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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How to Use the Wheel of Life to Live the Life You Want

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How to Use the Wheel of Life to Live the Life You Want

There’s always something pulling at our attention: work, kids, social media, aging parents, the list of life categories goes on. In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to lose the balance that we crave. As a result, it’s easy to neglect important areas in our lives that bring us meaning and fulfillment. This is where the Wheel of Life can help us out.

What Is the Wheel of Life?

The truth is that without learning how to mindfully monitor our daily lives, we can end up focusing all our time and energy on a single area and neglecting other important parts.

This is where the Wheel of Life can serve as a highly useful and informative resource. It helps us look at each of these different life categories and identify which areas are doing well and which areas we need to allocate more attention to.

It does this by graphically representing the different life categories as they are now, compared to how we would ideally like them to be. Then, you can identify gaps and where you need to spend your time.

Through understanding this, we can then identify what steps we need to take in order to live a life of happiness and success.

How Does the Wheel of Life Work?

Every “slice” of the Wheel of Life represents one of many life categories. Each of these categories is rated by you on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent.

Once you’re done rating where you feel each of the different categories are right now, you’ll be left with a diagram with a mosaic-like wheel appearance, something like a spider web. This will allow you to visualize which areas of your life you’re currently lacking in right now.

Here’s an example of the Wheel of Life[1]:

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Wheel Of Life – CodeScale

    Then, you can go around the Wheel of Life again and indicate where you would ideally like each of these categories to be. This visual representation will show you which areas of your life require the most effort and attention at this moment.

    Remember that every aspect of the Wheel of Life has an important role in your life. Your goal should be to answer the questions as honestly as possible. This will provide you with the most accurate representation for your current life.

    The Wheel of Life Categories

    No life is exactly identical to someone else’s. As such, it’s possible that different categories of living will be included in the Wheel of Life for different individuals.

    What’s important is that the categories you choose to include provide an accurate representation of the important areas of your life that will help you achieve overall life balance.

    That being said, there are some common ones:

    Health

    In this category, you aim to rate how physically and mentally healthy you are. You can ask yourself questions like:

    • How do I feel?
    • How regularly do I exercise?
    • What is my diet like?
    • Are there any changes I’d like to make to live a healthier lifestyle?

    Career

    In this Wheel of Life category, you are beginning to think about the job you’re currently working at and rating how satisfied you are with it.

    Are you happy where you are, or would you rather be working a different job, potentially in a different field? Does the career path you’re currently on bring you happiness? Can it support the lifestyle you desire?

    Personal Development

    This category on the Wheel of Life looks at how you are investing in your personal growth. Are you pursuing opportunities that open you up to new experiences? Are you eager to learn new things? What are you doing to evolve and develop into the person you hope to be one day?

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    Finances

    The financial category encourages you to reflect on whether or not your current income supports your basic needs, as well as the lifestyle you are hoping to live

    [2]. Are you going to be happy with the progression of your income over the next 5 years, or are you going to have to make changes?

    No, money is not the only thing that influences our happiness, but it’s certainly one of the key players.

    Life Enjoyment

    Here, think about what kind of activities you engage in to bring yourself life satisfaction and a sense of life enjoyment. Whether that’s sports, reading, writing, or any other hobby doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are engaging in some things that bring you happiness on a regular basis.

    All work and no play makes for a dull day, and eventually a dull and unsatisfactory life. You can analyze your level of life enjoyment a bit more using this article.

    Societal Contribution

    This Wheel of Life category asks you to reflect on what is it that you are giving back to others. How are you giving back to the people around you or the communities that you are a part of? Do you volunteer?

    Do you help out with local sports or clubs? Are you engaged in political issues to make your community a healthier and safer place for everyone?

    Relationships

    Now you’re going to evaluate your relationships with other people, including family and friends

    . As you do this, ask yourself whether you feel these relationships are built on a good foundation or not? Do you trust the other person in the relationship? Do you each support one another?

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    Can you build on the relationship that is currently established in a positive way? Are these relationships having a positive influence on your daily life?

    Romance

    Now you’re going to ask yourself a few questions about a specific relationship, the one you have with your partner. In the Wheel of Life, this is one of our most important relationships.

