Ahhhh, spring. The season of rebirth. We gratefully shed those heavy winter layers in favor of something lighter and less restrictive. For many, the season holds a tradition of "spring cleaning" where we go through our homes and rid ourselves of unnecessary clutter and accumulations. The ritual is as much a mental exercise as a practical one. It feels good to toss away our baggage and start anew.
This year, while you are cleaning up your closest and your garage, why not take some time to set your entire life in order? Wait. What? You don't know where to start? Luckily I have a simple framework that will help you take inventory and get cleaning. The idea is simple. To guide you, we'll use five categories:
- Health - What is your current state of your body?
- Work - Are you doing work that allows you to meet your obligations while simultaneously bringing you joy?
- Relationships - Do you have strong and healthy connections with the people around you?
- Fun - Do you find time to escape the pressures of daily life and just do something for the love of doing it?
- Soul - How deeply are you connecting to something greater than yourself?
I find these categories represent the spectrum of well-being and using these categories forces me to address each area of my life, even those areas I might be tempted to skip over because they are painful for me. I simply assign a color rating (red, yellow, green) to each of the five areas based on how well I feel that area is going for me. Rating the areas relative to each other allows me to identify the areas that need the most attention. From there, I identify 1-3 actions, or projects, that will help me make progress in the area that needs work. For example, suppose I identified "Health" as "Red" and thus an area for focus. I might identify 3 actions such as these:
- Limit my alcohol intake to 2 drinks, 3 nights per week
- Exercise for 30 minutes, 4 times each week
- Use calorie tracker to monitor my net calories each day
Why not take this opportunity to go beyond cleaning out your closet and your garage and actually take some time to get your life in order? You won't regret it.
PS: If you would like a bit more structure to support this exercise, I have created two documents to help you. The first is a self-assessment questionnaire that will help you assess yourself across each of the five areas. The second is a simple status document that will allow you to track your progress and status of each area as well as the mini-projects establish for yourself.
Photocredit: Arno Smit