Human beings are often human doings. We often too easily discount how much we do accomplish or how far we’ve come, and can forget to look back and see that where we are now is possibly exactly where we wanted to be with a goal we set for ourselves five years prior. It’s not very helpful or kind to discount the positive, in your life or in your efforts. It is helpful to endorse yourself for all the efforts you have made and to sometimes take a step back and see what IS working. Staying focused and keeping your eyes on where you want to be going will yield progress towards where you want to be. Just don’t forget to appreciate how far or how long you’ve been committed to moving forward and what steady efforts you’ve made.
I heard an interview between the writers, Adam Grant and Harlan Coben, at a recent American Library Association virtual conference. Harlan Coben was interviewing Adam Grant about Grant’s most recent book, “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know”, and Grant said something in reference to 2020 about how, if you didn’t take the time in 2020 to reevaluate things and their meaning to you, then you may have missed the point. In the midst of a global pandemic, political unrest, health crises, personal and political changes of a big order for many people, it does have a tendency to make us feel the ground underneath us has shifted.
And in that shift, many people, if they could, have focused on reevaluating their lives and seeing what was important to them. It’s been a time of stopping, resetting and making choices that are new and sometimes scary for many of us. Often we do this type of reevaluating after something really awful or challenging has happened in life. But when we come to rest and reevaluate what is important for ourselves and our lives going forward, we want to remember what DOES work, what has been working and try to take that with us while we move into the new choices, locations, positions, etc.
Regardless of why we make change or what led us to do it, it often helps to think back and see where our energy has been going and how our time is being apportioned now. Even if you couldn’t see family for much of the past year, or if you unfortunately lost beloved family members, maybe it made you realize how important family is to you and that being near surviving family (or you can plug in what it is for you,) is more important than something else going on in your life. Have you found yourself wondering why you’re giving energy and time to certain projects or things you used to that no longer function well for you?
Think about all the people who made new choices for their families for location, schooling, workplace, home office, and more recently. And though many of those decisions were made under duress, I myself have heard people tell me that it clarified priorities for them.
So now, where do you spend your time? What does work for you? What is going fine? What can you build on and grow? Do you ever find yourself saying, “where does my time go?” Maybe you want to take some time to assess if where you’re spending your time and energy now is going towards things that really feed your soul?
If this resonates for you, it may be a great time to do a new life pie! The life pie exercise is one I’ve done at various points of my life and always find helpful. It’s easy to do. Take a moment to draw a circle on a piece of paper. You want to make lines (like spokes in a wheel) in your circle for about 8 categories (this number can be flexible if you feel you have a few more or less). Feel free to change these to fit what works for you, but I generally stick to some general themes of family, work, health, social, home, personal growth, spiritual growth, and relationship.
You’ll want to put your categories into your pie and then give each one a 1-10 of where or how you are with that category right now, with 10 being the best you could be in that category. Ask yourself why you think that you gave each category that number. And what would a “10” be for you? If you gave a certain category an 8, for example, you’d say, “If I’m an 8 now in the arena of personal growth, what would “10” be for me?”
Ever the journaling instructor I am, I think it’s helpful to write the answers to these questions down so you have them to look back at over time when you’re assessing where you’ve been and where you want to be going!
After you’ve done this, you can draw another circle and this time, draw out where each “slice of the pie” section would look like in the circle: possibly a skinny slice of pie for social this past year possibly and a large slice of pie for exercise and health. Afterwards, you can see better where your time and energy in your life pie has been spent, what it looks like to you, and what ingredients you might want to change up for moving forward. You can also see what growth you may have made in each slice of pie and think about the successes you’ve had in that arena.
This is the idea of measuring where we’re at now and then seeing where we’re going. For myself, I see that noting my successes, as well as what I have done this past year and where I have spent my energy (and the time in my “life pie”) helps to build a sturdier foundation on which to grow.
How’s your life pie going? Which slices “taste great” right now and which ones do you wish to change out for a different recipe Wishing you a joyful life pie and all good things! Follow us on social media @joyfestivalindustries or email [email protected] with what you’re doing to bring joy into your life now!