Budget your goals for a balanced life

When we think of the word budget, we think of money.  A budget guides us on how to spend our money for a period of time.  Another frequent use of budget is with time.  We budget time across the important areas of our life to ensure that we are balancing all of our demands.  As part of our ongoing end of year conversation about goals, I want to encourage you to budget your goals for a balanced life.

Photo credit: Snaefell Wheel

If you’re like me, there’s a couple of areas where setting goals is easy.  Now that doesn’t mean that completing them is easy, but coming up with goals in the areas of personal and professional aren’t terribly difficult.

The most common New Year’s resolutions are probably personal with going to the gym or losing weight at the top of the list.

The nature of how we think about work also makes professional goal setting easier.  There is a project we want to work on or a skill we want to develop.  Coming up with tasks and goals are doable.  But what about the other areas of your life?  Have you budgeted your goals or are they concentrated on a couple of areas?

If you’re like most people, your time and goals will focus on specific areas your want to improve or parts of your life where you are already successful.

I love what the late-motivational speaker Zig Ziglar called the “Wheel of Life.”

He argued that we should make efforts to improve seven aspects of our lives:  personal, financial, family, spiritual, career, physical, and mental.

What I love most is how he describes deficiencies in one or two areas.  It doesn’t matter if you are great in a few of these if you have major problems in others.

Think about how a tire would roll if there were a few flat spots.  It wouldn’t.  At least not very well.

Our lives, Ziglar argues, are the exactly same way.  If we don’t tend to all seven areas of our wheel, we are going to struggle.

If we need to keep our lives balanced and address each of these areas, I want to argue that you should also budget your goals for a balanced life.  You need to make sure that you have at least one goal in each of these seven aspects of your life to make sure you are making progress on all of them.

These need not be elaborate.  For example, you might have the goal of reading one nonfiction book a month to keep up your mental or intellectual side.  You might commit to not using a credit card this year to improve your finances.

I find myself with many goals for professional and personal, but then have to stretch myself to make sure I have ones for the other areas.  So what I do now is that I do one goal in financial, family, spiritual, physical, and mental.  I then will work on professional and personal.  By doing it this way, I find that I make better goals and have more energy to focus on those areas.  I also find myself including ideas that might (in part) be professional and personal.  This helps me spread myself out and create a more balanced life.

If there is a goal that works across multiple areas, even better!

As you start thinking about your goals for next year, keep the Wheel of Life in mind.  If you budget your goals for a balanced life, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed this time next year.