Remember getting a sticker for doing a good job on your homework at school? Or the star-chart that hung in the classroom with everyone’s name across a calendar and good deeds accomplished? Points for being kind, points for bringing a healthy lunch to school. Basically easy, quick wins that were acknowledged and rewarded and made you feel good and more importantly encouraged positive behavior.
So what happened to that star-chart? We grew up and the star-chart got replaced with hardcore KPIs, sales targets, grueling reports and deadlines to meet.
I say we bring it back!
We’re fastidious when it comes to measuring and tracking the important milestones for our work life, but we rarely pay any attention to how we’re tracking in the rest of our lives. It’s so easy to get carried away with do do do – marketing plans, sales targets, social media… But when did you last check in with how you are being and feeling on an everyday basis?
Checking in with that stuff is guaranteed to set you up for success in both your work and personal life. It’s proven that when you are flourishing, there is a knock-on effect into all areas of you life.
Lately, I’ve been playing with the star-chart idea, and it’s working a treat. I still have all my adult milestones (marketing plan, sales targets etc) but I also have daily and weekly ‘being’ milestones that make me feel human and help me stay grounded and focused on what matters most – enjoying my life.
I borrowed some inspiration from Malika Chopra’s (author of Living with Intent), ‘Balance Wheel’ to help me think about the areas of my life that deserve constant attention in order to help me feel and be my best everyday.
For instance, Intellectual Stimulation – what did I learn today that was fascinating? (even if it was a tiny factoid from a conversation or newsfeed). What’s that, I had a green smoothie for breakfast – point for nutrition!
Sooner rather than later just like the classroom, your points stack up and it’s addictive. You’ll want to keep going and see how many you can add. REMEMBER- this isn’t another to-do list, but a tracking device to help you visually see where you are flourishing and where you can focus some more of your energy.
Give it a go:
1. Find a space on your wall that you can create your personal balance wheel.
2. Create your life buckets – use Malika’s or create your own! Brainstorm some simple actions you can take in each bucket. In nutrition – could you make your lunch and take it to work? Relationships – is there a friend you could reach out to this week? Creativity and Play – how could you inject some fun into your workplace or work routine this week?
3. Check-in each week and distribute the gold star to the areas you’ve hit. In the beginning, do it daily so you can build momentum from the feel good dopamine hit your brain gets every time you complete a bucket. (You can use a gold star, post-it, smiley face – whatever floats your boat and makes you feel all giddy like a 5 year old getting a prize).
Measuring how balanced you are each week:
1-2 buckets with gold stars: struggling– ask yourself what needs to shift in your life NOW so you can start feeling better? Where are you spending most of your time? How could you start to redistribute some of that to other neglected areas of your life?
3-4 buckets with gold stars: surviving- what else could you do to get that number higher?
5-7 buckets with gold stars: thriving - celebrate and maintain that positive outlook! What can you do to ensure you keep it up next week?
Tip – make it easy to win! This isn’t about being an overachiever and going over the top. It’s about making a few simple shifts in your daily routine to help you feel more well rounded and balanced.
And, just like at school, when you reach a certain amount of points – reward yourself. Celebrate with something that makes you feel great – a massage, a fancy dinner out or simply give yourself another star. And thus the gratuitous cycle continues.