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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

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

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 January 18, 2021

    How to Cope with the 5 Common Stressors In Life and Feel Better

    How to Cope with the 5 Common Stressors In Life and Feel Better

    Do you ever catch yourself thinking, “If I only had (fill in the blank), I wouldn’t have to worry anymore”? It’s hard to overcome those deeply ingrained beliefs around stressors in life.

    “You can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.” -Wayne Dyer

    We all have stressors in life, things we worry about that keep us awake at night. Everyone experiences stress due to life events, but chronic stress can compromise our health. It can cause irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, and insomnia. Stress can even weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to illnesses.

    In this article, I am going to discuss the 5 most common stressors in life[1], and give you some suggestions for dealing with them more effectively, so you can live a more peaceful and fulfilling life.

    1. Workplace Stress

    Workplace stress is the most common stressor in life for many people. It can come from tensions with co-workers or a boss, work overload, or simply the nature of the work, such as law enforcement. Whatever the case, there are things you can do to reduce the stress.

    Here are some effective strategies.[2]

    Start Your Day Off Right

    Many of us are stressed out before we even arrive at work. We may have children to get ready and off to school, other responsibilities to tend to, and traffic with angry drivers to deal with.

    Start your day off right by getting up early enough to take care of your responsibilities, eat properly, and cultivate a positive attitude. This reduces the likelihood of feeling all out of sorts when you arrive at work.

    Know Exactly What Is Expected of You

    Many of us are not entirely clear about what our boss expects from us. This usually happens in smaller companies that may not be as organized as larger companies. It’s important to know what’s expected of you, so you can avoid unnecessary tensions.

    Communication is the key to avoiding this type of conflict. If you’re not sure what your boss expects of you, there is nothing wrong with asking your boss to clarify his requirements. In fact, it demonstrates that you are conscientious and sincerely interested in doing a good job, which your boss will appreciate.

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    Stay Organized

    A disorganized work environment creates a great deal of stress and negatively affects your mental health. You always feel rushed because you’re not sure where things are, you misjudge the time required to perform tasks, and you’re not clear on your goals and objectives.

    To reduce stress, organize your work environment a little. Start by organizing your work area, so you can easily find your tools and papers.

    Then, organize your time by determining how long it should take you to perform certain tasks, and try to dedicate the necessary time and avoid unnecessary distractions.

    Forget multitasking, as the efficiencies of multitasking are a myth. Studies have shown that people are more productive when they focus on one task at a time.

    Stay Away From Unnecessary Conflict

    Much of the day-to-day conflict at work is unavoidable. Each person has his/her own responsibilities, which may conflict with those of others. However, workplace drama is unnecessary and counterproductive.

    The best thing to do is to avoid this kind of conflict and stressful events and save yourself the aggravation and stress. Treat everyone with respect, avoid gossip, and avoid sensitive topics like politics and religion.

    With conflicts in responsibilities, a good strategy for dealing with them is to communicate your goals and objectives when they seem to conflict with those of co-workers. Remember, you’re all on the same team trying to achieve the goals of the company.

    2. Financial Stress

    Finances are another of the common stressors in life. We worry about paying the rent, a mortgage, car loans, utilities, and food. We also worry about our investments, especially if we’re nearing retirement.

    You may think that simply having more money will take away these worries, but that isn’t necessarily so. Even wealthy people worry about finances.

    Here are some suggestions for reducing financial stress.[3]

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    Live Within Your Means

    One of the biggest mistakes people make is spending more money than they have. Credit card companies are quick to give you credit cards with high interest rates, so it’s easy to overextend yourself.

    To avoid this mistake, keep track of your finances, and avoid the temptation to buy things you can’t afford. Set some money aside for unexpected expenses, such as car or home repairs. It’s a good idea to put money in a savings account every month, even if it’s a small amount.

    Educate Yourself on Finances

    For those of you who do not have a background in finance, handling money responsibly can be a challenge. Professional football players were notorious for making millions during their short careers, and then ending up broke when they could no longer play[4].

    Now the NFL gives rookie players a course in financial management so that they invest their money wisely. This is a good strategy for everyone. Some important things to learn are:

    • Managing a checking a account
    • Using credit cards wisely
    • Borrowing money
    • Making large purchases (home, car)
    • Investing for retirement

    Learning basic finances isn’t all that complicated. Once you have some understanding of finances, you can avoid the stress that comes from the unknown.

    Ask for Help

    If you feel lost or unsure about making financial decisions, it’s ok to ask someone for help. Make sure it’s someone you trust, as there are many unscrupulous people eager to take advantage of others.

    I would suggest consulting a loved one or a trusted friend. Parents are a great resource, as well. Learn from their mistakes, instead of yours.

    3. Health-Related Stress

    For many people, health problems like illness and injury are some of the biggest stressors in life. This is more common when we get older, when our body begins to decline. When we’re young, we’re more resilient, and we can recover much more quickly from injuries and illnesses.

    Experiencing an illness is frightening because, until we get it diagnosed and treated, we usually don’t know what is happening to our body, or if we will recover. However, there are things we can do to reduce the stress associated with health issues.

