This is the time we usually set new goals in hopes of achieving greater success in the coming year. But do New Year Resolutions really work?
The idea of a successful life, one that’s not just about making money, can be represented by a “life balance wheel.” If you search for a wellness wheel on the internet, you’ll find many colorful and inspiring images, but the one we will be using today is from Extreme Success, a book written by life coach, and my life partner and co-CEO, Rich Fettke (1).
This wheel can provide a way to “check in” with yourself, to see if you are ignoring certain parts of your life. It has 10 pie-shaped sections that correspond to the 10 aspects of your “being” that need attention to become a balanced individual. It can also help you focus on “why” you are working so hard toward your objectives, help you set those goals, and keep you on track to achieve them.
To use the wheel, you have to shift your focus from one aspect of your life to another so you are not neglecting any part of your wheel. Rich Fettke believes, by balancing your wheel, you will achieve success “without struggle.” And that’s the theme of his book! How to be successful without struggling, so you can enjoy life!
Life Balance Wheel
What does the basic life balance wheel look like? Going clockwise, those pie-shaped pieces include: Career, Finances, Physical Environment & Possessions, Health & Fitness, Fun/Recreation & Self-Care, Personal Development & Education, Friends & Community, Family, Significant Other & Romance, and Spiritual.
As we launch ourselves into a new year, it’s a good time to take a look at all those categories to see where we are spending too much time, and where we are spending too little time. And there are a lot of categories to look at.
Rich says in his book, “life balance requires constant motion in order to give all the factors that make life worth living equal weight.” This means you should re-adjust your priorities when you realize you’ve been spending too much time shopping, and not enough time checking in with your friends or your wallet. He says, go for extreme success in “all” of these categories. Not just one. And, when that happens, you will find that you enjoy life more, and struggle less because you life is in balance. By analyzing your life balance wheel, you might want to set some resolutions to improve any weak areas.
Friends & Community
Taking a look at the life balance wheel categories, in no particular order, we’ll start with “friends and community.” That involves the ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with other people. If you haven’t been spending enough time developing your social skills, you might open a few new social doors this year. But, keep in mind the “quality” of relationships you are building. Surround yourself with the kind of people who will help you reach all of your goals. Avoid negativity and seek people who feel optimistic about their futures. And, most importantly, take the time to invest in the people you love. In the end, this will probably be what matters most.
Emotional Health, Romance & Family
It’s important for our emotional health to share our feelings in a productive manner. Those feelings range from the ones that are easier to deal with like hope, love, joy, and happiness to more difficult feelings of anger, fear, sadness, and stress. Being more introspective will help us understand those feelings, and contribute to our emotional health. Turning off the cellphone might help. This focus will also help improve our relationships with family members and romantic partners. And, for those who are single, it might help open the door of opportunity. Our daughters won’t let us have our cellphones at the table which has been really good for our family.
Spiritual balance is the ability to find “peace and harmony” in our lives by connecting our values to our actions. Miguel Ruiz wrote a best selling book called The Four Agreements. Two of those agreements focus on the importance of saying what you mean and doing your best. The other two advise you to avoid assumptions and realize you should not take it personally when confronted by someone else’s emotional drama. Contributing to your spiritual health may be as simple as expressing yourself truthfully and kindly to someone you don’t agree with, practicing your faith, and/or abiding by these four agreements.
Physical Environment & Possessions
Now on to physical environment and possessions. Improving this part of your life could range from the macro to the micro. As stewards of the earth, we should take responsibility for the quality of our air, water, and land along with our homes and community. And, as stewards of our own lives, we should take care of our homes. There are many ways we can make a positive impact on those aspects of our lives. Maybe it’s time to install solar panels on the roof, trade in the gas guzzler, or get rid of all the junk we never use in our closets. Getting rid of the clutter in our physical lives can help us feel more mentally, emotionally, and spiritually organized and unencumbered.
Career & Finances
Career is where many of us spend most of our time. It’s the workaholic syndrome that is supposed to bring us success. But, as Rich says, there’s a way to be successful without struggling and without ignoring all the other aspects of our lives. For many of us real estate investors, earning passive income is a way to work less on your career and more on your life.
Personal Development & Education
Self-improvement needs food and that’s how you obtain intellectual wellness — by feeding your brain. Education doesn’t stop with a degree. It’s a lifelong process that takes twists and turns along the way. So, learn something new every day. And, if you want to be a real estate investor, devour books, and take advantage of lectures, podcasts, and networking opportunities. You obviously already do that because you are listening to me. I also recommend playing Robert Kiyosaki’s “Cashflow” board game (2).
Health & Fitness
And finally, this is the one everyone talks about in the New Year — health and fitness. What would New Year’s be like without a resolution for more exercise and healthy eating? You need physical fitness to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to enjoy all your hard-earned accomplishments! Getting rid of destructive habits, like smoking and excessive drinking, are definitely important for a healthy lifestyle but improving your good habits is also important. That could mean drinking more water, eating less sugar, and getting more sleep. Every year, Rich and I do the Whole Life Challenge and it’s coming up on January 20th — so check that out (3).
It encourages improvement in 7 areas including nutrition, exercise, mobilization, sleep, hydration, well-being, and self-reflection. It’s a great way to reset any bad habits you might have picked up over the holidays.
Fun & Recreation
Fun and recreation is a quadrant that a lot of adults have a hard time investing in. But, what kind of a balanced life would we be if we didn’t have a little fun. People who work hard, must play hard. Rich and I take this to heart. I am definitely the workaholic in our relationship, so he’s always the one that makes us stop and go out and have a good time, like we will next week. Apparently, we are going out heli-skiing.
This one is not on Rich’s life balance wheel, but I’m going to add it anyway. It’s gratitude. By showing gratitude, we are “giving back” and acknowledging all the good things that have come into our lives. Gratitude helps improve our lives and the lives of others, because you can’t be grateful and negative at the same time. You need to get rid of one to feel the other. In our Thanksgiving podcast about gratitude, Rich and I talked about having a “built-in negativity bias.” He said it’s “in our DNA to always look for what’s going to kill us or eat us or destroy us. So it’s built-in to our programming to automatically look for problems. It’s easy to get stuck in that trap.” (4)
The remedy for that is to have a way to confront negativity on a daily basis, and you can do that with a positive focus and gratitude. At RealWealth, we begin every business meeting with a 30-second positive focus to get into the more optimistic part of our brains.
Assessing Obstacles to Your Success
Sometimes it’s difficult to move past fears or obstacles in our lives that lurk in the shadows of our consciousness. If that happens, you will need to look at why you might have the fear, and how it’s keeping you from moving ahead. If you focus on your goals, your determination to accomplish those goals may help you overcome those fears. As Rich says in his book, “If you concentrate on your weaknesses, you are going to struggle. If you concentrate on your strengths, you are going to succeed.” And, that would be the same for as a parent or a spouse, focus on each other’s strengths and not each other’s weaknesses and watch your relationships thrive.
If you want to learn more about Rich’s book Extreme Success, you can get that on Amazon. He’ll also be kicking off our live event this January with his very popular “Focused Investor” seminar. Every year, he helps our RealWealth members get clarity on their long term goals, and come up with a simple 4-step action plan. He will be offering this session in Redwood City on January 20th, Los Angeles on January 21st, and San Diego on January 22th. You can find out more about the event here.