Use this time in isolation to reassess your life goals and conduct a life audit. Here’s exactly how to do it.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic made you rethink and reflect on what is important in life?
Or, perhaps it has made you reconsider your goals and what you want to achieve?
If you answered yes to either one of these (or even both), firstly, you’re definitely not the only one and secondly, it might be time to start preparing for a life audit.
The life audit process was pioneered by LinkedIn Product Operations Manager, Ximena Vengoechea, after she became so overwhelmed by her ambitions, work and commitments that she set aside time to reclaim her life.
Writing about her personal project online sparked a world-wide life audit movement that has been utilised and adapted by many, in order to tailor the process for different people. But what exactly is a life audit?
Life Audit ‘Goddess’, Vengoechea describes a life audit as: “An exercise in self-reflection that helps you clear the cobwebs of noisy, external goals and current distractions, and revisit or uncover the real themes & core values that drive & inspire you. Also known as: spring-cleaning for the soul.”
By reflecting and reviewing your life – its values, priorities, goals – you honestly and critically determine where you are, where you want to go and when you desire/need to get there.
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When should I undertake a life audit?
There is no definitive right or wrong time to perform a life audit, although, Dr Locke does advise that it is best to avoid the process “when the world is chaotic.”
But with the relaxing of restrictions and the hopeful return to normal life just around the corner, knowing how to perform your own life audit, when the time is right, is something you can undertake now, especially if your priorities and thinking has shifted throughout this period.
Dr Locke also explains that “priorities change over time. So, what is important now may not be important in a year or even a month from now.”
This means that the process of life auditing can be something done regularly, as a ‘check in’ of sorts and not necessarily a one-off event.
What are the benefits?
“Life audits can be of benefit for those who would like to feel more control over their lives but also to work out what you are wanting and needing in life,” Dr Locke tells body +soul.
This can be especially significant after the effects of a major event, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Life audits revolve around making (often big) changes to your life. Using what you have learnt throughout the COVID-19 experience can be a really powerful tool in deciding what is important in your life,” she says.
“At the end of this, working out what from your current lifestyle that gave you satisfaction and that you want to take to the next period could be something really beneficial. For example, something as simple as prioritising a time of quietness in your day might be something helpful you could incorporate into a future routine.”
How do you perform a life audit?
Now, to the nitty gritty – the how.
Dr Locke says to always “look at what is under your control.”
Not everything can be controlled by an individual, so ensuring that you keep this in mind throughout the process is important.
Utilising a psychologist to assist you can also be valuable, especially for those who may have some past trauma that may be impacting on some of the goals they are wanting to achieve.
“Often issues can arise when doing a life audit and it is important to have someone who can help you and support you through these. A psychologist can help take you through your priorities and values and live life accordingly, while dealing with the issues at hand,” she explains.
Although there are different variations, Ximena Vengoechea’s life audit process, follows these three main steps:
1. Write down every goal, great hope, and life necessity on a different post-it note – (i.e., get a new job, buy a house, travel to every continent, write a book). You can have as many post-it notes as you like.
2. Organise the post-its by category (i.e., health, family, career, spirituality, friends etc.) as themes start to emerge. Categories, will vary from person to person, just as the goals, hopes and necessities will.
3. Organise each post-it by time (i.e. how long it will take to accomplish/check-off each post-it) by grouping them into:
a) Now/soon – goals that are immediately actionable (to start writing a book)
b) Someday- long term goals (e.g. to travel to every continent)
c) Always/everyday deliberate actions to live by every day (for example – including quietness in your day).
By completing these steps, the idea is to then review, reflect and play around with them based on what you want to prioritise; allowing you to see what changes need to be made, which steps need to be taken and when to take them to achieve your specific goals.
Happy life auditing!