life audit process, how to plan your best year ever, setting goals for 2020, new year's resolutions

How To Do A Life Audit | Ultimate Guide 2024

A simple life audit process to help you identify what is and isn’t working in your life and business. This is the ultimate guide on how to do a life audit and a powerful catalyst for goal setting. If you’re an ambitious entrepreneur ready to create fulfilling success (not just financial success), this article is for you.

Before I started doing regular life audits, I spent a long time setting goals that I was “supposed to” set…

  • graduate university with top marks (and sacrifice all happiness and sense of balance in the process)
  • get a good paying job (regardless of whether you like the work, the people, or the company)
  • secure the promotion (even if it means more hours away from your little ones)
  • buy the house in the suburbs (even if you prefer full time travel)
  • get your kids in all the sports (even if it means sacrificing every hour of spare time you have together)

When I went through what I like to call my ‘quarter life crisis’ — the point where I quit my stable corporate job with 2 kids under the age of 5 to pursue my dream of being an entrepreneur because I could no longer handle my life being out of alignment with my values — a life audit is exactly what helped me navigate that period of uncertainty, overwhelm, and confusion by getting really clear on what wasn’t working and what I actually wanted my life to look like. From there, I was able to build a purpose driven business that actually supported the life I wanted to live, instead of trying to fit my life in around a job that didn’t make me happy.

Now I’m living the biggest, boldest, version of my life. Something I didn’t think was truly possible for me.

  • I’m running a quarter million dollar business that I built from the ground up
  • I’m doing only work that lights me up
  • I get to pick my kiddos up from school every afternoon and we have hours of quality time together each day
  • I travel for 5 months at a time because my business can support it both in terms of time and money
  • I work less than 25 hours a week and I have real hobbies now: I read a book a week, I mountain bike and play volleyball twice a week, I hike 90 minutes every day…

And it’s all because I took the time to sit down and figure out what was and wasn’t working for me in my life, what I actually wanted (not what I was conditioned to believe I wanted), and built a MF plan around how to make it happen.

I also help my entrepreneur coaching clients do this in our work together. In our very first session we define their version of “success” and review their deepest values so that we can set purposeful goals that move them toward their vision of a 10/10 life, and build a business that supports that vision. If you’re a business owner feeling stuck in a hamster wheel of your own making, book a discovery call to explore how I can help you create not just financial success, but Fulfilling Success™ through 1:1 coaching.

Learning how to do a life audit catapulted my personal growth journey and continues to serve me in entrepreneurship

Now I do a life audit every year to reflect on what’s working well and what could be even better, and I continue to set goals that move me toward more happiness, fulfillment, and success continuously. 

And now I’m sharing my step by step life audit process with you so that you can take your power back in life and figure out exactly what changes you need to create so that you can live a life in alignment with your values.

The life audit is an in depth process that will guide you to reflect on where you’re at, where you want to go, and where you need to focus right now to create those changes.

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned CEO, or an ambitious human, this step by step life audit process is exactly what you need to powerfully transform your life in the new year.

How to do a life audit

What is a life audit?

If you’ve never heard of a life audit before and are wondering “what is a life audit?” let me clear that up for you real quick:

A life audit is a structured lifestyle design process

It’s a way to intentionally create a life you actually love to live, which is shockingly uncommon in our society. Most people settle for circumstances they found themselves in, be it a degree they picked as a teenager or an industry they stumbled into accidentally, most people are settling instead of intentionally creating true fulfillment. A life audit is a great tool to help you identify what actually matters to you so that you can focus your time and energy on creating a life you truly want to live.

A life audit can come in handy whether you’re going through a massive transformation — like a career change, a relationship change, a location change, or an identity crisis — but it’s also an invaluable tool to use on a regular basis, when nothing is necessarily wrong, but you want to make everything even better.

Related post: How To Find Your Purpose & Direction In Life

Why a life audit is so important

A life audit is an important tool because it brings intentionality to your life.

