Published: July 9, 2020 By

How taking an honest look at your life now can get to the life you want. 

Hand holding a compass

This is the first in a series of three articles written by ASSETT’s Student Technology Consultants to support CU students, especially in uncertain times. Look for our future articles, which will explore different ways of thinking about your future(s) and how to move forward when life doesn’t go as planned. 

Where are you now? It’s a simple question with an equally simple answer. But when the question changes to "Where are you now, in life?" the answer becomes far more complicated. 

Looking at our lives and really assessing where we are right now is tough.  An honest, critical, and non-judgmental look, especially if you’re not where you want to be, can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. So much so that it’s often easier to focus on something else.

But, understanding what parts of your life you are happy with and what parts of your life you want to change is the first step in better understanding where you want to be down the road and how to get there. 

So, where are you now?

How to start

nullWhat all goes into a life on a day-to-day and long-term basis? 

In the spring of 2020, ASSETT led a student book club around the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. These life categories pulled from both Designing Your Life examples are drawn from ASSETT’s experience working with undergraduates in the book club. 

There is work: paid and volunteer, activities that you do because you need to. Love: reciprocal relationships that bring/give joy, strength, and care.  Health: Your definition of what is physical and mental well-being. Finally, there is fun: activities which you do, just because they bring you enjoyment.

Start by thinking about each of these categories in your life. Make a list for each category including activities and people you spend time with. If you need help getting started, refer to the image. If something could go into multiple categories, list them in each, and make a note of it. 

What is your balance?

Now that you have categorized what parts of your life are work, love, health, and fun, think about how fulfilled you feel with each of these. Self-help books, blogs, and the annoyingly peppy influencer you follow on Instagram all talk about these pieces that go into a life differently and have their own philosophies about them. But these opinions boil down to the same thing—balance.

When any one of these spheres are dominating, or not present enough, it can throw off other aspects of life.  This can make you feel overwhelmed, bored, or unhappy. And chances are, if you are in a place right now that you are unhappy with, one of these spheres of life might be out of balance. Taking steps to bring you to a place where you are happy requires that you look at each of these areas separately and together.  Be honest with and try not to judge yourself. This step gives you an idea of exactly where you are now, even if it is not where you want to be in the long run. This is the very first step to getting there. 


There is no one-size-fits-all definition for being overwhelmed or underwhelmed in each of these areas. The best advice for figuring out where you are now is to think about how you feel when you look at those lists in each category.  Has work been feeling overwhelming lately? Has it been taking up a lot of mental energy and time? Do you feel like you have been indulging in your hobbies too much, or not enough? Have you felt like you have enough time for your loved ones lately? How is your mental health? How about your physical health?

So where are you now? Does your life feel balanced? Does one area of your life get less attention, or too much? 

Checking in later

Where do you want to be? That is also a very difficult question, that has more than one answer. And don’t worry, we’re gonna get into it, just not here. This exercise, centering yourself to understand what your life looks like now, is not a one-and-done step. Checking in with yourself every few months as your life changes is an essential step for thinking about the life you have, the life you want, and what will make you happy. Keep an eye out for ASSETT’s next article which encourages you to picture your future—a future in which there are multiple directions you can go. 


Photo by Garrett Sears on Unsplash