All of us know where we physically are. We are at work, or at home, or in the gym, or running the children to events, or even lost in Georgia! But where are you compared to where you want to be? Once we have this answer we can then explore the next question, which is: Am I heading in the right direction to get to where I want to be?
A simple tool I often used to help answer these questions and it goes as follows:
First think about what is important to you right now in your life. Come up with a handful of items or topics such as: Spirituality (or Religion), Intimacy, Health, Security, Family & Friends, and Self-Esteem.
Next draw a big circle on a piece of paper and draw a line from the center to the outside of the circle for each item or topic you came up with and label each section with one of the items. For the sample collection it would look similar to:
Now we will examine each item in more detail. Pick an item to start with and ask yourself "Why is this important to me right now and how is it affecting my life?" You may want to jot down some of the thoughts that you mulled over or even journal your whole thought process. Then think, "If I'm on a scale of 0 to 10, where am I right now compared to where I want to be?" No number is too low and no number is too high. This is a relative comparison of your feelings right now against where you wish to be. Once you have this number get a colored pen, pencil, or marker and fill in that section up to that number. It's fun to pick a color that resonates with the area you are working with.
After considering all items we may end up with the following values:
Family & Friends: 4
Once all areas are done it may look like:
This will provide you an overview of how you see your present position in life. As you look at your self-assessment, decide which one area you wish to work on. It would be awesome if we could work on all areas at the same time, but this quickly overwhelms us and leads to giving up and going back to the same ole drudgery. You don't need to pick the area that had the lowest score, although there is nothing wrong with starting there. You want to select an area that you feel you can make some improvements in or with.
Now that you have selected an area to work on, jot down some changes you can make to your life to improve your personal assessment of this area. Let us say that we picked the Family & Friends area to make some improvements in, and over the pasts few weeks you have felt isolated and alone in you personal struggles with getting some 'me time' and keeping up with the demands of running the household and keeping up with friends. You could decide to do the following:
Arrange with your significant other to handle feeding the kids and putting them to bed one night a week.
On this night you can make plans with your BFF to go out for a night at a local establishment and catch a quick meal, relax with you BFF, and catch up on each other's lives.
Stick to your plans and work towards your goals, but remember to not beat yourself up over not changing as fast as you would like. This type of exercise can be extremely beneficial to you and not only improve your feelings in the Family & Friends area but also in your Self-Esteem and Health areas. Many of our areas bleed over into one another and making a change in one affects several others, and sometimes all areas.
Routine self-assesments like this are wholesome and quick check-ins to see how you feel about the changes you are making. It could be that some of the earlier decisions are not particularly leading you to the end result you truly want, and they need to be altered or abandoned altogether. This does not mean that they were the wrong course to take, just that they opened doors that allowed you to see where you want to be more clearly. In these experiments, there is no right or wrong way, as any change will result in a different outcome from where you currently are. Your emotions are your inner guidance systems, and there for this reason.