Areas Of Life
I’ve recognized that there are seven main areas of growth in life. Since I’m striving for lasting happiness and personal fulfillment, my ideal goal would be to achieve my maximum potential in all these areas.
I use this model only for settings goals and self-reflection. Because by knowing in which areas I can grow, It’s easier for me to set specific goals and keep track of them. It’s also a great way to quickly assess where I’m at in life. By asking questions like; “How Am I doing in the physical area?”, “How is my progress going on goal x I’ve set in the legacy area going?”
I’ve been able to add a lot more structure and clarity to my life (IMO, if you are new to this it is probably very confusing ;)). But if you’re able to push trough the first layers of confusion this model will pay you back in full,
To get some more information on this, I’ve made a video in which I explain exactly how I set my goals and design my life plan!
Why Should I Set Goals?
You’re probably wondering why I even set goals in the first place. “There’s no point in that” “I know where I’m going and don’t need to write it down” “Goal Setting doesn’t work because I’ll never reach them anyway”
Written goals have been proven time and time again that they can make a huge impact on your life altogether! A study about goal setting at Harvard University in the book “What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School” by Mark McCormack discovered the following truth;
“Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all. Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.”
Update: Apparently this is a myth – shame on me for not researching better.
Benefits of goals;
- Without a vision of your life you’ll fall into destructive short-term thinking by default (seeking stimulation and sedation).
- With a clear vision you’ll always know the best use of your time and energy so you won’t get trapped in “other peoples agenda”
- Clearly measures your progress over time which – in retrospect – adds tremendous value to your life
- Successive achievement of your goals gives a feeling of motivation, life-control and self-reliance (progressive growth is also a big factor for happiness imo)
I’m not overstating the value of clearly written goals. I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again (not to be a complete a-hole but because it’s that important);
“Without goals you’re not going anywhere.”
Alright, fair enough Simon… So..
How Do I Start?
Try to analyze for yourself how you are doing in all areas and if there is any room for improvement! Underneath I’ve arranged them with a small description and some questions that will help you assess your current situation in each area.
You are free to choose on which area you need to focus the most off-course. But I believe it is better to start with the self-improvement areas first before you start to tackle the others (these are the first three areas.) You’ll probably be doing a lot of them at the same time but my advice would be to focus the most on those first three. The seven areas of growth in life are;
But by experiencing some spiritual growth through some information I’ve acquired and practicing meditation, I can honestly say it does add an extra layer of depth to your life.
I believe this area embodies your beliefs about this world. Therefore it controls your state and emotional control. You can either consciously choose which beliefs you’ll allow in your life and the ones that aren’t capable of supporting you. This is the first area you need to work in if you want to reach any form of success. Take control of your conditioning!
- Do you like the world you are living in?
- Do you like who you are?
- Are you confident in your self-worth?
- Are you often caught in mood swings?
- Can you change these aspects for the better?
- How can you change your beliefs?
A great audiobook on beliefs called “As a Man Thinketh by James Allen“ can be found in my toolbox (free).
This area is about your physical well-being and capabilities. The way your body looks and feels, your illnesses and pains, your physical and physiological strength, the food you eat and the abilities of your body. (e.g.; your endurance, strength, flexibility, coordination and so forth.)
And maybe even some crazy physical skills if you are up for the challenge? Things like doing a human flag, handstand push-up or a sweet back-flip (Or maybe that’s just me ;))
You can work on this by improving any of the qualities I’ve mentioned above. You can do this by strength training, endurance training, stretching, healthy nutrition,… .
Some questions to help you assess your situation are the following;
- Are you in shape?
- Are you taking care of your body?
- How long has it been since you’ve been sick?
- Do you have any injuries or limitations?
- How is your body doing?
- Are you eating the things you know that are bad for you?
- Has your body been telling you things you’ve been ignoring?
- Do you want to be able to do more things with your body?
- How can you make it better?
This area is about your brain power. Your interests, skills, cognitive abilities, creative expression and general knowledge/intelligence. These are your “mental growth” goals.
You can work on these by practicing skills, (e.g.; drawing, writing, cooking, doing stunts,… .) or by solving cognitive puzzles, reading, learning and so-forth.
- Have you been taking in new information? (You’re reading this blog! -> doing great so far, keep it up!)
- Have you done something creative?
- Have you exercised your brain recently?
- What skills would you like to learn?
- How is your mind doing?
- Could it be better?
- How can you improve it?
This is the first area of external growth. This area is about your relationships with other people. (e.g. ; your family, friends, lover(s) and even the random people you meet on the street.)
You can work on this by communicating with the people you love, smile at strangers, meet up with friends, have intimate experiences with your partner, … .
How is you emotional health holding up?
- How is the relation with your family? Your friends?
- How does your love/spouse feel about your relationship?
- How do you feel about it?
- How do you treat strangers on the street?
- Would you like to be treated that way?
- How are your relationships in general?
- Could they be better?
For me that would be brightening the minds and lives of others with truth, love and power.
Your legacy is what will define your mark on this world. This is in my eyes the most important area you need to focus on.
