A few weeks ago I was walking out of my children’s preschool when I bumped into another mom I’ve known casually over the past two years.

We stopped to say hello and catch up a bit, and the conversation moved into talking about my business. As I was telling her my story, I said, “Honestly, while I do have a passion for wellness, the real reason I began this business when I did was because I needed something of my own.”

See, we had been sharing about the intensity of mothering young ones and being home with them all day. And as soon as I made that comment, tears welled up in her eyes.

She stood there crying in the hallway as a huge wave of emotions overtook her, because she so deeply related to how I had felt a couple years ago. She felt disconnected to parts of herself that she deeply missed.

After a really long hug, we smiled and giggled a bit at how the lives of women can look so different on the outside but are really similar on the inside, and that we rarely talk about it. And also how good it feels when we do.

But the next part of the story is what I most want to share.

After her tears, we chatted about what she used to do before becoming a mother. We even started to brainstorm around how she may start to weave things she used to love doing back into her world.

And then she stopped. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Really, though, I think I’m just so tired. I wonder how much of this would feel so intense if I could just get a good night’s sleep.”

Bang. In a moment’s time, I was instantly reminded of the wisdom she just tapped. So often we jump right to thinking the solution is in some higher-level change…when all along, we’ve chronically ignored the minimum requirements for thriving.

Our basic, fundamental needs…

Ask yourself these things:

1. Food: How are you feeding yourself?
2. Rest: How are you sleeping?
3. Calm: How are you handling stress?
4. Activity: How are you moving (aka exercising)?

Yes, of course we need love and joy, laughter and fresh air.  We need spiritual connection and mental stimulation and creativity and purpose.  But the truth is, a chronically sleep-deprived mama living off of Diet Coke and cheese doodles is nowhere near as prepared to experience the kind of deep, vital, and vibrant life meant for her. To some degree, we simply must take care of the basics first.

We often breeze past these fundamental needs and go straight to fixing the higher-level needs in our life.  But if we don’t have a proper, sturdy foundation in place, any attempts at flying will fail.

In order to spread our wings, our roots need to be well established.

This time of year, we begin making big visions for our lives and crafting ambitious goals, which are all good and exciting.

But I encourage you, while you’re setting high-level goals for the new year, take time for a foundations assessment.x Inventory how you are doing in the four critical areas mentioned above. They will be the raw materials you need to succeed at wherever your life needs to expand and increase.

Lately I’ve been preparing to lead my signature course, Designed for Wellness, which starts in January 2012. And I’ve been thinking about the process of establishing goals that are truly reflective of where we are and where we want to be this time next year.

It seems to me that many women could use a simple, straightforward way to identify not just their ideal goals, but also the skills they need to meet their goals.

I created a three-part video series to take you through that exact process. If you’d like to gain access to these videos, at no cost, just click here and sign up. The first video will be sent to you immediately.

Each video will take you through a simple, targeted exercise that helps you focus on the specific goals that are right for you, as well as identify the actionable steps for getting there successfully.

I’d love to hear how you are doing in these four foundational areas. Which of the four areas are in most need of attention right now in your life?