Every one of us will, at some time, have to face major life decisions, times of great change and upheaval. Life changes so rapidly that if we don’t take charge of where we’re going, we risk stumbling from one life stage to the next.
There’s a good reason to do a life audit at any stage, and any age. Our experts have put together a series of sessions for you to get your bearings at this point in your life, and understand how you got here, in order to plot the next stage.
‘The easiest analogy is to think of it as looking in a mirror – what you see depends how much you turn up the lights,’ says Caroline Righton, author of The Life Audit. ‘How well it works depends on how honest you are with yourself. Doing a life audit is useful because until you make a conscious effort to look at an area, you might not focus on it at all. We’re all so busy, it’s sometimes easier to muddle through rather than address the issue. It’s like clearing out your pending tray, and looking at all those things you haven’t dealt with, for example a destructive friendship or a relationship that’s going nowhere.’ Righton suggests you may find the results of your audit surprising: ‘You can start off thinking one area is fine and find it’s actually the problem. The surprise takes you aback. But doing a life audit shouldn’t scare you. You have total control over it.’
We’ve chosen five areas:
- friends and family,
- your love life,
- inner or spiritual life,
You might want to focus on one area, or take a good look at your approach to all five, for a more holistic check-up.
- If you drag yourself to work every morning and count the hours until home time, you might be thinking seriously about changing your career.
- If you are wholly absorbed in bringing up children, but find it a daily struggle, you might be wondering how to get joy back in your life.
- If you’ve abandoned your meditation practice and never seem to have time to think deeply about matters beyond the everyday, you might be wondering what happened to your spiritual side.
- If you’ve neglected your health and allowed your fitness regime to slide over the winter, you might want to take a look at what you’re expecting your body to do, and how you’re managing your levels of physical confidence.
- If you’ve just got divorced, you may be aware of the repeated patterns that ended your last relationship (and the ones before that). You may want to take a proper overview of your life, to avoid making the same mistakes again and again.
There is expert analysis, but the major expert is you. Your answers will reveal which areas of your life need urgent attention. Answering these questions in your own way, in your own time, will begin to show up recurring problems and patterns that need attention. All you need is a notebook, a pen and time to yourself to think.
I’ve considered my life questions – what now?
With your answers, you will be able to work out the next steps – whether you want to talk through the issues with a trained therapist, or people close to you. Whether you want to make a clean break, or simply a few key changes. You’ll be in control.
‘It’s definitely a useful exercise,’ says Nina Grunfeld, self-improvement expert and founder of Life Clubs. ‘The questions will trigger something in you. It’s all brain training. You can question yourself analytically, which opens up ways of checking in with yourself on a regular basis. When you’ve done the big life audit, you should get to the stage where you don’t need to do a total audit every time, you can just revisit small areas that are giving you trouble. '
‘It’s exciting and inspiring, it shouldn’t feel overwhelming,’ says Grunfeld. ‘You don’t have to make massive changes. Little things can have enormous consequences. A life audit gets you to think differently, and you are then equipped with the tools to use again and again.’