When you don’t take the time to honestly reflect on what is and isn’t working for you in your life right now, the goals you set reflect other people’s (your parents’, your friends’, your boss’, society’s) and not your own.

When you achieve those goals, you don’t feel any happier or more fulfilled because they were never your goals to begin with.

A life audit is powerful because it allows you to get clear on what you actually want and puts you in the driver’s seat of your life.

In 2022 I took my kids on a 5 month road trip across Canada to see all of the national and provincial parks we could get to! This isn’t a goal that happened just because our society says you should travel more (they don’t) or I happened to have tens of thousands of dollars laying around without a purpose (I didn’t) or I had a job that just let me take 5 months vacation without questions.

In fact it’s quite the opposite: had I followed society’s expectations I would have spent that $50,000 on a new car instead of taking 3 years to convert a school bus into a luxury tiny house on wheels and take the trip of a lifetime.

But because I had done a life audit I was able to see that I actually valued something different from most other people. And then I could take action in alignment with my personal values and experience more happiness and fulfillment.

That trip was one of the best decisions I’d ever made, and it happened because of a life audit I had done in 2018 when I was absolutely miserable at my corporate job and craved a more fulfilling life.

A life audit forces you to be intentional with how you’re spending your time, money, and energy so that they can contribute to your personal fulfillment and success.

Why entrepreneurs specifically benefit from a doing a life audit

Doing a life audit is especially important for entrepreneurs who spend so much time thinking about how to move their business forward but so little time intentionally planning their life.

A lot of the ambitious entrepreneurs I’ve met over the course of my business coaching & consulting career tend to put life on the back burner to focus on getting their business to a certain level…

but I firmly believe your business thrives when YOU thrive! So if you aren’t intentionally living a LIFE you love, not only are you sabotaging the success of your business, but you’re kind of getting the whole thing backwards!

Your business exists to support a life that you love — not at some arbitrary point in the future, but always.

goal setting for entrepreneurs ultimate guide on how to set goals in life and business

If you’re an entrepreneur, I’m willing to bet you dedicate a lot of time and energy focusing on how to improve your business. I urge you to take that same approach to thinking about your own life because it will change the game for you, I promise.

After all, you didn’t become an entrepreneur just to recreate the corporate grind, not have time for your family, and feel stuck in a hamster wheel of your own making. So, if your business isn’t currently supporting the life you dream of living, it’s time to make some changes — starting with doing a life audit for entrepreneurs.

How to do a life audit

Here’s exactly what will make the life audit process successful:

  • 1-2 Hours of uninterrupted time to give yourself room to process your thoughts and feelings
  • A decision to be brutally honest with yourself as you work through this process so you can clearly identify what isn’t working and what you actually want
  • An intention to release societal expectations in favor of your own personal values
  • A way to document your thoughts — you cannot do a life audit in your head!
Life Audit workbook

For a complete step-by-step guide, purchase the ultimate Life Audit Workbook for just $7! (it’s an editable pdf that you can also print out if you want!) instantly to support you as you work through this process. (After all, just reading the article isn’t going to make a difference in your life!)

entrepreneur coach Ana McRae shares how to do a life audit and includes a life audit pdf workbook with questions

Step 1: Reflect On Your Happiness In Each Area Of Your Life

The first part of the life audit process is to really think about how satisfied you are in each area of your life. These areas include:

  • business/career
  • finances
  • mental health
  • physical health
  • friendships
  • romantic relationship
  • family
  • hobbies & creativity
  • learning and personal growth
  • adventure and travel
  • home and environment

Think about each area above and rate it on a scale of 1-10 to reflect how satisfied you are. Then elaborate on why you gave it that score.

  • What IS going well in this area of your life? What are you liking or enjoying? What do you want to make sure continues?
  • What is NOT going well in this area of your life? What do you wish was different?

Take your time with each area and get really specific with what is and isn’t working.

