An Inventory Of Life

Every year on or near my birthday, I like to do an inventory of my life. I’ve done this in the past and wrote about it here. For the past couple of years, this has been less of a priority since things have been so stressful in my life. I’ve reexamined my years, but really focused on them.

This year as I’ve recently celebrated my birthday (I’m not admitting which one), I decided to go back to my previous practice of looking back over the last year to see my highs and lows. Of course, this will be an interesting exercise since my life is now different in many ways but it is still important to find the lessons that life always has to teach.

Questions I ask myself:

“As I look back over the last year, what worked for me?”

“Where was I most successful?”

“What could use improvements?”

“What do I want the next year to look like?”

Here are some thoughts I had to answer these questions:

Last year was so full of ups and downs, emotional highs and lows – really low and full of changes. One thing that worked for me is to take care of myself and to honor my own reality. For the most part this meant taking care of my own emotions and dealing with whatever came up. I was most successful in coming to the understanding that I needed to make some big changes which I was able to follow through on.

We could all improve on our lives but I had to think really hard about what I wanted to improve or what would have made last year even slightly better. I did think of something, actually a couple of somethings.

One thing that would have made things easier is for me to talk more about what was happening. And talk to the right person or persons. Instead I spent a lot of time not saying what I was thinking or feeling. I also spent time just complaining without trying to find a solution.

I also spent a lot of time thinking that I had to deal with things myself because I was the only one responsible. While it is true that I am only responsible for myself, there were others involved and yet, I was taking all the responsibility.

Another thing that could have possibly improved the previous year is better conflict resolution skills. It’s not something that I do well nor have I had really good examples to follow. It is something that I began working on towards the end of the year, which was too little too late.

The change that ended the year needed to happen, it was just a painful way to come to that realization.

The Future

So, what do I want the next year to look like? Also a very good question.

In previous years, I’ve used the five different areas of life to look at this: Physical, Social, Emotional, Cognitive, and Spiritual. Although I’m not going to review how I did in any of these areas simply because these weren’t a big focus for last year, I am going to plan for going forward.

Physical – This week, along with being my birthday week, I was diagnosed with mild Asthma. I did struggle a bit through the last year with this issue, I’m finally getting treatment. Yay, me! This year, my focus for the physical area of my life will include preventative care and positive treatment. My more specific daily goal is to walk. With proper treatment, my asthma, which caused problems with walking, I should have few issues doing this. Except for motivation, which is often an issue. I’m not sure how to deal with that at this moment.

Social – I have recently discovered that when you work somewhere for a significant amount of time, being social is built-in to the day. However, since I have recently begun working from home, being social must be more deliberate. I can be content just being at home, but I still need to have a social life. Its been hard-working out schedules but I’m not giving up. My more specific goals for socialization include attending my writing meetings that I have neglected and reconnecting with other groups of people. And, to schedule time with friends and family. I’m still working on this one but it is really important because otherwise I will hole up in my house and never leave. So not healthy.

Emotional – Oh the emotions!!! I’ve been working on this area for a couple of years and though I have some ups and downs, I feel as if this is one of the areas where I’ve done well. I will continue what I’ve been doing while adding journaling. I have always turned to journaling but for some reason in the past year or so, I’ve left it behind. No more. I am working on creating a morning pages habit (Julia Cameron) . Mostly I’ve been successful – it needs a bit of work.

Cognitive – I do have to say that this is one area where I have to do little work. I love learning and challenging my brain. In fact, I often have to hold myself back in this area because I can take on too much. Although I am working on a couple of courses, my main goal is to complete my reading list of 30 something books that I created through the help of Ninja Writers at the beginning of the year. If I get through half or three-quarters, I will be happy with myself.

Spiritual – I think this is my weakest area and has been for the past few years. My only goal is to read the spiritual books on my list and to simply be open to what the universe has to show me. Since overlap is possible between the different areas of our lives, journaling will also be a part of my spiritual health this year.

So there it is, my yearly review and upcoming plans. I encourage everyone to create their own method to review the previous year and set some intentions for the upcoming year. You can use what I do, modifying it for what works for you or create your own entirely.

I also hate goal setting at the new year as resolutions don’t really work. I use my birthday time but you can pick any time you choose. The important thing is to review your own life and find out what works for you.

Please comment with your own method for reviewing your life and how you decide on goals for the next year.

Until next time,
Angela