When I tell people I’m a life coach, their first question is “What is coaching?” If they survive the explanation, than the usual follow up question will be “what kind of exercises you use?” Since I want coaching to be accessible as possible, and since I want people to stop asking me about the sort of exercises I use, below are a few free life coaching exercises that can change your life, or at least make you think about it.
All though it’s best to have a coach performing these with you, I picked exercises that you can start doing by yourself and can really make you think. Some of these can take a few minutes, some may take a week or a month, but all of them can make you see your life in a different way, and give you insight as to what is causing your results.
Young you and present you
Draw two circles like the ones below. One will represent the young you, and the second will represent the present you.
On the “young you” circle, think about the strengths and skills you had as a child. What were you good at? What did your friends think you were good at doing? What did your peers like about you? What qualities your family members said you possess? Write them all down in the corresponding place. Focus only on the positive, and keep adding as many strengths as you like.
Now let’s look at the present you. What are you good at today? Are these the same skills that you had as a child? What new experiences have you collected over the years? What do others like to say about you? What part of your life has improved? Add all of these to the circle. Add as many fields as you feel, and want to add.
After you’ve completed filling both circles concentrate on the below questions:
- What is common between the strengths you had as a child and your current strengths?
- What strengths have you possessed throughout your life?
- What skills and qualities did you learn and acquire during your lifetime? What is different from the qualities you had as a child?
What can you learn from the exercise
By the end of this exercise, you can tell the difference between the core strengths you have, and the new skills you acquired over your lifetime. We learn throughout our life. The more we experience, the more we grow. The more we stay out of our comfort zone, the more challenges, and learning opportunities we have. Being aware of the changes you are going through will show you how you are moving forward and how you are developing.
The want list
This exercise will give you a different look on your life and will enable you to create new goals that will change all the things that you don’t want present in your life.
Take a large piece of paper and prepare the 4 columns below:
- Want and have
- Have and don’t want
- Don’t have and want – Goals
- Don’t have and don’t want
In the end, your paper should look something like the image below:
And now start filling each list.
Want and have
what is it in your life that you love? Think about your life and write down all the things that you are happy with to have present in them
Have and don’t want
after acknowledging all the good things in your life, look at the things you don’t like so much. All the things you have in your life that you were happy to get rid of. Some say it’s the time it takes them to get to work, other might mention their boss or too much weight, whatever it is if you would rather not having it, write it down.
Don’t have and want
these are the things you don’t have but would want to have present in your life, your desires and all the things you want to achieve. Write these down here. You just wrote down a list of goals.
Don’t have and don’t want
many of us don’t consider this list. These are the things that we don’t have in our life, and we also don’t want the there. An illness, debt or a car accident might be a few.
What can you learn from the exercise
By making these lists, you have become more aware of your desires and dislikes. Of what you have in life, and of what you want to achieve. You can ask yourself which list was the easiest to make? Which list got you more excited?
Another thing that you can do is take each statement in the “have and don’t want list” and rephrase it from the negative to the positive. For example “I don’t want to drive an hour to work each day” can be turned to “I want to work in a place where it takes me less than an hour to drive to”.
Voila! You have just turned all of your dislikes in your life to your goals!
Scaling your life
Using the scale below, think about your life. Take into consideration your friends, family, happiness, position at work, income and other parts that you feel make up your life. Where are you on the scale today? Mark down the number which best represent the feeling you have today when 10 is the best possible situation and 1 the worst.
What can you learn from the exercise
After circling the number which represents your life today, answer the below questions.
- What is happening today in your life that got you to this number?
- Are you happy with this number? Do you want to stay here or move forward?
- Have you ever been lower on the scale? Draw a circle around that number. What did you do to stop from going even lower?
- Have you ever been higher on the scale? Draw a circle around that number. What did you do different from today to be at a higher number?
- What number do you want to reach? How did you know you’ve reached that number? What will be happening in your life when you reach it?
- What do you need to do to move just one number up the scale?
By answering these questions you can have a different perspective on your life and can define the things that are holding you back and find solutions to those things.
The bucket list
A simple and famous exercise. This exercise is so famous, that a movie by the same name was created based upon it. All you need to do is make a list of all the things you want to do, all the places you want to see, and all the experiences you want to have before you kick the bucket. Write down all the things you want to have, feel and do before you die. Don’t limit yourself.
- Write a novel
- Climb a volcano
- See Nepal
After you make the list ask yourself:
- What is stopping me from doing anything on the list right now?
- How can I remove this issue so I will be able to do it?
- What is the most important thing to achieve?
- What do I need to do first to make it happen?
You can ask those question for each one of the things you wrote down. Don’t strike out anything until you get it done, and don’t stop until you achieve them all!
As people are usually more accountable towards other people than themselves, this exercise is perfect in forcing you to follow through on those things you keep telling yourself you are going to do, but never quite follow through.
- Write down the goal you want to achieve and the date you will achieve it in, on 5 pieces of paper. For example “I will drop 8 kg by 31/12/2015”
- Give each one of the pieces of paper to one person. Each of these people needs to be someone you respect and trust.
- Ask each one of these people to regularly check on your progress in achieving your goal.
- On the date you have pointed out you will achieve the goal, each one of the people you selected, should call you and ask you about achieving this goal.
You will be surprised at how effective this exercise is.
These exercises are just a few of the exercises coaches use. You can do each of these by yourself and see what insights you discover regarding your life. Of course, the effect is stronger when you perform these with a coach.