The SWOT analysis may have been invented as a business tool, but it’s far from its sole purpose anymore. In fact, you can use it to make up your mind whenever you’re facing a personal decision – and to help you achieve any personal goals.
Applying it to personal life can be challenging, of course. First of all, self-analysis is no easy feat for most. It requires a significant amount of reflection, honesty, and acceptance. And second, when exactly can it come in the handiest?
But, when used wisely, SWOT analysis can facilitate your decision-making and help you make wise choices. So, let’s take a closer look at what it is – and 3 detailed examples of how it can be used in your daily life.
First Things First: What’s SWOT Analysis?
Before we dive into its uses, let’s get everyone on the same page regarding what SWOT analysis is. In a nutshell, it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
The final result is usually this kind of matrix:
These typically include your skills, abilities, aptitudes, attitudes, personality traits, relevant experience. They can help you achieve your goals or have a positive impact on your progress in general.
These are the same characteristics that you possess – but they can slow down your progress or get in the way.
These are any external events, trends, and other forces. They come with the plus sign, just like strengths.
These are external forces similar to the Opportunities – except they are or can become obstacles on your way.
3 Personal Decisions SWOT Analysis Can Help You Make
With that out of the way, let’s move on to this detailed overview of 3 examples when SWOT analysis can come in handy in your personal life.
1. Improving Your Grades
If you’re (un)lucky enough to still be a student, you probably worry about passing all the tests at the end of each term. So, if your goal is to improve your grades in a particular subject, here’s how you can use SWOT analysis to identify how exactly you can do it:
- Strengths. You’re curious by nature, and you have a good grasp of the subject’s basics.
- Weaknesses. You find the subject boring, and you have issues focusing for long enough. You lag behind on this and that topic.
- Opportunities. You can hire a custom research paper writing service to help you out with homework. Or, you can find someone to tutor you.
- Threats. Other people often distract you when you study at home. And, your teacher or professor is strict – getting an A in their class is even harder.
Here are some resolutions you can make based on this analysis:
- Make the subject more interesting for yourself: watch YouTube videos instead of reading, for example;
- Get external help with homework;
- Find a new place to study;
- Dedicate more time to the identified knowledge gaps.
2. Going On a Trip
A friend of yours has invited you on a road trip up north during the upcoming holidays. Should you go – or find another way to enjoy the holidays instead? Here’s an example of how a SWOT matrix can help you make this decision:
- Strengths. You’re an extrovert and you love spending time with other people. Plus, you have enough money to avoid counting every penny on the way.
- Weaknesses. You don’t like sitting in a car for hours on end.
- Opportunities. Since you’ll travel by car, you’ll be able to go anywhere you want – unlike when traveling by bus or train. The destination is also well-known for its beautiful nature.
- Threats. There’ll be someone who doesn’t like you that much – they might cause some drama and spoil your mood. Since you go up north, it’ll also be too cold for your liking.
In a nutshell, if you go on this road trip, you’ll probably be miserable. So, make a SWOT matrix for other options to find a better alternative.
3. Giving Up a Bad Habit
Let’s say you’ve thought about quitting smoking more than once. But how do you make it happen? Here’s how the SWOT analysis can help you figure it out:
- Strengths. You’re easily impressed by photos of smokers’ lungs and similar images.
- Weaknesses. You’ve already tried giving it up, but your body didn’t react well to the nicotine withdrawal.
- Opportunities. You have a friend who already quit smoking – they can help you with advice.
- Threats. A lot of people in your social circle smoke.
In a nutshell, the best way to go about it is to mitigate the impact of threats and weaknesses while using your strengths and opportunities.
10 More Questions SWOT Analysis Can Help You Answer
Yes, that’s not all. The three examples above were just a way to show you the peculiarities of using a SWOT matrix in the decision-making process.
But this tool is so robust that it can be used for virtually any life situation. Here are 10 more questions that it can help you answer:
- Should I go to that party?
- How can I get better at a certain skill or hobby?
- Is this career the right choice for me?
- Which job offer should I pick?
- Should I move to another town/city?
- Should my partner and I get married?
- How can I increase my chances of getting a raise or promotion?
- Should I take up exercising?
- Should I quit my current job?
- How can I get better at saving money?
In Conclusion: 3 Tips on Making It Worth Your While
One of the reasons the SWOT analysis gained its popularity is its simplicity. But that doesn’t mean it’s a piece of cake to do it right.
So, here’s an overview of 3 tips to help you make the most out of it:
- Be honest. People often tend to overestimate or underestimate their strengths and weaknesses. But you have no one to impress with your list.
- Use the results to reach your goals. The general recipe is: max out your strengths, work on your weaknesses, make the most out of the opportunities, and minimize the risk of threats.
- Revisit it from time to time. You won’t get a perfect SWOT matrix on your first try. You’ll remember something you forgot in the process, or you’ll notice a personal bias later on. Plus, revisiting it is the main way you can keep track of your progress.