the pieces of the pie make up you
How are you feeling about going into the year 2020? New Years Resolutions can be effective, but I encourage you to think of your life as a whole. You are a complete person. Each part of what makes you, you all works together to create a life you love. I created what I call my Wheel of Life. I started by making a list of all the areas in my life that are most important to me and I put them into a pie chart. Within each piece I wrote down what success looks like in each area. In this post I will show you how to create your own wheel.
selecting your pieces
The first step is to make a generalized list of what is most important to you. One might call them values. Psychology Today has an excellent list of values if you need inspiration. What excites you? What makes you come alive? Who do you want to be? What completes you?
Just start writing without thinking too hard about it. I found that when I did this exercise that I began with making statements like, I want to eat more nutritious foods and work out five times a week and take more relaxing baths. When my brainstorming list was complete I realize that I could actually put all those desires under self-care.
After you have your pieces then you can put action steps under each piece. Here is what my list looked like.
Knowing your Why will also play a big role in developing the action steps under each piece. Why do I read the Daily Word daily? Because it grounds me. Because it gives me calm before I head off into a chaotic world. Why do I meditate? Because it gives me clarity. Because it is in those moments of stillness when I can feel and hear God. Why do I attend church weekly? Because it allows me to connect with other people who share similar beliefs. Because it helps me feel like I am not alone.
The Why is important. If you don't know the reason, the purpose for doing what you are doing then what is the point? It is not just about doing but understanding the underlying reason for doing... and that circles back to your values. Because if I value a more meaningful relationship with God, if I value the feel of community that comes from being with others on the same spiritual path, if I value the knowledge I gain from reading scripture then I will take action because those are my core values. They make up me. They complete me. And, when I am complete that is when I am most happy and satisfied with life.
My bullet points serve as gentle reminders. I do not need to write down what time I will go to bed or what time I will wake up. I know what I a want that routine to look like. What these points do for me is remind me on a daily basis of what is important. So, when I want to stay up an extra hour to clean something, I remind myself that I am going against what I said was important.
There may be some additional work you have to do on the side. Vitamins is a perfect example. I went to the doctor. I know what my levels are. I also know some of the health challenges I face and had to do research and try out different vitamins to see what works for me. But now I know, will adjust accordingly when necessary. But seeing it written down reminds me everyday that, yes, this is certainly important to my well-being.
I currently manage a high-rise condominium. The safety of the residents that life there are of highest priority to me. So, when an after-hour calls comes in or an emergency comes up I respond with understanding, control and empathy. There are no action points under this piece specifically, but I did feel it was important for me to recognize that this is a part of my life and an area where I want to continually succeed.
Your action steps may look a little differently. Maybe you want to get more education or certified or get a promotion. Those are certainly points you may considering writing down.
I listed non-romantic and romantic in two different pieces, because to me they deserve a different amount of energy and attention and action. Some might not see a different and put them together.
My action steps under non-romantic were more in the form of communications. My intent is to regularly reach out to my immediate family, extended family and friends that are pretty much like family. I will do this by calling or sending greeting cards or vacationing together, but especially by remembering special occasions.
My action steps under the romantic piece of my pie are as it relates to the five love languages, as originated by Gary Chapman. The idea is that you show your partner love in the way s/he wants to be loved. While the principles are easy to understand, putting it into practice and showing your unconditional love, especially during the times in life when you don't feel like it take dedicated work, so much work that to me it needed to be its very own piece of the pie.
This year I want to adopt a dog. I consider this service. When the dog is trained I will take her to a nursing home where others can get the huge benefits that come with looking and touching a dog. I also consider this service. Those are my two actions steps.
I wanted this a piece of the pie because I wanted to make sure that I saw it everyday to remind me that service is not just about volunteering to serve food to the homeless on Thanksgiving day, but that service is something I do everyday. Maybe I hold the door open for someone, or let someone in before me when driving or being kind to those who put you down. Everyday there is an opportunity to show service. For me, I realize that why my definition of service may not be as formal or rigid as others that it does play a significant part of my daily living.
There are so many things I do for fun, I really wanted to hone in on my favorites so that a) I do not get distracted and b) so I know where to put my money.
I really felt like I needed to identify what brings me the most joy, so that I do not feel guilt when I am doing one of these actives. There is sometimes a feeling that I should be doing something productive at all times. When I have my list of favorites it almost gives me permission to do them without the guilt because I know that this is one of the areas that completes me.
Also, some of these actives can become expensive. Snow skiing tickets, concert times and travel are not cheap. Now, when I spend money on them I do not feel remorse, because again they compete me. They bring out the best in me and when I am at my best I can shower others with love and support them to become their best.
My first passion is writing. I fulfill that passion through this blog. But it does not stop there. I would like to write a few books, do more public speaking, build a brand. I want a small home on the beach down south with a boat. I want to walk the shoreline of the beach each morning with my dog and drink really expensive coffee.
My passion list does go on, but you get my drift. I wanted passions to be its own piece of the pie because I want to make sure that it remains forefront in my mind. The other areas allow me to be happy in the present, but having these future passions as something I am actively pursing is very exciting.
I currently have a spreadsheet where I track my expenses and bills for the month. I also am activity in a debt reducing program with a clean timeline for when I will be debt free. I wanted this to be on my pie chart because I know that without debt = freedom which is a value that is important to me.
the importance of the pie
While the pie represents who we are and what we want, we have to accept the reality that the chances of all the pieces being great at the same time are very slim, probably impossible. That is why focusing on your entire being versus just one area is short-sighted. If you put all of your focus into love and that love fades, then what you have left is nothing. If you put all your focus into service and those opportunity become draining you will feel defeated because you didn't focus more on your self-care, etc.
water your garden
Think of each piece of your pie as a flower. The rose bush might represent love. The tulips might represent passion and so on. You have to spend time watering each group of flowers. If you do not water them they will die. If you overwater any particular flower it will drown. Each group of flowers needs your attention, not too much and not too little.
Yes, sometimes some areas will require more attention than others at certain points in our life, but it is up to you to recognize when that attention is not necessary anymore so that you can return back to a more whole, complete and balanced life.
When we rely on only one piece of the pie to feed us, we may wind up in trouble if that piece of the pie is not going well. We will feel like the entire world is crashing down. If you have the other pieces of the pie in place, then a piece non working out great won't be as devastating.
Trust me... I am speaking from complete experience here.
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