You’re about to learn why a life audit is useful and the most effective strategies for conducting one effectively.
As a certified life coach, I’m familiar with all popular strategies to help people identify where to make improvements in their life – and I’ve listed my favourite methods below.
You don’t need to use all of them. In fact, I recommend you only try the strategies you think will help you live a better life.
With that said, let’s dive in.
1. What Is A Life Audit And Why Is It Useful?
Before you start creating your life audit, it could first be useful to understand how it will help you. This understanding will hopefully inspire you to complete your audit fully and regularly.
A life audit is similar to a financial audit, in that you’ll be listing your assets and liabilities. The big difference is that you’ll be doing this for all important areas of your life, not just your finances.
As with a financial audit, a life audit will help you take stock of where you currently stand, how close you are to your goals and what you need to do to reach them.
By collecting this information regularly, you should hopefully become more motivated to take action and move towards your goals. You’ll also give yourself a clearer idea of how to do it.
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A life audit will often help to improve your day-to-day mood too. It often serves as somewhat of a ‘gratitude list’, because you’ll list everything that’s going well in your life. Hopefully, you’ll also be able to spot clear improvements compared to past audits, helping you to see that things aren’t quite as bad as you perceived them to be.
You’ll also be given a clear indication of where you’re lacking, meaning you’ll know what areas of life to focus on to improve your overall happiness. This should hopefully prove to be motivating too!
Honestly, I’d recommend everyone perform regular life audits, but they’d be particularly useful in the following scenarios.
- You feel unfulfilled.
- You feel lost and purposeless..
- You don’t know what will make you happier.
- You’re constantly overwhelmed by your emotions.
- You feel emotionally low, but you’re not sure why.
- You’re ready to level up in life, and want to do so at lightning speed!
If any of these bullets describe your current mood, I urge you to take action and use the following steps to create a super-effective life audit.
2. Decide What Categories To Audit
Your first step is to determine what categories you want to audit.
You can choose as few or as many categories as you wish. The more you choose, the more detailed your audit wiill be, but it will take longer to complete, meaning you may be less inclined to complete it regularly. That’s why I recommend only choosing the categories that are valuable to you.
Below, I have listed some categories you might want to use.
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Job Satisfaction
- Career Progress
- Net Worth
- Financial Knowledge
- Relationships With Family
- Relationships With Friends
- Community Contribution
- Love Life
- Fun & Leisure
- Contribution & Legacy
- Personal Growth
- Online Community Growth
This ‘Wheel Of Life’ from The Coaching Academy strikes a nice balance between too basic and too overwhelming.
3. Decide How To Rate Yourself
After you’ve chosen categories for a life audit, the idea is to rate your satisfaction with each of them.
Writing your scores down is crucial, as you’ll be comparing your next results to your previous ones.
Use whatever scoring system you’re comfortable with. Most people choose to rate themselves out of five or ten.
The most important thing is that your scoring system and the criteria for it is easy to understand, so you can achieve consistency in your ratings for each category during each audit.
I like this system:
1 – Very unsatisfied
2 – Unsatisfied
3 – Neither Unsatisfied
4 – Satisified
5 – Very Satisfied
Consider adding decimals to your ratings if you feel this system is too simple without them.
If you visualise your scores in a graph, like the one above, it becomes easier to see how your ratings change over time.
There are plenty of smartphone apps that allow you to do this with ease. It’s quicker and arguably easier to store your results in an app, compared to writing them down on paper, too.
4. Decide How Often To Rate Yourself
Again, this is down to your own personal preference.
Some people recommend a weekly audit, although for most of your categories, you’re unlikely to experience significant shifts in your ratings during this time. A monthly or a quarterly audit may prove to be less overwhelming.
With that said, in many social experiments, participants are asked to give daily ratings of their mood. This could be useful for categories based on mental wellness, such as self-image, energy, job satisfaction and overall happiness, as these tend to fluctuate often.
You could use the ‘Randomly RemindMe’ smartphone app for this task and potentially record the average of your daily scores for your monthly audit.
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5. Use Your Values Instead Of Categories
Instead of rating your satisfaction in various areas of your life, you can rate how well you’re living life according to your values.
Here are my two favorite ideas to determine what you value.
- Write down 5-10 adjectives that you most wish your friends would use to describe you.
- Write down “I am the type of person who…” then complete the sentence 5-10 times.
The great thing about this is that you can do it today. Once you’ve identified your values, consider them the themes of your life. From now on, you’ll make all your decisions according to these.
