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FEATURE - December 2016 - Kansas City

A Primer on Taking a Life Inventory

by Traci Bray


Encouraging thorough inventory of oneself, intentions, and actions, particularly in a written form, may be viewed as an exciting opportunity to facilitate astounding results. Toward that end, following the steps in this article will help you simplify the process and encourage an annual repeat. December presents an excellent time to perform inventory and to set a plan for the upcoming year, 2017.


There are formal situations in life where inventory is taken for us including:

  • At places of employment via evaluations

  • Within educational environments

  • In groups and organizations, private/public/and governmental

  • At the time of formal giving or tithing


During formal educational experiences, for example, it is most frequent that the educator evaluates the student. In employment situations, the employer evaluates the employee. In the not-as-common situations where students or employees evaluate themselves, be it their application to their studies or their performances, a limited scope of behavior, actions, and intentions are measured. Yet as students, employees, members of a board, etc., our training in evaluating ourselves seems slim, if at all existent, but can be learned.


Taking inventory of one’s whole self:

  • Offers opportunity to develop a comprehensive roadmap for an identified margin of time 

  • Raises conscious openings for restructuring and revision

  • Allows the monitoring of progress

  • Encourages scheduled inventory

  • Presents fortuitous occasion for continuance of planning and evaluating


A plan for taking inventory is something this author has developed and used toward achieving holistic goals in life—balance. This has most often resulted in a satisfying view of movement and progress through the journey of life. For people who hold concern that they, “...don’t accomplish anything,” owning the rights to their personal blueprint offers a document of proof that they do in fact succeed at such! This plan is one in which you might pop applicable goals, achievements, and events that have already occurred or will likely occur in 2016. Otherwise, it may serve as an effective tool to work on now for the coming year.  The following offers fodder for mapping the journey.


Take eight sheets of paper and label the top of each with one of the following categories:

1.  Health/Wellbeing

2.  Love/Relationships

3.  Inner Knowledge (how we look at and navigate the world)

4.  Prosperity (not just money, but what things make our lives feel rich)

5.  People Helpful to Us & Our Travels

6.  Children and/or Creativity

7.  Fame (how the world looks at us)

8.  Career


On each of these pages, spend a due amount of time jotting down items that you wish to add, achieve, maintain, or eliminate from your life during the assigned time period. Allow ample time to do this, which may be over several days. Your ‘assigned’ time period might equal a time period, a year, or even a decade.  Immediately below appear examples.


Health & Well-being

  • Attend yoga three times per week 

  • Attend a workshop on biofeedback

  • Take off and maintain the weight you wish to lose 


Love & Relationships 

  • Attend a concert (with friends/partner) 

  • Continue with weekly date-night

  • Find the love you seek


Inner Knowledge

  • Read series of inspirational books

  • Attend services at different religious institutions 

  • Learn to play the ukulele, (and, if ambitious), the banjo too

  • Work on positive self-talk/thinking



  • Continue to daily list people/places/things you are grateful for

  • Review financial plan with a planner

  • Write a note or email or text once per week letting someone know why you are grateful for them

  • Identify and plan ways to increase your income


Helpful People & Travel 

Most of us have places and people to see and things to do.

  • Write down places you wish to travel, along with people who might be of assistance (friends, travel agent, lecture)

  • Research your family tree 

  • Learn more about a particular interest you have


Children and/or Creativity

Think about what jazzes you to do! Write it down if you’d like to continue, revive, or create it.

  • Crafts, woodworking, origami, bird watching, etc. 

  • Begin journaling or blogging  

  • Strengthening the relationship with child(ren)/grandchildren. Be specific, e.g. plan an activity to do with your children and/or grandchildren, perhaps monthly—as easy as finger painting or picking dandelions, or Skype time



Some folks would prefer that the world not look at them. Fact is, few of us are invisible. If you fall into that camp, think about an epitaph - how you would like people to describe you after you’ve passed or when you’ve moved-away. Other thoughts include:

  • List acts of kindness you wish to engage in 

  • If you’re a public figure, perhaps you’d like to be interviewed for a newspaper, magazine, or television, or to host a podcast

  • Chair a fundraising event 



For those in the workforce, being detailed here may be easy to accomplish. Presuming you’ve a job description, take a peek at it, and frame the snapshot of what needs to happen, adding in things you wish to see happen. Consider stretching yourself. 


  • Identify the predetermined date you wish to be working for yourself, for a different employer, or to land that deserved promotion

  • Hire a coach

  • Attend a conference, seek a raise, or completely shift careers, moving toward what you absolutely love to do.


Remember to place dates on your calendar to review your progress. Many people do this quarterly. This offers a time to check-off things accomplished, note projects that are in-progress, eliminate those things no longer applicable, and an opportunity to tweak existing strategies.


Finally, present yourself with ample compassion and understanding for what you did not achieve, and a healthy-hand-of-applause for what you either reconsidered, or started. Award yourself with thorough congratulations for things realized or letting go of the unnecessary. Picking up for 2018 will be a much easier task, even an exciting one. For things you may not have accomplished, a roadmap now exists to list the projects, thoughts, ideas, desires, hopes, and dreams that are yet to be discovered.

Evolving Magazine

Kansas City

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Traci Bray is an “Evidence-based” Medium. She is Certified by The Windbridge Institute of Tucson as Level Five Research Medium, and by the Forever Family Foundation of New York. She earned her Master’s Degree at Western Illinois University. She reads by phone, or in-person from her Kansas City office. Find her at, or reach her at 913.940.0754. She posts nearly daily at 

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