    The most important question that you can ask yourself here is if you have a partner who is committed to you and who you can build an amazing relationship with. Are you supporting each other’s growth? Do your values align? Are you able to make each other laugh?

    It’s very rare to find all these things in another person, so if you find someone who checks a lot of these boxes, you’ve probably found a special someone worth keeping around.

    Reflecting on Your Results

    If you feel like you would now go and create your own Wheel of Life that you can use in order to improve your own life, then check out this Wheel of Life assessment tool.

    This is a free version of the wheel that asks you to provide your current and ideal category scores and then creates your Wheel of Life for you. It’s free and only takes a few minutes to complete.

    Once you’ve completed your Wheel of Life and accurately and honestly identified the current and ideal scores for each category, you can move forward with these insights in order to improve your life.

    You might ask yourself questions like:

    • Why do you currently have a low/high score in a given category?
    • Which categories have the largest gaps between their current position and your ideal score?
    • What can you do in order to move the category score from it’s current position to where you would ideally like it to be?
    • Which categories on your Wheel of Life are the most important to you?
    • Which categories are currently having the biggest impact on your life?
    • Are there categories that you would like to dedicate more/less attention to?

    These are all important questions that you can answer to provide yourself with useful information moving forward as you improve your life.

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    By taking a look at your entire life like this, you can also begin making connections between different areas. For example, how is your career impacting your personal development, or how are your relationships impacting your finances and life enjoyment? These are all things that the Wheel of Life allows you to consider and visualize.

    Applying the Wheel of Life to Your Life

    Remember, we are always capable of change and improvement. If you aren’t satisfied with certain categories on your Wheel of Life, or the entire wheel in general, then get motivated to make changes!

    Start to think about what plans, strategies, and steps you can begin taking in order to get where you want to be.

    Something that I know has helped many people is keeping track of their progress. Through these actions, they can begin to understand what works for them and what doesn’t. Then, over time, they can tweak how they are pursuing their goals and increase the frequency of their successes.

    Final Thoughts

    Do your best to think of your life in terms of the big picture so that you can understand how the different aspects of your life influence each other and impact the overall quality of your life. This will help you in finding balance and working on goal setting for success.

    By understanding the big picture, you can then take action towards bringing the life you’ve always wanted into reality!

    More on Living Life to the Fullest

    Featured photo credit: Jean Gerber via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Mark Lynch

    Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2021

    Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist (And How to Stay Sane)

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    Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist (And How to Stay Sane)

    If you’ve ever felt like work-life balance isn’t really possible, you may be right.

    Actually, I think work-life balance doesn’t exist. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a rising star in the corporate world, work is always going to overflow from your 9 to 5 into your personal life. And if you have ambitions of becoming successful in just about any capacity, you’re going to have to make sacrifices.

    Which is why, instead of striving for the unrealistic goal of “work-life balance,” I use a combination of rituals, tools, and coping mechanisms that allows me to thrive on a day-to-day basis.

    Of course, moments still arise when I may feel overloaded with work and a bit out of balance, but with these daily rituals in place, I am able to feel grounded instead of feeling like I’m losing my mind.

    Here are five daily practices I use to stay focused and balanced despite a jam-packed work schedule:

    1. Pause (Frequently!) to Remember That You Chose This Path

    Regardless of which path you take in life, it’s important to remind yourself that you are the one who chose the path you’re on.

    For example, one of the joys of being an entrepreneur is that you experience a significant amount of freedom. Unfortunately, in moments of stress, it’s easy to forget that choice goes both ways: you chose to go your own way, and you chose the obstacles that come with that journey.

    Remember: tomorrow, you could choose to leave your job, shut down your company, and go move to a farm in the middle of nowhere. The choice is yours.

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    Whenever I catch myself thinking, “Why am I doing this?” I simply remember, “Oh, wait. I chose this.” And if I want to, I can choose another option. But at this moment, I own it because I chose it.

    That simple mental shift can help me move from feeling out of control to in control. It’s empowering.

    2. Use ‘Rocks’ to Prioritize Your Tasks

    Sometimes having a to-do list is more overwhelming than it is helpful.

    The daily tasks of anyone in a high-stakes, high-responsibility role are never-ending. Literally. No matter how many items you check off your list, each day adds just as many new ones, and even after a full day it can often feel like you haven’t accomplished anything.