For example, for physical health, don’t just say “I’m working out”. Say “I’m working out consistently 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes. I’m getting out for a 3-5km walk regularly. I usually hit the stand goal on my Apple watch.” (Or whatever your version of the truth is).

Specificity will make it easier to continue the things that are contributing to a positive score already.

Step 2: Envision Your Level 10 Life

The second phase of the life audit process is to think through each area of your life and get crystal clear on what a 10/10 version would look like. Really give this some thought and write out a paragraph (or an entire page!) on each area.

Ask yourself the following question to help envision your level 10 life: “Imagine you are standing here 12 months from today and you’ve just had the most phenomenal year of your entire life! What does ___ area of your life look like? How does it feel? What are you doing? What are you not doing?” Use this question to work through each of the 10 areas and write down what comes to mind.

Where most people hold themselves back in this step (and in life in general, really) is playing small. They’re afraid to really claim the vision they have for themselves because it’s uncomfortable, and the self doubt creeps in, and it requires effort. But the key to living an extraordinary life is dreaming BIG — bigger than you’ve ever let yourself dream before. Don’t hold anything back. Allow yourself to write freely without editing your thoughts or trying to make it sound nice or look pretty. Don’t judge yourself for what you want or don’t want. Don’t worry about how you’d go about making this happen. Just give yourself the space to get really clear on what your perfect year would entail, without holding anything back.

Again, get super specific with how this looks and feels so that you can actually create a specific outcome.

For example, “I have more freedom in my business” is too vague. “I travel 2 weeks out of every quarter; I take weekends off completely; I can work remotely from anywhere in the world; I have a self sufficient team of 3-5 people that doesn’t need me to be IN the business every day; I work 20-25 hours a week” is much, much, much more actionable.

Related post: How To Break Down Your Goals into Actionable Steps

To be completely honest, this level of specificity might feel challenging.

You might not “know” what you want. Trust yourself. Write what comes to mind. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it right. Know that you can always revisit this, change it, and nothing here is written in stone.

Declaring what you actually want your life to look like makes you infinitely more likely to achieve it.

how to set and achieve your goals

Step 3: Create A Vision

It’s great to be so specific on your level 10 life that you can see it in your mind, but do you know what’s even better? Being able to visually see it in real life.

This is where a vision board comes in and serves as a powerful tool for keeping your life vision front and center so that you can consistently work toward it.

I wrote all about creating a vision board for your life and business right here, so head on over to this article once you’ve audited your life and designed your future so that you can capture that vividly in a vision board.

Step 4: Set Specific Goals

Don’t make the mistake of trying to work on every piece of your vision all at once. It’s impossible. Our little brains aren’t designed to handle so much change and you’re heading straight for failure.

The key to creating your level 10 life is breaking that vision down into specific goals you can work toward over a period of time

When you look at your life categories, which 3 do you get excited about focusing your time and energy on? Or, which ones need the most attention/improvement right now?

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Think about what changes would impact your happiness the most on a day to day level, and then go set specific goals around them.

I’ve created an in-depth guide to goal setting for you right here: How To Set Goals & Create Fulfilling Success In Life & Business. It’s going to show you

  • Why Most Goal Setting Frameworks Don’t Work & the Mistakes You Must Avoid When Setting Goals in the new year.
  • The Simplest and Most Effective Goal Setting Process for Entrepreneurs & Why It Works So Well
  • The Step by Step Process to Setting Life and Business Goals Effectively
entrepreneur coach Ana McRae shares how to focus on creating fulfilling success in life and business

Once you’re done auditing your life and creating a vision board, head to this guide to set up goals that will move you toward your vision.

As you look at your level 10 life vision, remember you’ve got a whole lifetime to achieve your best life. All of the things DO NOT need to get done tomorrow, next week, or next year (although, if you’re anything like me, your brain will certainly try to convince you otherwise… That’s the road to overwhelm, frustration, burn out, and failure… don’t take it!)

