For many years I lived by default. I tended to neither plan ahead nor set goals. I was directed by the winds of change and whichever direction the wind blew was where I ended up, completely by chance. When I was twenty nine that all changed. Anxious about turning thirty, I decided to face my fear of failure and be brutally honest about how far away I was from realising my dreams.
Although it was a difficult process, this wasn’t by any means a morbid endeavour – quite the contrary – it was inspired by my desire to fulfil my dreams. I knew that in order to achieve what I wanted I first needed to be honest about where I was, so I could navigate myself to where I wanted to be. I then brainstormed what I might want to accomplish, acquiring as many different ideas as possible.
I soon called how I took stock of my achievements and imagined my possible future accomplishments, a life audit. This process has served me so well that I now conduct one at the beginning of every New Year, to help me evaluate where I am, and consciously think about what I might want to unfold in the year ahead.
Consider this a precursor to my article on creating meaningful goals. This is the first critical step towards designing your ideal life which will skilfully inform your judgment when creating future concrete goals. Should you wish to create meaningful goals after conducting your own life audit, I strongly recommend reading my article on goals titled ‘How to turn your dreams into reality’.
Conducting a life audit is in fact an incredibly empowering experience. It effectively rejects the notion that we are a victim of circumstance, allowing us to accept full responsibility for where we are whilst realising we are in control of where we end up.
Once finished you will both know where you are and have a clear notion of the direction you want to go in. The auditing process will leave you feeling positive, motivated and inspired.
But if we are to reap these rewards we must be brutally honest with ourselves. Of course we should not engage our inner critic and berate ourselves for our lack of achievement, instead we should honestly assess what we have achieved and whether those achievements are reasonable to us or not – and if not, think of future outcomes which would be reasonable.
Once we have conducted an in-depth analysis of where we are, we can start brainstorming where we want to be. Be as imaginative as possible, we need the courage to think of nothing as ridiculous or beyond our reach. Be open to all possibilities, aware of all the options whilst appreciating their potential.
The eight key areas of our life to audit are:
- Time and Productivity
- Body and Health
- Hobbies and Interests
- Family and Friends
When I evaluated each area in-depth I gave myself an overall score out of ten indicating the current state of affairs.
If you are daunted by the prospect this could be a sign you are in major need of one, just like I was. If you don’t know where to start simply read this series and fill in my questionnaire for each of the eight key life audit areas (all eight will be published on January 29th).
Stay tuned – next week we look at the areas of work, finances and time and productivity.
What areas do you think you would like to focus on most? Which area do you think you are strongest in? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community.
- List your weakest areas that you would like to work on.
- List your strongest areas and how you would like to build upon them to make them even stronger.