I’m not sure about you, but every few months I find myself retreating to a place of introspection, personally and professionally. On the personal side of things, during these times I start to do an analysis of how I’ve grown while also thinking about where I’ve fallen a bit short. On the professional side of things, I tend to reflect on my work with clients, assessing how I can better utilize my coaching toolbox. 

As a coach and someone who has also been a client, I understand that sometimes prioritizing your health feels like a big task. There are strategies to help decrease any overwhelm you may feel when you shift the priority to putting yourself first, but you have to be willing to do the hard work, and I don’t mean only sweating it out in the gym. 

One of the strategies we will be discussing today is known as a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat. Although SWOT analysis is typically used as part of building a business, it is something that everyone can do on a personal level, particularly if you are more of an analytical thinker. 

A SWOT analysis helps an established business understand how its current framework stands out or needs improvement, but it can also be used when building a business. If you start to think of your current health and wellness as a business venture, I think this idea will start to make more sense to you. Just as a SWOT analysis aims to evaluate the past, present, and future of a company, you can use a SWOT analysis to evaluate your past, present, and future goals. 

Think about all the times you’ve started and stopped the pursuit of your goals. Were you focused on utilizing your strengths during more challenging times? Did you seek out new opportunities for support or did you feel threatened by the process of change? A SWOT analysis helps you to better understand challenges you’ve faced, or may face once again moving forward, and also helps you to draw upon your personal strengths so you can experience a different level of success. 

A personal SWOT analysis requires time to sit quietly and involves quite a bit of introspection. It’s probably best to do a first draft, set that draft aside for a day or two, and then come back to it with fresh eyes. You may want to draft your SWOT analysis based upon a more specific wellness goal rather than thinking in more broad and general terms. 

Here is an example of what a SWOT analysis outline may look like, courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Health.

Let’s look at some questions to ask yourself as you start to draft up your own SWOT analysis. Visualize the graphic as if you choose to write out your answers, placing the response in each corresponding quadrant. 

Strengths (these are traits that set you apart from others): 

  • In what areas of my life do I excel naturally? 
  • What skills have I worked to develop over time?
  • Do I have skills that have been dormant for a while that I can tap into once again?
  • What are some natural-born gifts that I’ve strengthened over time?

Weaknesses (these are traits that require improvements through more dedicated time and focus, so be honest and open with yourself):

  • What are some of my negative work habits?
  • What traits do I have that tend to get in the way of moving forward?
  • What pieces or parts of my knowledge, education, or skill set need improvement?
  • What might others view as weakness, not in a judgmental way, but more in the way of feedback?

Opportunities (external factors that allow for leverage): 

  • What resources do I currently have at my disposal that I haven’t taken full advantage of?
  • What are some current trends that actually can make this process more fun or exciting?
  • Do I have others in my life who have personal experience with the goals I’m looking to achieve that can help to support the process?

Threats (external factors that may put you at a disadvantage): 

  • Do I have some current injuries or health concerns that may factor into my ability to achieve my goals?
  • What are some real considerations related to my time and energy that impact my actions?
  • Do I have all of the “equipment” I need to support my goals?

Once your analysis has been finalized, you can begin to draft up a more realistic plan for your wellness goals. Learn to better understand how your strengths and opportunities can help you to overcome your threats and weaknesses. If you identify areas of your life where threats and weaknesses dominate or will be more difficult to overcome, make some solid, detailed plans to work towards addressing these areas of your life. 

Here’s a super simplified SWOT analysis example, using the goal of becoming better at consistently meal prepping each week. Keep in mind that only one SWOT statement is listed, and a plan is developed around each specific statement: 

  • Strength: I’m great at staying organized. I’ll use this strength to draft up a shopping list and outline my personal routine for cooking. At the same time I can identify the day of the week and ideal time of day to prepare meals. I’ll place the details on my calendar as an important appointment I have with myself. 
  • Weakness: I tend to procrastinate. To help with this, I’ll have a family member or close friend agree to help me with accountability. I’ll make sure someone knows to text me a couple of hours before I intend to start meal prepping, and I will also set a reminder on my phone. I won’t say “yes” to any plans that get in the way of this.
  • Opportunity: I enjoy looking at TikTok for fun recipe trends. I’ll take advantage of this, letting it inspire me to try out some new recipes so I don’t get bored. Boredom can lead to throwing meal prep out the window and ordering in instead. 
  • Threat: I’d like to experiment with some air fryer recipes, but I don’t own an air fryer. I will start to look for sales or models that allow me to purchase one at a price that works best for my budget. As an option if I need to save money, I can take my weekly Starbucks allowance and put it towards a gadget like this one that helps to enhance my health.

So there you have it! It may seem somewhat intimidating at first, but I think you’ll find this exercise to be super helpful to building your personal wellness plan and staying committed to your specific goals! Let us know if you give it a try! 

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash