It’s a good time to stop and take inventory of your life. How’s it working out for you? Are you happy with not only where you are now, but with where you are headed in the major areas of your life (your relationships, your finances, your job, and your health — all aspects of it)?
If not, here’s a New Years Exercise, called the One Page Miracle (I borrowed this from Dr. Amen, author of “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”). It goes like this:
Separate your life into those four major categories (Relationships, Work, Money, Myself). Then break each category down further into subcategories.
For example, under relationships, if you are married, put spouse/partner, as well as children if you have them, extended family, and friends. Then write down a specific, measurable goal for the next year in each of those subcategories. (For instance, “I would like to call my adult children once a week,” or “I would like to plan and schedule a date night with my husband once a week.”) Here’s your template:
- Extended Family:
“Work” is whatever you spend most of your time doing. If you are a stay-at-home mom, then it will overlap with the relationship section but it will include things like teaching your children how to play well with others, and planning time to shower every day while they’re napping (I know that can be a challenge sometimes!) If you have multiple jobs, or a job and an important hobby, that goes here too. If you volunteer, that goes here. Again, make sure what you write down is specific, actionable, and measurable — “what gets measured gets improved,” after all.
- My job:
- My hobby:
“Money” should be broken down into short term and long term goals. This is for the next year, remember, so I recommend breaking the short term goal down to a fiscal quarter (three months) while the long-term goal should be more where you’d like to be financially within the next year. If you’re in debt, perhaps the goal could be to pay down a certain amount of your credit card bill each month, and put a certain amount in savings.
- Short term:
- Long term:
Under “myself”, you should include body, mind, and spirit, since we are comprised of all three. Most “health-conscious” new years’ resolutions tend to focus only on the first, but true health means all of the above, and is heavily influenced by the quality of our relationships, work, and finances! It’s impossible to be truly healthy without maintaining order in all of those categories.
So for your body, consider resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, drink more water, take your vitamins, and get enough sleep… as well as perhaps minimize any health-related addiction you may battle (alcohol, soda, smoking, overeating, too much sugar, etc). This latter point may require accountability from others to keep you honest.
Let’s lump thoughts and emotions together for your mind. These goals may include cultivating a positive body image (especially as a counterbalance to some of the weight-loss goals in the body category), finding and pursuing a new interest to keep you intellectually stimulated, being kinder to yourself, playing more, or eliminating your “energy suckers”.
And spirit involves connection with a higher power. I have certainly found that many “energy suckers” in the mind category must be dealt with on a spiritual level. A solid belief in a higher power who cares for you and acts positively on your behalf is a critical ingredient for deep healing from old wounds and getting out of our own way on the road to happiness and fulfillment. Practicing gratitude daily is an excellent way to shift your focus, and has been shown to powerfully combat depression and anxiety! If you don’t have a spiritual belief system or practice that is meaningful and important to your life, this is the year to start.
All of this should fit into a single page so that it’s simple, direct, and actionable. In order for this exercise to be as effective as possible, keep your page in a place where you can see it every day. This will remind you going forward to make choices in keeping with your goals, and will make it much more likely that you will actually achieve them.
Here’s to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling 2015!
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