Step 5: Revisit Your Life Audit Regularly

Your goals and desires are going to evolve as you grow personally and professionally. Different seasons of life will call you to focus on different things. Make sure the life audit isn’t something you do once and forget about. Revisit what you’ve written on a weekly basis to put you in the energy of achieving it. Go through the whole process again next year! See what’s changed, where you’ve seen the most improvement, and how your level 10 life is evolving.

The point of a life audit is to help you be intentional with the way you’re living your life! Continue this intentionality over the next 5-10 years of your life and you will be shocked by what you can accomplish.

I personally love to do a life audit every year in December as I prepare myself for the year ahead. And, it is absolutely magical to look at my life audits from previous years and see just how much of my desires I’ve already accomplished.

Life Audit PDF Workbook

I have the perfect workbook to help you process your thoughts and capture them in a beautiful PDF. Follow the link below to purchase the life audit fillable pdf workbook. You can print it out or edit it on your computer! Valued at $50, I am offering this resource for only $7!

So there you have it! 5 simple steps to doing a life audit and setting yourself up for more happiness, fulfillment, and success in the new year.

I can’t emphasize enough how important this process is to creating more fulfillment and success in your life. Knowing what you truly want is the first step to living an extraordinary life. 

If you’re a high achiever with a big vision for your business (but your momentum feels slower than you’d like), my 1:1 coaching program is the perfect solution to help you implement the keys to growing a really successful business that supports a really fulfilling life. Book a free discovery call with me to find out more about how we can work together to grow your business while freeing up your time and energy for a more fulfilling life.

Let’s summarize this simple life audit process for easy reference:

  1. Reflect on your satisfaction with each area of your life

    How happy are you on a scale of 1-10 and why? Look at your business/career, your finances, your mental health, your physical health, your friendships, your romantic relationship, your family, your hobbies, your learning and personal growth, your adventure and travel, your home and environment.

  2. Envision what your level 10 life looks like in each area

    What would a 10/10 look like in your business/career, your finances, your mental health, your physical health, your friendships, your romantic relationship, your family, your hobbies, your learning and personal growth, your adventure and travel, your home and environment?

  3. Create a vision board

    It’s infinitely easier to achieve goals that are top of mind. When you create a vision board to represent your level 10 life, you’re able to move toward it more quickly.

  4. Prioritize your focus & Set effective goals

    You can’t work on everything in your vision at once, so get clear on which 2-3 areas you want to dedicate your time & energy to this year, and set effective goals to help you move in that direction.

  5. Revisit your life audit on a regular basis

    Look at your vision board daily. Read the pages you’ve written about your level 10 life weekly. Go through this whole process every year. Reflect on what’s changing and how your desires are evolving. This is not a one time exercise but a tool to use regularly in your life so that you can create more fulfilling success.

That’s it! You killed it! 5 simple steps to doing a life audit and creating more happiness, success, and fulfillment in your life. If this article was valuable for you, please take a second to share it on your social media so that more people can benefit from it!

Being intentional about designing my life was the single most important factor in creating this level of success and fulfillment

If this article was valuable for you, please take a second to share it on your social media so that more people can benefit from it!

I wake up every morning exploding with joy because I decided what I want my life to look like and it empowered me to make it happen.

Which area of your life are you going to focus on improving this year? Tell us in the comments below — declaring it to strangers on the internet feels shockingly empowering!

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  1. Great article! I’ve been wanting to reflect (especially this year) on how to live more of the life I want, not influenced by fears of others opinions or others wants. This really laid out a good process for me to get started. I definitely think, as I setup my new home office, I’m going to leave space for a 9 square and a visualization board!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment Marie! You’re 100% right, it is far too easy to surrender our lives to other people’s desires for us and expectations of us! I was caught in that trap for far too long, but I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful it feels to be building a life that I LOVE. Also, I am thrilled that you’ll be putting up a 9 square and vision board on your wall!! It is so helpful to see the things that matter every single day – it has helped me with focus, perseverance, and motivation. Let me know how you make out with it!