This week I have been thinking about what it means to be in the Lifestyle section of the newspaper.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary lifestyle means: “the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture”.

Now that made me think about the word “typical”.  You see no matter where you go, there are many differences in society.  Individuals think, feel and act differently from their neighbours.  Groups usually form based on a common interest or value that might not be shared by others in the same geographic area. Even cultures have differences both within and without.

So, today I am going to just focus on the idea that each of us can improve our own individual lifestyle if we choose to do so.  The first step is to be aware of our strengths and weaknesses.  Most of us invest our time and energy into the things that we enjoy.  The result, of course is that some things become even stronger while others continue to be weaker.

One of my favourite authors is Dr. Suess.  In “The Places You’ll Go” he writes: “Life is one great balancing act.  Just like a vehicle has problems trying to function with one flat tire, we, as people, do not function well if there is an area of our life that is “flat”.  We need to re-balance our life.

Here is a simple exercise that will help you to determine the areas in your life that need work:

  1. Take a clean sheet of paper and draw a circle with the word ME in the middle.
  2. Draw lines touching and spaced evening from the circle outwards like spokes of a wheel.
  3. On the end of each line draw a circle and write a word that represents one part of your life.  Examples might include Physical, Mental, Social, Financial, Familial, Environmental, Recreational, Intellectual, Spiritual.
  4. Then go to one of the circles and think about the things you do in that category. For example, under Social you might put activities like play cards on Tuesdays, belong to a coin collecting group, invite company for supper on Sunday evenings.
  5. Then rate your satisfaction for that specific category. A 10 is most satisfied and 0 is least satisfied.
  6. Go around the circle doing the same thing until you reach the beginning.
  7. Then begin analyzing the situation. Are there some categories where you need to do more?  Or less?  Or differently?
  8. Once you have decided about the changes that you want to make, set a goal that is SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive).
  9. Remember, a goal is a dream with a deadline! Set a firm deadline.
  10. Start working on the goal today!

If you follow these steps, it won’t be long until you will reap the benefits of improved lifestyle.

And, as you improve, I bet those around you will not only notice but also benefit from the changes you have chosen to capture.

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