Sometimes the biggest hurdle in making a decision is too much choice. If we are asked to set a goal to improve our life we are presented with an unlimited number of choices in our mind. It can be difficult to know where to start. What can help is for someone to present a smaller set of appealing options to provide a bit more direction for our decision making. For this reason, Skodel introduced the idea of areas into its wellbeing planning tool. To kickstart the planning process for each individual.
Skodel worked with Andrew Fuller to decide upon these areas. Andrew drew upon his evidence base of over 200,000 student surveys and 30 years experience as a clinical psych to define the nine areas. The areas that have been selected are key areas to leading a healthy and fulfilling life. The simplicity of the list encourages action but there is no restriction on our thinking. Here they are:
- Looking after yourself - because we can spend too much time worrying about others and forget to take care of ourselves
- Connection (friends, family, relationship) - because feeling connected means we feel valued and that we belong to someone or something
- Calmness - because being calm leads to better decision making and living a fuller and healthier life
- Focus - because we feel better about ourselves when we are focused and productive
- Looking after your body - because healthy bodies produce healthy minds and protect us from viruses, injuries, illnesses and breakdowns
- Energy levels and enough rest - because we operate at our best when we are rested and full of energy and we are abrupt and short when we are irritable and tired
- Enthusiasm - because we deserve to be enthusiastic and excited about the gifts life can offer
- Helping others - because it is rewarding and meaningful to know that our actions have made somebody else’s life better
- Learning and work - because learning and work help us grow and empower us to make a positive impact across communities
The introduction of areas doesn’t just benefit the individual creating their plan, it benefits the organisation. Encouraging students to nominate areas for the goals means schools will be able to identify which areas of wellbeing students want to work on. Schools can then target their resources to these areas. If it becomes clear that the majority of students want to improve in the area of calmness, programs can be built to support this.
The aim with a wellbeing plan is not the achievement of goals. The aim is to motivate an individual to make a positive change in their life. The introduction of Skodel’s areas increases the likelihood that each individual will take that first step.