Taking a Personal InventoryBy
– What’s In/Out of Balance in Your Life?
One purpose of taking a personal inventory of the major areas in your life is to acknowledge what’s working and balanced and to pinpoint what’s out of balance and not working. In this context, the aspects of life that are balanced are areas to be grateful for and express appreciation towards. The imbalances represent opportunities for change.
When people are troubled or feeling badly, it is often difficult to identify what is in balance in their lives and give credit to the things that are going well. Focus on the obvious and basic stuff of life in this situation. If you are able to get out of bed each day and go about your activities, then take note of that fact. If you have the freedom to buy all the food you need to feed your family every week, be grateful for your abundance. If someone loves you, you are indeed blessed.
It’s relatively easy to notice what is out of balance in your life. Your attention is probably frequently drawn to what is lacking, uncomfortable, going wrong or the opposite of what you want. Sometimes we can get very good at covering up the imbalances and suffering instead of facing them and taking action to resolve them. Usually, there’s some sort of “dissing” involved such as discomfort, discord, distress, disharmony, disagreement, disillusion or even disease.
Identifying the key areas in your life is a good place to start the process of taking your personal inventory and being honest about what is out of balance. There is no one size fits all kind of list, but the following categories cover the major areas. Add or delete what applies to you. In some instances, sub-categories are added to give you more to think about. However these could be listed as individual categories.
- Health – Physical, Emotional, Mental
- Personal Growth
- Relationships – Spouse, Significant Other, Family, Friends, Co-workers, Pets
- Relaxation & Fun
Once you have identified the major areas of your life, get a pad of paper and head up each sheet with only one category. Draw a line down the center of the paper and put a plus sign (+) at the top of the left column and a minus sign (-) at the top of the right column. Or, if you want an online template for this exercise, click here Balance Exercise and use the form provided to type out your information.
The “T” square format works nicely to organize what is out of balance and lacking in your life and to compare it to what is balanced and working for you. Since it is sometimes easier to focus on the imbalances, you might want to get those out of the way and start with the minus column. There is no right or wrong way to do this exercise. The idea is to engage your conscious awareness and spend the time thinking about the quality of your life. For example, using the Relationship category, a personal inventory might look like this:
Bringing the imbalances out of hiding or denial and into conscious awareness is enlightening. Consciously acknowledging and being grateful for the good things in life is a productive habit to engage in because it attracts more of the same and feels good. The entire process assists the conscious mind to get involved, which is important because the conscious mind is the gatekeeper to change.
© Deborah A. Lindholm
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