Self-Improvement Month – 3 Tools to Improve Your Life
- POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 04, 2023
September is celebrated as Self-Improvement Month: a transitionary time of the year to think about what you can change for the better. Self-improvement is very personal; it could be about learning a new skill, breaking an old pattern, or changing one aspect of your life that you’re not satisfied with. September also marks a changing of the seasons that often puts people in a more introspective state — the perfect time to look both behind and ahead and ground your next steps in what’s really important to you.
Ultimately, when it comes to self-improvement, what you change is less important than the vision you’re moving toward. Who are you striving to become? What will make your life richer and more fulfilled? What’s the purpose at your core?
What you choose to focus on for your self-improvement doesn’t have to be big or explosive — no effort is too small — but if it’s aligned to a greater goal or vision, it will be a step in your chosen direction, and all the more impactful.
Here are three Co-Active tools you can use in Self-Improvement September and beyond to shape the life and the you that you want.
The Wheel of Life
The Wheel of Life is a popular tool used in Co-Active coaching. It’s a simple but powerful tool to assess how satisfied you are with different aspects of your life. There are 8 components that make up the wheel: career, family and friends, money, physical environment, personal growth, health, significant other or romance, and fun and recreation. You rate your satisfaction from 1 to 10 in each area to help you to identify and focus on an area you want to improve. Our coaches always say that you don’t need everything to be a top score ! Your goal might be to move your career from a 4 to an 8, and that will be something you’re happy with.
You can download a copy of the wheel of life to print out and fill in at home. It’s a great way to visualize your life in its current state and envision its future state. Once you have that vision, you can take practical steps to make it a reality. This journey is significantly aided by a coach who can help you explore and reach your goal.
Finding an aspect of yourself or your life that you want to improve is only the first step. Taking action to change it is where it becomes hard. Goals, actions, and outcomes can be motivational, but this is the point where people are most likely to lose energy. What gives you the power and motivation to act — and sustain action — is the vision.
Creating a compelling vision — envisioning or articulating what you’re striving toward in a way that resonates with you — is the gravitational pull that keeps your momentum high. As you think about what you want to improve in your life, make sure you spend time on your “why.” Write it down, talk about it, draw it … just connect with that vision and return to it when you find your energy flagging.
Sometimes we don’t know where we want to improve, or where improvement is going to contribute to our overall fulfillment. That’s why in Co-Active coaching we have a process for clarifying what your values are — what we call “mining for values.” Our values are a set of qualities that we consider important. They aren’t the same thing as morals or principles: values can be anything — family, punctuality, independence, sustainability, honesty, hygiene.
It’s important for us to know what our values are, because when we’re not living in alignment with our values, it shows. Dissatisfaction, lethargy, and stress can arise when we’re not living our values — or when we’re living in opposition to them. Taking the time to understand what yours are and how well you’re honoring them could help you identify areas for self-improvement.
Co-Active coaches mine for values by asking coachees to talk about their life experience: situations they handled or decisions they made. Values show up loud and clear as people talk and make choices. You can do the same activity by thinking about how your values show up in your life or by asking yourself how you’d approach a situation. For example, how would you answer these questions: “You’ve been asked to relocate to another country. What does this surface for you?” and “You have a weekend coming up free from all responsibilities. How do you use your time?”
Similarly to the Wheel of Life exercise, once you have your values, you can rate how well you’re honoring them on a scale of 1-10. You might learn that your value of “adventure” is not being honored and step forward with the intention to bring more of this value into your life.
We’ve shared these Co-Active tools to help you find the best ways for you to take authentic action to improve during this Self-Improvement September. Whatever you choose to do, do what brings you closer to your values, your vision for the future, and the life that you want to live.