Taking a Personal Inventory

Last updated: June 2018

With so many responsibilities in our lives, it is very easy to lose focus on what our plan is, that is if you have even gotten to the point where there is some ‘plan’ :-). Being sick a lot of the time makes this more difficult. Sometimes it can be helpful to ‘take a Personal Inventory.’ When I begin working with a new client, it is usually one of the first things we do together. I say ‘together’ because this is meant to be YOUR personal inventory and not someone else’s idea of what your life looks like. The general idea is that you take a look at several of the most important aspects of your life and summarize the current state, think about a positive way to look at said state, changes you want to make and the plan for that change. I will take you on a little trip through a basic ‘personal inventory’ with the hopes that this activity can help you organize your thoughts on this extraordinarily hectic IBS journey.


The first thing we want to look at is, guess what? I bet you already know. Yup, HEALTH (Mental and Physical). Mental and Physical is looked at together because they are so deeply intertwined. So, what issues are you currently dealing with? You can be as detailed (or not) as you want here as long as you are covering exactly what you are dealing with. Anxiety, IBS, Arthritis and knee problem would be an example. Next, we try to look at a positive. Well, maybe the anxiety was worse several months ago and you’ve started to get it under control. Perhaps you have just been trying a new diet for your IBS and it’s working wonders. All that stuff goes here. Changes you would like to make to your current mental and physical health comes next, followed by the plan for making those changes. Again, this is your ‘Personal Inventory’ and I think that the only MANDATORY thing here is being HONEST. If you are not doing an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, the inventory might not be as accurate as you would like.

Work and social

Next we would look at your living arrangement, financial situation, employment or schooling, leisure activity, social supports and community connections. We can glean quite a bit of interesting and pertinent information about our lives as they exist in this moment by looking at these very general facets of life. Remember, this is just a framework to allow you to explore who you are right now. What are you happy about? If the answer is ‘nothing’, then you should use that as your answer. It is important to be self-aware enough to know that you don’t see the silver lining. Use this type of honesty to your advantage. State the change you want to make and try to develop a plan to make that change a reality. Hopefully, you might find this helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed and frozen. I will go into more about the ‘Personal Inventory’ in future article. Until then, give it a shot and see if it doesn’t provide some clarity.

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