    So instead, I use “rocks”—a strategy I learned from performance coach Bill Nelson.

    Say you have a glass container and a variety of rocks, divided into groups of large, mid-sized, and small rocks, and then some sand. If you put the small rocks in first, you’re not going to be able to fit everything in your container. But if you put the big rocks in first, then the mid-sized, and, finally, the small, they’ll all fit. And at the end, the sand fills the extra space.

    The point of this strategy is to designate a handful of your biggest priorities for the week—let’s say five tasks—as the things you absolutely have to get done that week. Write them down somewhere.

    Then, even if you accomplish nothing else but those five things, you’re going to feel better, since you completed the important tasks. You’ve made progress!

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    Identifying your “rocks” is a better way of tracking progress and ensuring that you focus on the most critical things. You can create rocks on a weekly or even daily basis.

    Some days, when I’m feeling the most frenzied, I say to myself, “You know what? Let’s boil it down. If I accomplish nothing else today and I just do these three things, it will be a good day.”

    3. The PEW12 Method

    Of all the daily practices I follow, Purge Emotional Writing (PEW12), which I learned from Dr. Habib Sadeghi, is my favorite.[1]

    Here’s how it works:

    Pick a topic, set a timer for 12 minutes, and just write.

    You may be dealing with a specific issue you need to vent about, or you may be free-writing as emotions surface. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing or what your handwriting looks like, because you’re never going to re-read it.

    At the end, burn the pages.

    As the paper burns, you will feel all of those emotions you’ve just poured out either being reduced or dissipating completely. Both the writing process—which is literally unloading all of your unnecessary stuff—and the burning of the pages feel incredibly cathartic.

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    And you can do PEW12 as frequently or infrequently as you feel you need it—once, twice, or multiple times a day.  

    The reason I find this exercise so helpful is because, sometimes, I get in my head about a difficult issue or troubling interaction with someone, even when I know there is nothing to be done about it.

    But as soon as I do my PEW12, I feel a sense of relief. I have more clarity. And I stop circling and circling the issue in my head. It makes things feel resolved. Just try it.

    4. Set Sacred Time (Like a 20-Minute Walk or Evening Bath)

    Outside of work, you have to try to protect some time for restoration and quiet. I call this sacred time.

    For example, every single night I take a bath. This is a chance to literally wash off the day and any of the energy from the people, interactions, or experiences that I don’t want to take to bed with me.

    I actually remodeled a bathroom in my house solely for this purpose. The bath ritual—which includes Himalayan bath salts, essential oils, and a five-minute meditation—is the ultimate “me time” and allows me to go to bed feeling peaceful and relaxed.

    And while sacred time to end the day is crucial, I like to start the day with these types of practices, too.

    In the mornings, I take my dog Bernard for a walk—and I use those 20 minutes to set my intention for the day. I don’t take my phone with me. I don’t think about the endless to-do list. I just enjoy listening to the birds and breathing in the sunshine, while Bernard stops to say hi to the neighbors and their dogs.

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    These might seem like ordinary daily activities, but it’s the commitment to doing them day after day that makes all the difference.

    5. Forgive Yourself When You Fail to Use the Tools

    Sometimes our intention to follow “daily” practices falls flat. When this happens to me, I try not to beat myself up about it. After all, these things are tools to make me feel good. If they just become another chore, what is the point?

    At the end of the day, my daily practices don’t belong in my jar of rocks or on my to-do list or in my daily planner. They are there to serve me.

    If, for some reason, life happens and I can’t do my practices, I won’t feel as good. It’s possible I won’t sleep as well that night, or I’ll feel a little guilty that I didn’t walk Bernard.

    But that’s okay. It’s also a good practice to acknowledge my limits and let go of the need to do everything all the time.

    The Bottom Line

    For most people, accepting that work-life balance simply isn’t possible is the first step to feeling more grounded and in control of your life.

    Don’t waste your energy trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist. Instead, focus on how you’re feeling when things are out of balance and find a way to address those feelings.

    You’ll have a toolkit for feeling better when life feels crazy, and, on the off chance things feel calm and happy, your rituals will make you feel absolutely amazing!

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    Featured photo credit: Dries De Schepper via unsplash.com

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