Approaching Change from the Inside-Out
Newsletter #2
From Diana's Desk

About Diana

Look at your Life

          The Wheel of Life with its eight components can be a powerful model for looking at your overall life. (Refer to the last newsletter for an explanation of the Wheel) But occasionally people look at The Wheel of Life and all the aspects of their lives and, feeling overwhelmed, will say to me "where do I start?" In light of September 11th and the recent Enron event, we are especially vulnerable to feeling that nothing is in our control and that someone or something out there is doing us in.

          Let me offer a suggestion for approaching change in an "inside-out" manner. That is by starting with Self-care. Self-care is about getting your "houses" in order. The house of your body, your shelter and your finances. Are you overdue for your dental checkup? Is your garage full of everything but the car? Are important papers scattered and hard to find? Do you have at the very least a will? Widows of 9/11 who had not drafted wills with their husbands have an extra burden now. They will likely have some sort of court supervision for how they spend their money for the children till they reach adulthood. Is it time to be saving for college? Or do you need to do estate and retirement planning? These things are in your control.

          The tendency when considering the other aspects of your life is to cast the control to others. In relationships, "if they would do better", in work, "if they were a better place to work", in exercise, "if only there were time", in nutrition "if only they would eat better, I could too" And even centering practices are difficult to initiate when you are stressed and feeling out of control. Our lives reflect our values, and we are our most authentic, less stressed selves when we live according to our values. What does the order of each of your Self-care houses say about what you value?

          Start with those things nearest to you and really in your control. Steven Covey speaks about the circle of influence and circle of concern When you focus on trying to fix or fret about those things not under your control you are reactive and not able to have much influence and as your focus stays "out there' (concern) your influence over events decreases. If, however, you work on those things close by and within your control in a proactive way, your circle of influence actually increases and your circle of concern decrease, thus you then effect change in a wider and wider sphere. The sense of accomplishment from succeeding at changing a behavior or circumstance carries over into other aspects of your life. You feel good, releasing new energy. This energy acts as a leverage point for further positive action.

          So how do you get your houses in order?

The first House of Self -care is the your body.


          Insurance- smoke alarms- seat belts- regular dental exams- updated eyeglass prescriptions- keeping informed about health care advances- taking medications properly- asking questions of your health care providers.

The second house is shelter-your home.

          Clean-ordered -repaired -uncluttered-harmonious-safe

The third is your house of finance.

          Living within your means- saving- investments- wills- retirement planning- using awareness and choice when spending- acquiring knowledge through books and newspapers - seeking professional counsel

          Disorder in self-care is a real energy drainer. Every time you look at or are reminded of an uncompleted repair, appointment not made, or clutter taking over your living space, you are draining energy away. Take an inventory of your three houses. What items come to the top of the list? While developing the list may seem daunting in itself, it can show what is within your circle of influence. Then start very small. Take one item from each house for a start. For example, schedule one doctor's appointment. The call takes a very few minutes but you will feel that sense of accomplishment from getting that done. Then select one corner of clutter, drawer or closet to tackle. Each small job done is a success story. Buy a book on financial matters to check up on how you are doing. Then you can decide whether to seek out professional advice. You don't need to be rich to profit from good financial advice. Many times a first consultation is free.

          It is amazing how working on one area of Self-care influences other areas. For example, you may choose to cut down on the number of times you eat out in a week and buy simple healthy ingredients to cook at home. You will save a substantial amount of money not spent in restaurants and get healthier at the same time. Giving away clothes and household items that you no longer use to a charity de-clutters your house and you can take an itemized deduction on your income tax as well.

          I can't emphasize enough how important it is to start small with what is right there in front of you or you can become overwhelmed here too. Each task done boosts your sense of accomplishment, control and energy. So many of these projects really take very little time in actual minutes. It is all the thoughts of tackling them that takes hours. Time management is a component and ally of Self-care activities. One less hour of television frees time for one more self-care success. Each small success builds a better day, day by day. This quote by Ann Dillard reminds me how the pattern of our lives is formed.

"How we spend our days is of course,
how we spend our lives"

          As you start to see progress in your three houses of Self-care, you build confidence in your ability to be effective in others areas of your life. Increased energy will help you take on exercise and time out for centering practices. Your circle of influence will expand to include work and relationships. And your houses of body, shelter and finance will truly be outward demonstrations of your values and your true self.

Warmest wishes for a fresh start with your Self-care



Balance your Wheel of Life
Saturday, April 6, 2002
Herbal Path Pharmacy Meeting Room
839 Central Avenue Dover NH
$50.00 includes snacks and all materia

  • Start on a plan to live a less stressful, more balanced life in 2002 and beyond.
  • Discover and uncover your values and beliefs
  • Examine how closely you are living according to what you believe to be important
  • Assess the current balance in your life
  • Learn tips to balance and manage the essential components of your life

    Register through this Web Site by emailing me at or calling 207-439-3801



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