The 4 Areas of Life to Get Your Journeys Back on Course

It’s that time of the year again. We start to see and hear discussions of goals and plans for next year.

We start to think about how our current year has gone.

Did we do what we set out to do? Did we set out to do anything? Did we succeed or make progress? Did we stumble?

These are questions we ask ourselves around this time of the year. Assessing where our lives are right now. Thinking where we’d like them to be.

I thought it was a good time to update the Areas of Life post from last year (original post link) and share the improvements. This is only the start though.

This post sets the foundation for establishing goals, determining priorities and setting a direction.

The first step is a review of ourselves and the other things in our lives. That’s where the Areas of Life board comes in.

But, why do this "areas of life" thing?

Have you set goals set only have forgotten them later?

Have you committed to things you really didn’t want to do?

Having your areas of life defined is your secret weapon.

Defining the important and valued areas of our lives gives us the edge. It provides us with a starting point having clear goals, priorities, and direction.

This post establishes a process and sets the foundation for improving our lives.

As we go through the areas, it may seem as if I’m leaving you hanging on many of the topics. Well, that’s because I am. This is just the beginning of a process. Once we’re all on the same page, we all have our maps, then we can take the next steps.

The 4 Areas of Life

The 4 Areas of Life Mind Map

Renamed are the 4 Areas of Life on the new mind map. They are:

  • <Your Name> Inc.
  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Providing Resources

<Your Name> Inc.

As rapper/mogul Jay Z would say “I’m not a businessman / I’m a business, man.”, so Inc. yourself and grow your business.

The <Your Name> Inc. area is all about recognizing and improving ourselves.

We have to plan on taking care of ourselves first. This allows you to flourish in the other areas.

<Your Name> Inc. sets the structure for categorizing the essential areas to ourselves. Taking care of ourselves allows us to have more energy and focus to attack our plan and give more to others.

It’s a big mindset shift for some, but if we’re thinking long-term, <Your Name> Inc. needs care and attention.

Under <Your Name> Inc. we have the following sub-categories.

Growth

Since we are a business, we want our business to grow. To be successful in all kinds of ways. We do this by focusing on two aspects of ourselves: Personal and Professional.

The Personal category captures elements we want to grow or improve as a person.

The Professional category captures elements we want to grow or improve for our profession. Two sub-categories added: Hard Skills and Soft Skills. Soft skills such as being a better storyteller, conversationalist, or networker. Hard skills like learning a new programming language.

I need this extra breakdown as I’m very hard skills focused. It’s so easy to become absorbed in the technical subjects.

Health

The next area of life under the <Your Name> Inc is Health. This is a big one. If not aligned, it can throw many other areas out of whack. Within the Health area, the sub-categories need to be aligned as well. The sub-categories included are:

  • Fitness — to address the body through motion
  • Nutrition — to address the body and mind through what and when we eat including supplements
  • Social — fulfilling the need to interact with others. There have been some studies that link deficiencies in social relationships to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Although, one has to wonder how much mindset, covered next, plays into this.
  • Emotional/Mental — building of a better mindset and emotional intelligence allowing us to perform and react better. A core pillar to the many other areas. As Carol S. Dweck writes throughout her book “Mindset - The New Psychology of Success, having the right mindset can make a huge difference in all areas of life. Having the awareness to recognize where your mindset is, fixed or growth, is critical. Are you more of a fixed or growth mindset? The answer to that question will determine and drive decisions in the next post. 

Spiritual/Values

The Spiritual/Values category addresses religious self and forces us to recognize if we are living by our values. If you are not religious, you could substitute the word Meaning or just go with Values.

The purpose of this sub-category is to address, set, or balance our moral compass and values. A good question to ask ourselves here would be: “Am I living by my values?”

Recognizing what values are most important can help with decisions, setting priorities and much more. Here is an exercise I’ve used before: What Are Your Values?

“Giving” was here on the previous Areas of Life board. It had more of a financial context and thus is now in the Finances area.

Relationships

The Relationships area is an easy one cover. List out all the relationships of meaning. The sub-categories Family, Friends and Business are added to provide some delineation.

Family covers siblings and parents. Add more family relationships as needed.

Friends and Business relationships are self-explanatory.

Feel free to place some important relationships at the top level. The template has Wife, Son, but again, update the names and move them where it feels most appropriate.

Finances

We’ve all heard the saying “money can’t buy happiness”, but it can buy options.

Let’s face it. If we had more money AND a sound purpose and direction, we could do more of something.

Being happy is a different story. Mindset plays a big role here. This is one reason the <Your Name> Inc area is SO IMPORTANT.

The Finances area includes three sub-categories to provide direction.

Investments & Savings

Two sub-categories have been added Retirement and Vacation. Remove these and add other sub-categories as needed. Many will come and go as life changes.

Feel free to break a category down into further details. For example, managing a super safe basic investment with a specific target need amount and another higher risk growth investment for the extras could show up as “Secure Future” and “Extra Fun” under Investments or Retirement.

Income

The Income category covers anything bringing in money. This could be a career, business or future opportunity requirement time and attention.

Consulting and New Online Business are provided as example sub-categories. They represent my independent consulting practice and my efforts in establishing an online business.

Giving

The “Giving” sub-category is optional and depends on your beliefs and values. Church and Charities are provided as sub-categories. Change, delete and add as needed.

Providing Resources

The Providing Resources category is an interesting one. It’s meant to address things that play a vital role in supporting other areas of life. Once we’ve recognized these, we want to make sure they are optimized for that support.

I’ve provided “Home” which puts a roof over our heads, provides a gym, office and entertainment space. The other sub-category is “Car” which provides reliable transportation for me and the family.

The Wrap Up

There you have it. The updated and improved system for getting started with managing and improving the areas of life that matter most. Here is what it looks like from following along.

The 4 Areas of Life Mind Map

The addition of using the mind mapping software (MindMup) is a big plus. It’s free and saves right to your Google Drive. Definitely, take advantage of the “File —> Make a copy” capability to keep a yearly version. The export capability makes MindMup excellent for brainstorming and moving the content to another application. Want to know more? Let me know in the comments below.

Now that we’ve built this "Areas of Life" mind map, what next?

The next step is to think about where we are in each of these areas. Asking questions is a good method of evaluation.

Am I happy with my health or financial picture?

Am I satisfied with the status of this relationship?

The questions help determine where we are with a particular area and the actions we want to take.

That’s what we’ll do in the next article. We will dig deeper; evaluating the current state, actions, and the future we want to achieve in each area.

So get started on your Areas of Life mind map. It’s easy to create with MindMup. Sign up below and I’ll send you a link to the template to get you started faster.

Hope this leads to a positive step on your Rich Life Journey!

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