The Collins English Dictionary defines a crisis as ‘a situation in which something or someone is affected by one or more very serious problems.’ They even use the phrase ‘he’s having a midlife crisis’ as an example.
Whilst for some of us the idea of a ‘crisis’ might feel a little dramatic, for others it describes perfectly the tsunami of unraveling that can take place as we enter a new stage of life. There may be a loss of meaning or sense of purpose, relationship issues may feel intensely magnified, our overall health and wellbeing may not be where we want it to be and blaming it on getting older seems like the perfect answer.
Whatever your own experience, I think it’s fair to say that most of us arrive in our forties with at least one area of life not entirely the way we wish it was. And whilst it may not be a ‘serious’ problem it may still be enough to leave us feeling unsatisfied or even disappointed in our lives (or ourselves). The crisis part often kicks in when we finally snap and unconsciously try to fix everything in a desperate desire to feel better.
So, how do we avoid a midlife crisis and make shifts that help us thrive instead?
One way is to do a ‘Life Assessment’. When we consciously (and realistically) take stock of our life and examine all the different areas in it, we can see where we are happy and where we can make improvements. For example, you might have great friendships but your job is no longer satisfying, or perhaps you are happy with your financial situation but your home environment is getting you down. It’s natural to find that not everything is aligned or working the way we want, we are changing all the time and what suited us a few years ago might not be working any more. Doing a Life Assessment is a great way to take control and disrupt those feelings that life is getting away from us somehow. Plus, when we take control we feel more motivated and excited to make the changes necessary.
Here’s what you need to do:
Grab a piece of paper and write out the following:
Health – Physical
Health – Emotional
Family Relationships (siblings, parents, kids etc.)
Relationship with yourself (how you feel about yourself)
Wider Living Environment (your town, country etc.)
Once you have these written down give them each a score from 1-10, with 1 being not great at all and 10 being excellent. When you have scored each area, go into more depth by asking the following questions. Be as honest as possible in your answers, this is about you and what you really want.
How do I feel about the score I have given this area?
Why have I given it this score?
What would this area look like if it was a 10?
How would I feel if this area was a 10?
How would my life be different if this area was a 10?
What small steps could I take to improve this score?
When you have finished pick ONE area and commit to focusing on it for the next 10 days, implementing some small steps to make simple improvements. Sometimes we dive in and try to change everything all at once and then wonder why we can’t stick to things. For example, you might want to improve your health so taking simple steps like changing your breakfast to a healthier option, walking for an extra 10 minutes each day and/or having an extra glass or two of water daily can be far easier to implement and stick to than deciding to start working out for an hour each day and restocking your entire pantry with green juice. Small steps lead to big results and create a solid foundation for change.
Doing a Life Assessment regularly is a great way to ensure that the second half of your life is your best half.