single?
6. Career: How satisfied are you with what you do for a living? Do you enjoy your work? Most of the time? Some of the time? How fulfilled are you by what you do?
7. Living space: This is your home. How satisfied are you with where you live? How satisfied are you with your actual house or living space. What bits do you love? All of it? Some of it?
8. Personal connection: This is about your connection with yourself. The feeling that you are growing as a person, that you are connected to your inner self and that sense of peace that lives within us all. For some people they connect to this by going to church, for others it may be gardening, or their early morning walk, or the quiet at the end of a yoga class. Do you have practices in your life that support inner peace and provide you with spiritual fuel and connectedness?
As you fill this in you may find you have a life satisfaction wheel that looks like a spider, lots of highs and lots of lows (life probably feels like you are lurching from crisis to crisis at the moment, lots of change and a bit scary). Or one that looks like a small wheel inside the big wheel, round(ish) but just small (life probably feels kind of small and safe right now). Or perhaps you score pretty high in most categories but have one or two lows in particular areas (life feels good but one particular thing is bugging you, whether its your job, weight or relationship with your mother) . All of these things are perfectly normal and no cause for alarm. They are just a benchmark of how life is rolling for you right now and a perfect place to start in terms of targeted change. We will get stuck into that next week.
Either fill in the wheel above, or download the complete life balance worksheet I have created for you at positivebalance.co.nz Complete it honestly and add it to your Habits Of Happiness journal. However if your wheel looks just fine, feel good about the highs and know that over the coming weeks you will be getting more and more tools to deal with the lows. You will want to refer back to this wheel as we move forward so make sure you get your life satisfaction wheel worksheet completed!
Louise Thompson is a life coach, yoga teacher and corporate escapee. For more from Louise, visit positivebalance.co.nz