The Secret to Real Life Change

Unbeknownst to me our little trip in January held the secret to changing this part of my life. Before I learned this secret; I thought I was a pro at changing my life. I thought that my inability to conquer my health and fitness was because I didn’t try hard enough. Once I learned the secret my life started to change almost overnight.

The Secret to Changing Your Life – Part 1

The first part of the secret is about your strengths and weaknesses. In their book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy lay out nine “Life Accounts”. These accounts are areas of your life that need your attention to maintain:

  • Avocational
  • Financial
  • Intellectual
  • Marital
  • Parental
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Vocational

We all have areas in life that we find easier than others. Some of us find it easy to have a deep spiritual practice or a fulfilling marriage. Others find it easy to maintain a hobby or educational pursuits.

Even when we excel in one of these areas it can be easy to drift away from where we want that area of our life to be. In fact that is usually when we realize that we have to start making some changes in our lives.

I find my vocation as a strength. I enjoy working and find that when I need some course correction I can make that correction by sheer force of will. I simply had to try harder and the results happened.

That doesn’t work in areas that are not natural strengths. When it comes to my health and fitness I had to admit to myself that I’m not naturally good at maintaining that area of my life.

The first part of the secret is: Admit that this area is not a strength for you.

The Secret to Changing Your Life – Part 2

Here is how I rank the 8 areas of my life in order of how easy it is for me to maintain. (Note: We do not have children so I don’t have that area of life in my list.)

  1. Vocational
  2. Financial
  3. Social
  4. Spiritual
  5. Marital
  6. Intellectual
  7. Avocational
  8. Physical

Here is how I would rank them in order of how I divide my effort:

  1. Vocational
  2. Marital
  3. Spiritual
  4. Intellectual
  5. Social
  6. Avocational
  7. Financial
  8. Physical

So, I find it easy to maintain work, but I put the most effort toward that area of my life. Conversely, I find it difficult to maintain my health and fitness and I put the least amount of effort there.

What is wrong with me?

This is the second part of the secret, once you know what your weaknesses are you need to completely change where you put your effort. Here is how I should deploy my effort:

  1. Physical
  2. Financial
  3. Avocational
  4. Social
  5. Intellectual
  6. Spiritual
  7. Marital
  8. Vocational

Please don’t get this confused with working on weaknesses in the traditional sense. I’m not saying that you should try to put more effort into being someone who enjoys data entry at your job.

These areas of life are all critical to each of us in one way or another. You cannot afford to have one of these areas be much weaker than the others.

The Secret to Changing Your Life

Admit that certain areas of your life need more effort than others. Then, orient your life in such a way that you put the effort into the areas with the most need.

That will look different to each of us. In my case, I spent the last several months rearranging my entire life. I did this to make it almost impossible for me not to make significant changes in my health and fitness.

That trip in January was exactly this secret in action: I needed to ride my bike, but we were going on a trip. Instead of just going on the trip without my bike and telling myself I was going to make up the miles later, I added effort: I booked a suite, I loaded my bike and all of my indoor riding gear, and did the workouts in my hotel room.

It took extra effort (and extra money), but it was that important to me.

What work do you need to do in your own life? Where do you need to reallocate effort?

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