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When I first began to dig in to resources focused on happiness, or what I later began to call well-being, I realized many of them talked about the idea that well-being is not just one big thing.  Instead, it can (and should) be broken out into multiple aspects.  In order to understand what was causing my unhappiness, I needed to look at each aspect separately.  Some may be perfectly in tact, and others may need work.

I found several different versions of these aspects, or pillars, but ultimately decided that the following five worked best for me:

  • Mental – 2
  • Physical – 2
  • Career – 4
  • Social – 3
  • Financial – 5

Some resources talked about prioritizing the pillars, but I ended up deciding against this.  I feel like they all equally support my well-being, so if one’s out of whack, it needs work.

After defining my five pillars, I sat down and rated my level of satisfaction with each on a simple scale of 1 to 5 (5 = fantastic, 1 = miserable, 3 = average).  In order to keep this front and center, I stuck a note card on my bathroom wall with the ratings (originals listed above).

This was huge first step for me.  Although my husband thought I was going crazy, I got a clear reminder each day of where I should focus to improve my happiness: I needed to start focusing on my mental and physical well-being.