The Wheel of Life is a common life coaching tool which is used as an easy way to take stock of your life as it is today; to show you where your life is ‘out of balance’, and the areas where you want to focus on improving. Follow the steps below to start making positive changes in your life today.
- Draw a circle and divide it into eight equal parts like the diagram above. Alternatively print a pdf of the diagram above.
- Label each of these parts for different areas of focus in your life. How you label them is up to you, as you are the expert on the priorities in your life. A possible list could be:
- Hobbies & Learning
- Love Life
- Family & Social
What’s important is that the labels describe the different areas of your life as you see it. You could divide your circle into six, or ten – for many people, eight is a good number of areas to work with.
- Think about how satisfied you are with each area. Use a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is at the centre of the wheel and 10 is on the rim, and draw a dot along the spoke to represent your score. So, if for your financial wellbeing you’d score yourself as 5/10 satisfied, draw a dot half way up the spoke. If you’d score yourself as 1/10, it would be nearer the centre; 9/10 would be nearer the outer edge.
- When you’ve completed this for all of the areas you identified, join up the dots. How smooth is the line? Does your life look ‘in balance’, or does the shape of your wheel guarantee a bumpy ride? What areas are you already very happy with/grateful for? Which need your attention?
- For each area of your life, list three things you are grateful for, or are happy with. It’s important not just to look at what’s missing, but also at what you already have. Gratitude exercises have been successfully used in positive psychology programmes to improve participants’ mental health and wellbeing. For many people, this shift in perception can help them realise things aren’t as bad as they may think – and if you really can’t think of three things to be grateful for, then you’ve an ideal opportunity to improve matters!
- Now pick two or three areas where you’d most like to bring about improvement. For each area, think about what it is you want to achieve. What does ‘success’ in this area mean to you? If you find it easier to think about what you don’t want than what you do, it’s time to feed your imagination. Talk to people in your life who seem happy and energised – ask them about their work, their hobbies and their routines. Read biographies or watch documentaries about people who inspire you. Think back to the times in your life you were most happy and engaged – what were you doing? Who were you with? What was your environment like? Write down some key words or phrases or draw some doodles to represent what you’d like to bring about in each area.
- For each of these two or three areas you’ve identified, list three action steps you can take today or tomorrow to bring you closer to your goal. For example, if ‘health & fitness’ is your area of focus, you might put the following three steps:
- Start a food and drink diary to track your intake
- Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss an ongoing healthy-eating or exercise plan
- Sign up for an exercise class with a friend
Now that you’ve an action plan in place, take action each day to bring you closer to where you want to be. If you can do something easily today, don’t wait until tomorrow. If an action step seems too big or unmanageable, break it down into smaller chunks. Always ask yourself ‘what can I do today to improve this area’?
As you progress, you can repeat the exercise to check how you’re doing, and to remind yourself how far you’ve come. And remember to congratulate yourself on your progress! Many of us are better at focusing on our failures than on giving ourself fair credit for our successes. This sort of ‘modesty’ does us no good; you don’t need to take out an advert in the local paper every time you reach one of your goals, but by all means do a private victory dance around your own living room.
Perhaps close the curtains first, though.
Enjoy the process!