Most of you are familiar with periodic performance assessments at work or at school, right? But I wonder, how many are performing such evaluations for your private life? As I experience in my work as a therapist, we often fail to do that. Or we won’t do it until a critical event happens or we are in a crisis.
The effects are visible mostly after some time. I’ve seen clients who realized too late that their marriage is failing, that they are overstressed and unhappy at the workplace, or generally unsatisfied with how their personal life unfolds.
If you feel that you never or barely take time to stop and look at your life from a broader perspective, my advice is to start doing so on a regular basis.
When I do this with my clients, I use a very simple instrument, called “your balance wheel”. I use it especially when people describe having lots of problems and we have to identify which problem is the most important and needs more attention at that moment. Other times I use it to bring up other life areas where things are going well and to enhance the resources and skills that work in those areas.
To use the Balance wheel yourself, you need to reflect and write down:
• The most important areas in your life, at this moment. These could be career, family, personal, physical and mental health, education, leisure, relationship, or money.
• For each area of your life rate your level of satisfaction between 0 (the worst) and 10 (complete contentment).
• Now you have all the numbers in front of you. This gives you a clue about which life segment you need to pay more attention to.
• Once you have chosen where you need to put your focus, write down the things you want to achieve there.
• Set clear goals for your future. What do you want to work on first that would increase your level of well-being?
• After you have identified the current and the desired situation, create a list with actionable steps you want to take to close the gap between the two.
This self- assessment exercise is just the preliminary step before setting your goals. It’s a simple way of being present in your own life, of setting goals on time, of focusing on important issues.
Achieving your goals is not always easy. That’s when people come to therapy or coaching for help. But the main idea with this tool is to get a bird’s eye perspective and address things on time, instead of letting yourself get carried away by life.
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