    Live a Healthy Lifestyle

    The approach I’ve taken to reduce health-related stress is to avoid poor health as much as possible. Since I was in my early 20s, I’ve tried to live a healthy lifestyle. I’ve eaten healthy foods, and in moderation. I’ve also exercised regularly and maintained an active lifestyle, so I’ve never been overweight.

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    I’ve also avoided abusing my body with risky activities. For example, when I was younger I was involved in bodybuilding in order to stay in shape. I wanted to compete, but I realized that would entail taking training and supplementation to an extreme that would compromise my good health, which I wasn’t willing to do.

    Know Your Risks

    Many of us have certain risk factors that are unique to each of us. Some may be genetic, such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, or cancer. Whatever the case, learn your family history of health issues.

    It’s important to talk to your parents. Sometimes they don’t want to talk about sensitive issues, but it’s necessary for your good health.

    4. Relationship Stress

    Relationships are one of the greatest stressors in life, especially for younger people. We usually aren’t explicitly taught how to have good, healthy relationships. This is something we learn through experience and a lot of heartache, which can lead to having a stressful life for a long time.

    When we’re inexperienced with relationships, we usually let our emotions make our decisions for us. We get involved with people that we’re not compatible with, but who we care for deeply. If we’re not compatible, then we engage in power struggles, each person trying to exert his or her will in the relationship. This leads to a lot of stress because we feel like we lack control.

    Communicate

    One of the keys to less stressful relationships is communication. It’s important to be open about how we feel and what we’re looking for in the relationship. Sometimes you can work things out, and sometimes you can’t. If you can’t, then you need to move on before each of you has too much invested in the relationship, which makes it harder to end later.

    Practice Maturity

    Another key to less stressful relationships is maturity. It takes wisdom and mature emotions to not create unnecessary conflict and drama. These take time and experience to develop, but by being aware of how you’re acting, you can begin to learn these skills.

    5. Poor Nutrition

    Another stressor in life is poor nutrition. Most of us are not fully aware of how the things we consume can raise our stress level. Here are a few examples[5]:

    • Drinking Too Much Coffee: While coffee has many benefits, too much can increase stress by raising the level of cortisol, the stress hormone.
    • Eating Foods That Increase Cortisol Levels: There are other foods that raise your cortisol levels, such as refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, red meats, fried foods, and other foods high in fat.
    • Skipping Meals: In addition to providing us with the proper nutrients to maintain good health, stopping to eat gives us a break from our busy day, which allows us to relax and de-stress.
    • Not Drinking Water: Our body needs water to function properly, and stopping to take a drink gives us a short break.
    • Eating Compulsively: We sometimes eat as a reaction to stress, and we usually make poor choices of what to eat when this happens.

    Educate Yourself on Basic Health and Nutrition

    You can eliminate a lot of health related stress by knowing what is happening in your body. Nowadays, there is a wealth of good information on the Internet about almost every health issue you can think of.

    In order to live a healthy lifestyle, you don’t have to follow such a strict diet and exercise regimen. Mainly eat foods that are healthy, in smaller meals, and more often. Also, try to stay physically active.

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    Keep in mind that healthy food isn’t necessarily bland and tasteless. I eat lots of delicious foods and desserts. And by staying physically active, I eat as much as I want without gaining any weight, even as I’ve gotten older, and so can you.

    Meditation

    When it comes to dealing with stressors in life, mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool.

    Meditation doesn’t necessarily solve your problems, but it does enable you deal with them much better. In addition, it calms your mind, which leads to calmer emotions.

    Mindfulness meditation is easy to practice, and you don’t have to meditate for long periods to get the benefits. If you’re new to meditation, just sit quietly for 5-10 minutes following your breath. Do this several times a week, and you’ll notice a difference in the way you feel, and you won’t react so much to things that trigger your fears, anger, or anxiety.

    Final Thoughts

    Most of us long for peace and tranquility in our lives. When we’re young, we tend to think that once we get or achieve certain things, we’ll be able to relax. Those of you who are middle age or older have probably realized the fallacy of this way of thinking.

    “By changing your attitude, you also change your perspective and change your life.” -Roy Bennett

    We all have stressors in life, things that cause us to worry about our future. That’s natural, but it is the unpredictable nature of the stressors that make us feel insecure and not in control.

    However, it’s not really those things that cause us the stress, but rather how we view them. Therefore, if you want to lower your stress level, you need to change the way you mentally process the circumstances in your life. To accomplish this, you basically need to do three things:

    1. Choose wisely the things that are truly important in your life.
    2. Arm yourself with information about your stressors, so you have more control over your future.
    3. Learn to live with the remaining uncertainty.

    If you can do these three things, then you can enjoy your life to the greatest extent possible.

    More Tips on Handling Stress

    Featured photo credit: Ivan Aleksic via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The American Institute of Stress: What Is Stress?
    [2] Very Well Mind: 9 Simple Ways to Deal With Stress at Work
    [3] American Psychological Association: Dealing with Financial Stress
    [4] Forbes: NFL Players Need A Playbook When Managing Their Financial Future
    [5] Exploring Your Mind: Stress and Poor Nutrition

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