When I first started this series of 21 Day habit experiments, I decided it was important to try and get a bit of balance in there. Most of us are inherently drawn towards what we feel comfortable with, even though it may not be necessarily what we need the most to grow.
I knew that if was going to forge some new habits, I’d need to start by analyzing what parts of my life I'd like some adjustments in. The thought of diving into that exercise felt really overwhelming. For the sake of simplicity, I decided to start this with only three categories: Health, Wealth and Relationships. What was I most worried about in my life? What is it I wished I had? What were my fondest memories? What makes me happiest now?
I challenge you to come up with your own answers that don’t fit in one of those three buckets. I started to track where I wanted to see changes against where I was spending most of my time. I was really surprised to find that I spent the least amount of time on the things that weighed on me the most. I thought for sure that if I worried about these things so much, then I must be giving them attention. As it turns out, worrying doesn't seem to create much change on its own. To get a little more analytical and take action, I created these subcategories and possible visions:
- Physical: To be free from disease and physical discomfort. Making fitness fun and interesting and fully enjoying all the wonderful things I can do with my body.
- Nutrition: A baseline criteria for the fuel that I put into my body. For me, it’s pretty close to an organic, primal diet. For others it might just be cutting down on fast food or alcohol.
- Mental: Stress management, emotional health and vitality. Active work with meditation and seeking expert guidance from therapists and other advisors.
- Financial: For me it was about connecting purpose to work. Many people are struggling to cover the basic needs of their families. Others are looking for ways to create the kind of abundance that will let them redistribute money to those they feel need it most.
- Spiritual: This will mean something different to everybody. For me, it is being connected to a sense of purpose. To be tied to something larger than myself. For others, it is their relationship with god and involvement in their place of worship. Some people find this through the practice of creating the space to just sit in silence for a little while every day. One of the fastest ways to grow spiritual health is to start a gratitude practice or be of service to others.
- Personal Growth: I had an old boss that would always yell in sales meetings, "You're either green and growing or ripe and rotting!" This category is about being the former and not the static latter. Keeping life fresh with new experiences, knowledge, passions and relationships. You never get old enough to stop learning.
- Romantic: For some, this might be about discovering one great love. For others, it might look more like creating opportunities to be more intimate or vulnerable. For many, it’s about giving some attention to rekindling the romance with their existing partner.
- Family: Unlike our ancestors of long ago, it is very common to move out of the areas where much of our family is. As families grow and grow up, members often get busy drift apart. There’s always ways to reconnect.
- Friendships: Time with friends is one of the most common of life’s rewards to get cast aside when things get busy. For many, there might be the need to reevaluate the friends they do spend time with. The company we keep reflects much about who we are and who we want to be.
- Parenting: For the people this applies to, the relationship with your children are often the ones closest to your heart. Are you the parent that you want to be? If not, it’s time to do it because the whole process is incredibly fleeting. The good news is that it’s never too late to start being more involved.
When embarking on any journey, a good map makes it a lot easier to move forward in confidence, even if your destination is always changing. Hopefully these categories will help you get a good lay of the land as you plot your course. Try writing your own definitions and visions to help you discover where you are and where you want to go.