- What will be your legacy?
- For what will you be remembered?
- What’s the most important contribution you can make to the world?
You can work on this by defining what you think is a valuable contribution to society and acting upon that. People will love you for this (or at least they will be nice to you, I hope ;s.)
Assess! Assess! Assess!
- Do you love (or even like ;)) your job?
- Does your life feel meaningful (this one is key!)?
- Are you helping others in any way/shape or form?
- What will be your mark on this world?
- How do you want this to be?
This area is partly about the material possessions you have. But the main thing this area will provide for you is freedom.
It’s partly about the car you want to drive, the amount of money you want to make and the house you want to live in.
So basically all the material rewards (either the gifts you have received or personal acquisitions) for the social value you’ve provided to society are a part of this area.
What do I mean by freedom? Freedom is spending your time on the things you want to spend your time on instead of having to do work to fulfill your basic needs. Take note that it isn’t selfish to set high standards for yourself. You deserve to live a life of luxury and so does everybody else!
You can work on this area by doing a particular job or you can find alternative ways to contribute value to people.
So how are you holding up?
- Are you experiencing an abundance that provides in all your needs?
- Are you free to live your life on your own terms?
- Are you able to spend your time on whatever you want?
- How can you improve the value you provide for others so you can get more in return?
- What does financial freedom mean for you?
The last one is the energy area. This one contains all the elements where you can get your “juice” from.
This will enable you to tackle all the other areas of growth. Energy goals are the things that give you a break from all the progress you’ve made.
These can be relaxation methods like reading, drawing, bathing, laughing, resting and so-forth. They can also be destinations you want to travel to.
Pretty much anything you do for fun or relaxation belongs in this area :) You can call them your “toy” goals.
- When was the last time you did something fun?
- Are you feeling stressed out because you’ve been growing too much in a particular field?
- When was the last time you took a nice vacation?
- Are you living a balanced life?
- Can you find more ways to add balance?
- Are you missing excitement in your life?
“In the world through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself” – Frantz Fanon
Note that some areas can overlap. (e.g.; When you are a professional painter and you convey an inspiring message in your work that inspires many people.) Than you are working on your mental health and your legacy.
So now you know in which areas you can grow!
So what is the next step in actually improving them? Analyzing your situation off course!
- Where are you at the moment in all seven areas?
- Do you like where you are?
- Is there any room for improvement?
Ask yourself the questions I’ve placed under each area or even better: write your answers down.
Next up will be to lay out where you want to be in all seven areas! What is YOUR ultimate potential/dream in all seven areas?
- How do you want your body to be?
- What skills do you want to learn?
- What do you want to leave behind in this world?
- How do you see your ultimate financial situation?
- What do you want to do/experience?
Pick the things that excite you! Ultimately it comes down to just one question;
Who Do You Want To Be?
Think limitless, the impossible is more achievable than you think ;) Write this down for yourself! Actually having an image of the person you want to become can be enough motivation to achieve your goals!
All successful people know where they are going.
Be aware that I’m talking about YOUR maximum potential, so that also includes your limitations (physical/mental handicaps)
Ultimately you have the personal freedom to choose who you want to be. It doesn’t matter how the outside world reacts as long as you are happy with your ultimate self, it’s all good (But don’t go running of doing evil things like drowning cute little puppies because I told it was ok! There are always consequences linked to your choices which you can’t choose.)
Next up is writing down behind your ultimate vision; why you want this!
- How will this improve your life?
- What are the consequences if you don’t reach this?
- Why does this excite you?
- What pleasure can you derive from achieving that goals and what kinds of pain will you get when you don’t?
Be specific about this! I’ve written a related entry on motivation before. Check it out -> What Motivates Us?
So now you have goals to work towards and the motivation behind them! This is a very powerful tool for reaching your dreams! So now go out and conquer the world ( or start with yourself ;))!
Some people think I’m crazy, stupid or unrealistic by trying to chase my dreams. But I still believe it is possible. Maybe I’m still too young and naïve and my perception of reality will change over time. But I kind of like this reality I’ve created for myself :/,
Why would I want to change my reality to something that will not empower me?
like LOVE creating beliefs that make me stronger.
So there are 7 areas in which you can grow. By knowing they exist you’ve taken the first step towards clear and structured goals.
The next steps are analyzing your situation followed by envisioning where you want to be in each category. The last thing is staying motivated.
Adding all these tips together will give you a blueprint to start from! When you have a sense of direction and purpose you’ll be intrinsically motivated to jump out of bed each morning to conquer your day with fierce excitement. This is literally the base on which you need to build your life.
Here’s my goal review for 2014;
“Achieving your maximum potential in all seven areas is ultimately what will make you happy, healthy, wise, loved, enlightened, inspiring and free.
I hope this post has helped you and keep you motivated to pursue the life you want to have. It certainly brought more clarity and structure in mine! If you have any thoughts or questions on this topic (or anything random to say) feel free to share that with me in the comment section below!
Have you given up on your dreams yet?