Today is a period of reflection for me because it's my 29th birthday! Birthdays are feared by some and revered by others, but whatever opinion you have, it's a great day for evaluating your life. If it's true that we hardly ever stop to smell the roses, then it must be doubly true that we rarely check out our own garden. If you took that time at least once a year for evaluating your life, you might be more able to determine if the direction you are headed in is what you really want.
For instance, you may consider yourself a writer, despite not having written anything for the past year. A birthday or a holiday like New Year's Day is a fantastic time to lay out some goals for yourself in those areas. These goals should be positive and clearly defined, unlike a resolution, which tends to be negative and vague. Other aspects you should keep in mind when evaluating your life include your health, your finances, your relationships and your general happiness. Here are a few questions to ask yourself in each of those areas.
Are you eating the proper amount of calories?
Could you gain more energy by making different food choices?
Is there a way to incorporate more exercise into your typical day?
Are you paying yourself first by putting some money from your paycheck into savings?
Are you putting down more than the minimum payments on your credit cards?
Can you devise of a passive form of income that could add to your net worth without taking away much time?
Do you plan small proofs of love to show your loved ones that you care?
Can you take up more empathic listening and pause more often before you react emotionally to your family and friends?
Can you set aside some time for you and your partner to talk about what you're grateful for?
Are you able to add some charity or other selfless giving to your routine?
Can you think of some ways to act more optimistically during times you would usually complain?
Could you think of three good things about yourself to say out loud each morning?
Evaluating your life is difficult because it always seems like there are a lot of things that need to change at once. Don't worry about fixing every issue right away. A life that you can be proud of takes time. Like deciding which piece to take from a birthday cake, just pick a side and dive in. Whatever slice you choose, you'll be happier if you eat it than if you hold off until next year. Make it happen one bite at a time.
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.