The summer is a perfect time to reflect on the goals that you have set for yourself and where you are in relation to achieving them. Even more important than goals is reflecting on the type of person you are trying to be. The person that you seek to be with your friends, in relationships, with your family, at work, and beyond.
Most times when I speak to my clients about goal setting, we simply talk about fitness, sleep, or cooking, and of course those are all valid and important. But what happens when you achieve those goals. Are you done? Are you fulfilled?
The exercise that follows, referred to as the Life Compass, is meant to move you beyond simple goal setting and toward an exploration of the person you strive to be across all areas of life. It is based in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a form of behavioral therapy that focuses on enabling individuals to open up to difficult feelings, connect to the present moment and do what matters.
Below I have listed the 10 areas of life, referred to as the Life Compass:
• Personal Growth
• Community & Environment
• Social Relationships
• Intimate Relationships
First, take a few minutes to list the type of person you want to be in each. If a box isn't relevant to you, feel free to skip it.
Next, rank each area of life from 0-10 based on how important it is to you. Multiple boxes can have the same score, for instance you could rate family as well as social relationships both a 9. This clarifies how important each area of life is to you right now and will help us identify a strategic course of action for identifying and acting on your values in each area.
Now that you have ranked each box according to priority, we are going to look at each box again in terms of the amount of action you have been taking in each. Take a moment to reflect back on this past month and rank each section again from 1 to 10 regarding how much time and energy you have observably been investing in this area. For instance, while you may value social relationships at a 9, you may score yourself as only acting on a 3 in this past month. Make sure you complete both scores for each relevant section of the life compass.
Now that you have completed the scoring of the Life Compass, take a few moments and reflect back on your scores. Do you notice a gap between how important an area of life is and how much action you have been investing in that area?
When we notice a gap between how important something is and the way we are showing up in that area of life, this often leads to suffering of some kind, and always represents an opportunity to move closer toward a rich and fulfilling life.
By the end of this activity, you have now clarified your vision for what matters to you in your life. Notice if there is any feeling of guilt or sadness regarding an area that you may have neglected lately. You can ask yourself what this feeling or frustration tells you about that which is important to you. For instance, if you feel sad that you have not acted in health, this tells you that this really matters to you. There is always an opportunity to invest more action in an intentional and mindful way.
From here, I recommend selecting 1 or 2 areas of the Life Compass to focus on first. Make a plan to take action and show up in these 2 respective areas of life over the next 30 days.
What does this mean about how you invest your energy today? Tomorrow? Check back on your Life Compass often to make sure you are always setting sail toward the vision you have of a rich and fulfilling life.
For those that are looking to solidify their Life Compass and develop a strategic plan for action including how to navigate difficult emotions and barriers that prevent us from moving forward, I encourage you to check out my profile and explore what working together could feel like.
If you're interested in learning more about the Life Compass and goal setting, reach out to Brie Scolaro, LMSW for a free consultation!
Complete our free, confidential questionnaire to easily and quickly match with 3 personalized coaches or therapists.
Brie Scolaro, LMSW is a licensed social worker and performance coach that empowers their clients to look inward while taking concrete action towards the life they crave.