How to Apply Success From One Area of Your Life to Another (That Needs It)

In New York, people say you’re always searching for one of three things: a new love interest, a better job, or a better apartment. But that idea doesn’t only apply to Manhattanites — or to just those three areas.

As a life coach, I help people set goals in seven key areas of their lives: work and career, family, spiritual, financial, intellect, physical health, and personal/social (based on Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life in his book, Born To Win).

Some of us truly excel in several of these departments. We might be delighted with the balance in our bank account. We might be in pretty damn good shape. We might go home to the man or woman of our dreams after work every day, or maybe we feel permanently grateful for our funny and supportive friends. How awesome!

But what about the other areas? The areas that tug at our hearts in unexpected moments while grocery shopping, falling asleep or falling asleep at night? These feelings can pop up and gradually increase over time if we don’t address them. Your pangs might include, “I wish I had a better relationship with my brother,” “Am I ever going to pay off my student debt?” or “I just know in my heart that I’m in the wrong career.”

Life is dynamic, and it’s impossible to be winning in every facet of your life, all the time. But there’s also no “trade-off” that you sign up for at birth. No one decides, “This guy’s gonna have great health and a decent income — what more can he expect?”

The truth is you can enjoy more in your life than you allow yourself to believe. You can expect more. And expectation leads to creation. All it takes is following these steps to leverage your prosperity and success more effectively.

5 Steps to Thrive

1. Pause and reflect.

Consider these seven life “departments.”

  1. Work and career
  2. Family
  3. Spiritual
  4. Financial
  5. Mind/intellect (personal and educational development)
  6. Physical health
  7. Personal/social

Most people have never done this before. Write them out on paper (not on a laptop or iPad) and ask yourself: “Where am I currently in this area?” Rate each from one to 10, one being dismal and 10 being thriving and successful.

2. Observe what’s going right.

Look at the most productive areas — say, anything with a rating of eight or more. Ask yourself, “What am I doing differently in these areas?” List five things for each positive area. For example, if you feel great about the family and spiritual aspects of your life, your reasons might look like this:

“I call my parents twice a week.”
 “I’m a mentor to my younger sister.”
 “I focus on what I’m grateful for to get me through negative situations.”
 “I listen to uplifting podcasts on my commute.”

3. Highlight your habits.

This exercise unearths what we do well most of the time. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit.”

Spend a week observing your habits in the strongest area or two. Write notes in your phone every time you make an observation. Don’t gloss over them just because they might come easily to you. Break it down as much as you can. Why is it exactly that you have such close friendships or a killer career? Try to list 20 to 25 things that you notice over the course of the next seven days. For example, here are a few observations I made that contribute to my happy marriage:

  • No TV or distractions at dinner time — it’s our time to connect and talk.
  • I apologize quickly after I snap or act impatiently.
  • I treat him to small surprise gifts.
  • I tell him frequently that I appreciate him (and specifically why).
  • I complain less about his lateness (this one is very hard for me as I am uber-punctual, but I try!).

My relationship is the one thing that I am most grateful for: My husband is my family. That is why I make our marriage a priority. Which leads us to…

4. Find your “why” and notice how this affects your choices.

When you are clear on what’s going right in your life, uncover your motivation. All success is created by a belief or a vision, whether or not you are consciously aware of it. Without a vision for your life, you fall into destructive short-term thinking by default, seeking stimulation and short-term gratification (“Sure, I’ll have that doughnut!” or “Actually I really do need a $200 white t-shirt!”).

People who always maintain a healthy weight or bank account balance, for instance, allow their why to keep them on track with day-to-day decision making. I have a friend who orders a salad for lunch every single day — rain, shine, or hangover. Her why is so ingrained that her decision is automatic. Get clear on your why for the areas that you are proud of.

Maybe yours is: “My health is the foundation for my full and vibrant life” or “Being financially secure makes me feel safe and gives me a feeling of freedom.” These robust whys not only keep you on track but also make better habits effortless. Over time, your thoughts and decisions become so aligned with your why that they become easier and easier.

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Susie Moore is a confidence coach based in New York City. Sign up for her free weekly wellness tips at her website.

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