While your idea of a healthy, wealthy, and fulfilling life may be slightly different from mine, it’s highly likely to include the same elements. It’s more than the food we eat, the amount of exercise and sleep we get, or what’s in our wallets.
It’s also about love and relationships, careers and communities, finances and spirituality. It’s about who we are, what we enjoy, and what completes us.
Someone might hold over a million dollars in net worth, or practice the healthiest nutrition plan in the world and exercise every day, yet if other wellbeing dimensions in their life are out of balance, they are probably not going to be or feel their best. Likely feeling a bit lost or unsatisfied.
“Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
When not being fulfilled in any area of life, we attempt to fill the void all too frequently by spending money recklessly or eating unhealthy or excessive amounts of food.
In today’s society garages are crammed full of stuff so cars can’t fit in them and rented storage units are pushing capacity. The obesity epidemic continues to rise worldwide at alarming rates, and household savings rates are dropping while household debt climbs.
In our attempts to determine how to be happy and feed our hunger for play, fun, touch, romance, intimacy, achievement, and success, or art, music, self-expression, leadership, excitement, and spirituality, we end up overweight and broke instead.
Satisfying Your Hunger
When you think of nourishing your body, you might usually think of carbs, proteins, fruits, and vegetables, but these are just one source of nourishment. They feed your body but aren’t able to give you lasting joy, meaning, or success.
Elements of friendship, adventure, significance, and security are also essential forms of nourishment, and the extent to which you can incorporate them determines how enjoyable and worthwhile your life feels.
Joshua Rosenthal, from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, describes it like this:
When we use secondary food – carbs, proteins, fruits, vegetables – as a way to alleviate or suppress our hunger for primary food – comfort, significance, gratification, security – the body and mind suffer. Weight gain is just one of the consequences. Diet-related disorders such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes are national epidemics, and one of the main reasons is because we are stuffing ourselves with secondary foods when we are really starving for primary food. If you’re not getting the primary food you need, eating all the food in the world won’t satisfy your hunger.
When life seems hectic, your energy is typically unfocused, running in different directions and it’s easy to find yourself off-balance, not paying enough attention to the needed or desired areas of your life. Many of us are stressed out and running around in circles, never making the time to take inventory of where we are and where we want to go.
Years go by, and one day you find yourself asking, “How did I get HERE?”
That’s why it can be crucial to make time for looking at your life. Step back a bit, look at the big picture, and see things objectively. Examine each area of your life and determine what’s off-kilter. You can then focus in on areas that need more attention and acknowledge and be grateful for the areas that are feeding you.
Once you have identified the areas that need attention, it’s time to plan the action steps to regain balance, tame the stress, and feel more fulfilled so you can truly enjoy your life. Commit to these efforts by writing them down once you have set your goals in place.
Time to Evaluate
Let’s start by looking at the 13 different areas below that embody a healthy and fulfilling life and rate your satisfaction or fulfillment of each based on a scale of 1-10. Ten being the highest – as in “It’s FABULOUS and couldn’t be better!” and 1 being “This has to freaking change.” Then write something down that would make it rate higher.
[Instantly download your Life Evaluation Worksheet]
- Overall Health
- Physical Activity
- Home Environment
- Romantic Relationship
- Family Relationships
- Community Engagement
How do your numbers look?
Which areas of your life are most nurturing you?
Are there areas that fall in the middle range that you would like to improve?
Can you see areas that cause you to feel stressed or empty and unfulfilled?
Take some time to journal your thoughts, ideas, and revelations.
What Areas of Your Life Are Feeding You?
We all want loving relationships, meaningful work, optimal health, laughter, joy, adventure, fun, and purpose. When we can focus on what truly makes us happy and fulfills us, and we’re doing what we love to do most of the time, everything else seems to fall into place more naturally.
What is it that feeds YOU? How do you love spending your time? What do you look forward to the most?
When are you the most: happy, energized, balanced, at peace, joyful, fulfilled, etc.? Think about what that is for you and how you can create that.
Increase Your Joy
Jot down what delights you and what feeds you the most on an emotional or spiritual level. Next, note how you want to focus on those things. Then determine one action step you will take this week to create more joy and emotional fulfillment.
Improve Your Balance
For the areas of your life that were below an 8-10 range, what are some ideas you have to feel more satisfied and complete?
Identify three to five areas that are not currently providing you the nourishment you want and need but with improvement, would have the most significant impact on your life.
- Which of those areas would be the easiest to start with and why?
- Which would be the most challenging and why?
- Decide on 3-5 areas you could work on that would improve your happiness and life balance. Be specific.
Here are some sample questions to help you get started:
- What makes you unhappy with your current job?
- Is it your job duties or whom you work for?
- What needs to change to possibly make it better?
- What do you have the power to change?
- In what way could your finances be better?
- Do you need to earn more, spend less, save more, etc.?
- How can you make a plan for that? (Brainstorm some ideas)
- What do you really want for your health?
- In what ways do you need to take better care of yourself and how does that look? (Be very specific)
- What would you most like to see change? (family, friends, spouse, children, co-workers, etc.)
- What part of that change can you own and create?
- What would you like to change in your home environment?
- Do you need more help from family members?
- Are there needed repairs?
- What can you start with?
Note your 3-5 areas that need more nurturing and reflect on ways to go about that.
Creating the Health, Wealth, and Happy Life
Sometimes our search for the ideal number on a scale or in a bank account isn’t about the number at all. Sometimes it’s about finding that which will nourish us on a much deeper level and makes us feel complete, loved, and part of something much bigger.
Maybe you aren’t yet quite sure what that is for you right now, and that’s okay. Don’t give up being curious, continue searching instead. Sometimes just being open to new possibilities can open doors you would have never thought of. Just about anything is possible!
“In the midst of our struggle to find out who we are, there are infinite possibilities for beauty, and hope and wonder and love.” ~ Mandy Hale
In my next few posts, we’ll dive further into what makes up a happy and meaningful life to help you explore and develop your goals and create success. Join the community, so you don’t miss it!
Which area or areas for improvement do you want to focus your attention? Have you determined your first action step?
I’m continuing to simplify my life at home by doing another round of minimizing our ‘stuff’ starting in the kitchen. I’m also staying physically active with the Adventure Rich Streak Challenge by running at least 1 mile a day to maintain my quest for good health (join us!) #ARStreak.
Please add to the conversation and share your thoughts, ideas, and comments below!