Life audit: Why, when, and how to do it to reset your life

by Anousheh

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the little things in life that we forget the bigger picture. Our values, our goals, what’s actually making us happy. Which is exactly where the life audit comes in. It’s a great tool to reset your life, evaluate and self-assess what actually matters and what doesn’t.

Because this is such a powerful tool, I’m going to walk you through all the steps you are going to need to do a life audit that will set you up for happiness and success.

How to do a life audit

What is a life audit?

Let’s start with the basics. What even is a life audit?

A life audit is a self-reflection tool that will help you separate the things that matter to you (values, goals) from the things that don’t.

It’s a way for you to take a step back and evaluate the different aspects of your life. The main goal is to find out what actually makes a positive difference in your life and what doesn’t.

Why is self-auditing important?

Ever heard of the Pareto principle? The 80/20 rule essentially states that you get 80% of the outcome done with only 20% of input. This is also called “the law of the vital few“. What does this mean for our life audit? It is exactly these “vital few” that we want to determine.

While evaluating your life, you will soon realize that it’s only a few things in your life that make the biggest difference in your happiness, productivity, and success. So the goal of your life audit is to find them, concentrate on them, and get rid of all the other little things that distract you from what’s really important in your day to day life.

Pyramid of the Pareto Principle

How to conduct a life audit

Okay, so now we know why it’s important to perform a life audit regularly. But how do you do this? Let’s go through the 5 steps you should take to audit your life!

1. Set the life areas you want to audit

As a starting point, you should decide on all the areas in your life you want to evaluate and audit. This list should include all the aspects that make out your life. The goal here is to identify the most important areas you would like to self-reflect on and have the most impact on your life.

You can find a list of examples of life areas to audit below.

2. Rate your current situation

The next step in your life audit is to go through all of the life areas you choose. We want to tackle them one by one. The main goal here is to evaluate where you currently see yourself when it comes to each area of your life. The easiest way to do this is to ask yourself a lot of questions.

How happy are you in this aspect of your life? Where would you like to be ideally? I will give you a list of a lot more questions you could ask yourself later.

A good way to evaluate where you stand right now could be on a scale from 1-10. You could also choose percentages, like “75% happy with this area”. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, as long as it makes sense for you and allows you to compare your actual and desired state.

3. Determine where you would like to be

Now that you know where you see yourself right now, think about where you would like to be in 3 months, 6 months, or whatever time frame you set for yourself. You want to evaluate your desired state.

The most important thing when it comes to this part is to be realistic. Obviously, we would all like to be a 10/10 in every single aspect of our life. But that’s not realistic. To be honest, it’s not even desirable. We all have areas in our life that mean a lot to us and make up most of our happiness.

Concentrating on every aspect of life would inevitably mean that we wouldn’t focus on the things that actually make a difference.

The whole point of a life audit is to find out what has the biggest impact on your life and concentrate your time and efforts on these areas. So I advise you to really dig deep here. Once again, asking yourself a ton of questions helps to nail this down.

4. Write everything down

This step is fairly simple, but it is really important for you to visualize all the steps you are taking. The reason for this is not only so that you have everything on paper, but also because visualization can help a lot during this process.

I know a lot of people who work with post-its when they do this. It’s a great way to brainstorm on all your different life areas and have all the space to add and take away easily. It also makes this process a little more actionable. A single piece of paper can sometimes limit you in your self-reflection.

If you have a whiteboard or something similar, you could also opt for a big mind-map. If you want to keep it simple, you can still always stick to your notebook and brainstorm on a different piece of paper for every aspect you are reflecting on.

And then, of course, you could also go digital by making a spreadsheet for every life area, or a separate list in your notes app.

Person writing in notebook

5. Ask yourself all the questions

I have mentioned this before, but it is a whole step in itself. A life audit is mostly self-reflection. Questions are a great way to trigger your memories and feelings and find actual examples and real-life experiences to base your evaluation on.

Auditing yourself can be really hard and requires a huge amount of self-knowledge. Asking yourself questions can act as more of a conversation with yourself and help you deeply assess yourself and your life.

Life areas to audit

Obviously, the life areas you want to audit depend on you and your life. However, here are a few ideas of areas you could evaluate in your life audit.

  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Activities
  • Career
  • Community
  • Adventures
  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Hobbies and projects
  • Habits
  • Having fun
  • Finance
  • Skills
  • Education
  • Home

Now, please don’t evaluate every single aspect on this list. This is only supposed to give you ideas and inspiration. Choosing too many life areas to audit is only going to overwhelm you and won’t bring you the results you’re looking for.

I wouldn’t evaluate more than 10 life areas at once. If you’re doing this for the first time, maybe even only pick 5. Choose the ones that make up most aspects of your life and stick with them.

Flatlay of a notebook, pens and paperclips

Life audit questions

In order to really dig deep, you should ask yourself as many questions as possible. Remember, this is mostly supposed to be a self-reflection.

To kick-start your creativity and give you an idea on how to make the most of your reflection, I collected a few questions you can ask yourself during your life audit for every single aspect of your life.

  • When I think about this life area, what makes me the happiest?
  • How do I imagine this area ideally in 1, 2, or 5 years?
  • What do I want other people to say about me concerning this area?
  • What actually doesn’t make a difference to me at all?
  • Where do I spend most of my time? Is this time well spent?
  • What feels the most meaningful to me?
  • What has the biggest impact on my life when it comes to this area?
  • How often do I speak about this area of my life with others?
  • What do I want more of in my life?
  • What do I want less of in my life?
  • Do I like what I spend my free time with?
  • Where do I feel like I’m wasting most of my time?
  • When do I feel the most energized?
  • What gives me the most motivation?

What to do after your life audit

Ok, so ideally you should step away with a clear vision of where you are right now in your life and where you want to be. You identified what really makes you happy, what you want more of in your life, and also what you want less.

What do you do with this information? First of all, self-reflecting through a life audit gives you a clear vision of your values and acts as a reset for your life. So a regular life audit already brings great benefits.

However, to effectively change your life and move in the right direction with everything you have learned in your life audit, the next step would be to set goals that will get you where you want to be in your life.

Since goals should always base on your values and core beliefs, the life audit is a great base for the next step: goal-setting. Move on to this post to find out how to set realistic goals and achieve them.

Have you ever done a life audit before? Share your strategies in the comments below!

Want to revisit this post for your next life audit? Pin it to your Planning Board for later!

How to do a life audit

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