As we come towards the end of the year, before we even realise, it will be time for the famous “New Years Resolution”. If you’re like me, you usually keep this at the back of your mind for the whole month of December until suddenly, it’s January 1st and your friends are asking what resolutions you set for the New Year. Not wanting to sound like you don’t have any, you quickly form a few vague sentences of what you think you’d like to achieve, without really knowing where to start.
Last January, I attended a goal setting retreat organised by Heidi Jones in partnership with Innerfight. The whole purpose of the weekend was to get clear on what goals we want to achieve for the coming year and how to go about them. With my “let’s do this” attitude, I signed up without giving it much thought. As the weekend kicked in, I realised that there was much more to goal setting than some simple New Years resolutions and that without an action plan, goals are simply wishes that will probably still be on my goals list the following year, and the following year…
In order to get started and identify the things we actually wanted to work on, we have used a great tool called “The Wheel of Life”:
The circle represents your life, the whole of you. The pieces of the pie are the parts your life: the areas, roles, or aspects of the whole. The different categories include:
Health: Your physical health and well-being (can also include your emotional health).
Relationships: Includes your primary intimate relationship, family, and friends.
Financial: Your ability to manage your money effectively, save, budget, and invest.
Professional/Business: This is your work category, which can break out into a Wheel of Business.
Personal Growth: Although not everyone might have an area of focus for personal development, anyone interested in self-actualization does.
Spirituality: This can be its own category or simply the driving force behind all of your areas of focus.
Once you understand the major categories for the Wheel of Life, the first step of this process is to assess those aspects and create a graphic that represents where your life is at right now in order to see if there are important things you’ve been neglecting, or things you’ve been giving too much of yourself to. We all tend to have certain areas we’re more proficient in and we all tend to spend time in these areas, neglecting our areas of weakness. You may, for example, do an excellent job eating right, exercising, and staying active (your Health category) but you are horrible at living within your means, paying off your credit cards, saving for the future, and finding more ways to add value (your Financial category).
The Wheel of Life exercise brings these discrepancies to your conscious mind. Then it is up to you to determine two or three actions you can take to make improvements in the areas that you are weakest in and ideally, do the same for all your areas.
If like me, you want to take ownership and make the New Year goal setting process more structured and official, start now. Download and print a version of the Wheel of Life, sit down in your favorite coffee shop or in your living room with a cup of coffee and start visualising your life. This is too important to wait until January to start thinking about it.
By: Amanda Dutko, Performance Coach