I think living according to these themes is better than setting and chasing goals.
Goals are always to be achieved in the future. The satisfaction from hitting them is fleeting. Soon enough, you’ll be setting new goals.
Values are for the present moment. The satisfaction from living according to them can be experienced today and every day.
So, why not use your life audit to make sure you’re doing that? By all means, do this as well as your category ratings.
6. Use Questions Instead Of Ratings
If you don’t like working with numbers, try making an audit by answering self-reflection questions instead. I have listed some ideas for relevant questions below. Feel free to pick out the questions that are most relevant to your life.
- What is my dominant emotion lately?
- What has been on my mind a lot lately? Why do I think about it so much?
- Am I spending enough time with my family and friends?
- Am I as close I’d like with my family and friends?
- Am I spending enough time doing my passions?
- Am I spending enough time working?
- Am I spending enough time relaxing?
- Am I spending enough time having fun?
- Am I following my life purpose enough?
- Do I make the most of my free time?
- Which 5 people am I spending the most time with – and is this healthy for me?
- Am I happy with my body?
- Am I happy with my emotional state?
- What would I do if I had more money?
- What new activities would I like to start?
- What new habits would benefit me?
- What bad habits would I like to change?
- Where do I spend money that doesn’t benefit me?
- How can I reduce my cost of living?
- Have I challenged myself enough recently?
- What could I learn to benefit my life the most?
- What would make me happier in my career? Do I desire a new job?
- What would make me happier in my living space?
- What material things do I need to be happy?
- What has made me happiest recently?
- What have I done that has made me proud?
- What is causing me the most stress?
- What changes can I make to immediately improve my mood?
- Are my actions generally reflecting my true self?
- Are the changes I’ve already implemented serving me?
For each of these questions, it’s worth asking yourself ‘why?’ or ‘why not?’. This will help you set goals to hit before your next audit.
7. Use The Levels Of Personal Consciousness
You can use Barrett’s 7 Levels Of Personal Consciousness as part of a quicker but effective life audit. Simply identify what level you’re at, and what you can do to in the near future to move up a level.
Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs is a similar albeit simpler concept. Here, you can identify which of these needs are being met, then what you can do to fulfil your current hierarchy and move up.
8. Measure Your Meaningful Time
Time is the only resource that’s guaranteed to be limited to humans. It’s therefore the most important currency we have. So, it makes sense to dedicate part of our life audit to evaluate how we’re using it.
How about answering these three questions?
- What’s truly valuable to you in life? (write as many answers as you deem necessary)
- How much time are you dedicating towards these things?
- What can you do to create more time for these things?
I’d recommend actually timing how long you spend engaging with your passions. It’s probably less than you realise. Maybe this will shock you into action.
The activities that you value most might change over time. Hopefully, the amount of time you’re spending on them increases as a result of this exercise. This can be a good time to reflect on where you’re wasting time and how you can end this bad habit.
We can all lose focus, fall into distraction and waste energy on meaningless things, especially in this age of personal web-connected gadgets. This exercise should inspire you to improve your focus, reduce your distraction time and live a fuller life.
9. Create An Action Plan To Get Where You Want To Be
Once your life audit is come to an end, your next steps will involve preparing a better future.
For each of your categories/values/questions, ask yourself “what can I do to get a better score next time?”
Sometimes, the answer will be immediately obvious. Occasionally, it will take a bit of research. Perhaps there’s someone who has already reached success in this area who you can ask for help. Don’t skimp on this part of the audit, as it’s actually the most important. Take as long as you need to reflect on this.
10. Check Your Goals And Set New Ones
Earlier, I mentioned why values are better than goals for creating quick and lasting fulfilment. However, goals are useful for levelling up in various parts of your life.
It’s often recommended to set SMART Goals for the short-term, medium-term and long-term future.
So, by all means, use this audit time to check your progress towards these goals and to set new ones.
11. Evaluate Your Progress
I mentioned that graphing your results makes it easier to check your progress over time. This is a really big part of the process.
Sometimes, we get so caught up with a single disappointment that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Your history of life audits will (hopefully) be able to quickly provide proof that things are generally getting better for you. Or, at the very least, that some things are going reasonably well.
If you don’t even have that, at least you still have a plan to make things better.
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Any more questions?
I hope this article is going to help you plan a great life audit – and live your best life! I really believe this exercise can help anyone looking for success and happiness, so why not start your first audit now?
If you have any questions about this process, you could always ask them in the comments section below.
I’d love to hear from you.