By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
Everyone has ups and downs. The best of the best, whoever that means to you, do too. Here at Jaunty, we often work with people at the top of their game, and literally at the top of the economic, social, and psychological food chain. When we read their bios or blogs, or watch documentaries about them, we learn about times they were at a low point in their lives and how they got through it. It's inspiring. Someone else's highs and lows might be more dramatic than ours, (I'm looking at you, Cinderella.) but it's cool thinking how life is a bumpy road for everyone, and there's a lot we can learn from people who have successfully gotten themselves out of a bad place.
A great first step to making positive changes in our lives is taking an honest look at where we're at and figuring out what we want to change. Every New Year's Eve, the ball drops. Are you dropping the ball in your life? Remember, the ball is in your court.
For the past decade, I've rated each year in my life.
These days I use something called the Wheel of Life. Not to be confused with the "Circle of Life" (What's up, Lion King?), the Wheel of Life is an exercise a lot of life coaches use to take a snapshot of where their client's life is at the moment. A circle is divided into eight sections, like pieces of a pie. The slices are big categories like family/friends, partner/romance, career, money, health, physical environment, fun, and personal growth. You can pick whatever categories you like, but you get the idea. The whole circle is marked up like a dart board or a radar screen, with numbers going out from the center to the edge. The dead center is zero and the outer edge is ten. You decide how satisfied you are with each slice of your life and draw a line around the edge to give it a numeric score.
When I do this exercise, I don't think about how things were in the past, or how I'd like them to be in the future. Instead I score each slice of my life, as honestly as I can, for how it is right now. Then I step back and look at the shape I've drawn. Are some sections a lot bigger than others? If this was a real wheel, would it be a really bumpy ride or pretty smooth sailing?
Then I decide what I want to work on in the coming year. Maybe I scored myself an eight for family/friends, but health is only a seven. I might decide to start eating better, spend more time at the gym, and be better about doing daily exercise.
If you like, you can add up all your slices and divide by eight to get a sort of rough average for your life at the moment.
I also write out my high-level priorities for the next year. Here's what I'm thinking for 2016:
Time with family and friends
Exercise and eating healthy food
A lot can fall under these, but if I ever need to make a decision, knowing my priorities are critical. These are ranked in order and the order changes sometimes. Also, there are some things that I've been thinking about, but that aren't on the radar yet. For example, I'd like to get back into American Kenpo Karate and survival skills training has also been something I've been intrigued with for a long time, but these will have to wait.
Overall, 2015 felt way more stable than past years and I feel good that my list seems to have gotten less naughty.
What did 2015 look like for you? What are your high-level priorities for 2016? Take a spin on the Wheel of Life and let me know what you discover.