How does a fun, fulfilled, and satisfied life look to you? Do you have a hard time finding the answer, just like me? This 3-step process has helped me figure out what I value in life and guide me in the right direction, even though I don’t know the end goal.
I used this process to evaluate 2017, and I will undoubtedly use it again to evaluate 2018, maybe tweaking the method to match my personality. You don’t have to stick to a yearly schedule though, a quarterly or half-year schedule will work just as well.
- Rate and review the different areas of life
- Do an 80/20 analysis of the best and worst moments
- Set a focus for the next period
You can spend as much or as little time as you want in each step. I’ll go through a simple 30-minute step-by-step process.
Download accompaning worsheet
If you’re going to get into action now and want to do this exercise interactively (highly recommended), you can download the free worksheet PDF below 🙂
Step 1: Rate and review the different areas of life
The first step is to rate all your areas of your life; give them a score of 1–10.
Make it simple, go with the first number you think. That’s the ‘right’ number, the second number you get is where you intellectually believe you should be. But trust your unconscious mind. If you don’t get a number, try to relax and put off any pressure, maybe skip that category for now.
Credits to Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Life Workshop in 2016 where I got this method. Although, I have changed it a bit to work better with a recurring review.
- Work Career: How satisfied and fulfilled are you with the work you do, colleagues, and location?
- Finances: How are your finances? Abundance? Scarce? How do you earn them?
- Body: Are you fit (according to you)? Do you eat healthily? Are you exercising?
- Mind: Do you have interesting and stimulating problems and conversations?
- Energy: How much energy do you have throughout the day?
- Love: How’s your love life? Do you have one? Are you fulfilled, do you match, how’s the sex?
- Social Life: Do you have close friends? Do you have too many or too few friends (highly personal)? Do you see your friends as often as you want?
- Family: How’s your relationship with your family? Can include your parents and siblings, or your own family with children.
- Home: Are you living where you want? In the way you want?
- Technology: Do feel fulfilled with the technology you have? Can you ‘work’ or do things without getting irritated about old or slow devices? I.e., are things working?
- This Reality: In general, how do you like this life and world?
- Fun: Do you have fun in your life? Are you satisfied with the amount of fun, do you want more? Less?
- Your categories: You might have one or more areas of your life that I haven’t covered, feel free to add those 🙂
What’s working, what’s not working, and where do you want to go?
After you’ve rated each area, go through each one again and add one or two words what’s already working, and one or two words for what isn’t working. Just jot down whatever comes to your mind, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
For example, for the category ‘home,’ I write: + cozy, social, – small, shared kitchen
As you’re going through each area, think of a few keywords to describe what your dream scenario would look like—allow yourself to dream freely.
For example, again in the category ‘home,’ I write: cottage poly community, social, hidden rooms
Now I’m not saying you have to work towards that dream, but the dreaming can help you discover what is important to you. Maybe you’d like to live big or small? Why is that the case? Or in the case of health, you might want to be strong. Why?
If you like introspection, you can continue to flesh out what’s working, what’s not working, and where you want to go so you can live a fulfilled life. But also the various lessons you’ve learned in each category.
Step 2: Do an 80/20 analysis of the best and worst moments
I learned this approach from Tim Ferriss, and I love it. It helps me find what I activities I genuinely like doing and feel fulfilled by, and what people I enjoy seeing. The result doesn’t always add up to what I intellectually think I want, which makes the method great. For example, I believed that I want to be famous, but by following this process, I now know that pursuing that goal in and of itself won’t lead to fulfillment and joy.
Tim uses this the 80/20 at the end of every year. He goes through his entire calendar, day by day, to see which 20 percent of activities, experiences, and people produced 80 percent or more of his most positive emotions and outcomes. In simpler terms which activities and people were most fulfilling? Then for the next year, he decides to do more of that.
But he also looks at the 20 percent of activities, experiences, and people that produce 80 percent of the most negative emotions. As this helps Tim steer away from those activities and peoples.
If you want to read a more about the approach, see my How To Enjoy And Spend Your Leave Time article.
Fast lane of the 80/20 analysis
This approach takes less time than the full approach which will probably take around 1–3 hours.
- Check your calendar and write down all activities and people that were exceptional, i.e., made you feel great.
- Go through the people you’ve met throughout the year (that isn’t on the calendar). Both people you meet often, and people you haven’t met that often. Did you have a great time with some of them? Write them down. What activity did you do together with those people?
- Now do step 1 and 2 again, but focus on activities and people that drained your energy and were boring.
- (Check this list now and then to remind you what you love doing, and who you want to spend more time with. Preferably set a monthly reminder on your calendar, as I’ve done, just to give the final list a quick 2-minute glance.)
There you have it, what you should do more and less of in the future, which people you should see more of and less of in the future 🙂
Slow lane: Thorough, but not necessarily better
Again, if you love introspection you might want to write down ALL activities, experiences, people you meet. And after you’ve written down all activities, choose the top 20% that gave you most energy or drained most energy.
As I mentioned, this will probably take around 1–3 hours, so be prepared. The benefit of doing a thorough analysis is that you might find a gem that you’ve missed.
I won’t do such an extensive analysis next year as the only thing it did show me more things to avoid, i.e., the negative 20 percent.
Step 3: Set a focus for the next period
Based on your results and insights, pick one or at maximum two areas (or subareas) in your life that you want to focus on for the upcoming period. For example, as I wrote in My Review Of 2017 — Lessons And What To Focus On For Next Year, in 2018 I will focus on coaching in my business. I.e., work in itself won’t be a focus, but rather when I work all decisions will go through the “how will this affect my coaching”-filter. Moreover, my second focus is on sexual exploration, which also is a subset of category ‘love.’
If you are like me, it does feel slow to focus on only one (or two) things at the time an entire year. But I’ve heard many self-help people mention the importance of focusing on only one project, skill, or area at the same time. I have to agree; when I just focus on one thing, I view the world differently. It’s so much easier to make progress and not feel overwhelmed.
The reason I focus on two areas is that they don’t overlap in my case. One is for my business, the other for my personal life. And while I do not have a fixed work schedule, when I’m working I’m in work-mode 🙂 That allows me to comfortably separate work and personal life.
How do a fun and fulfilling life look for you?
What will you do more of next year to make it fun and fulfilling? What is your focus for the next year? Please share your answers in the comments below 🙂 Or share the idea of how to make the PDF even better 🙂
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