How to use the Wheel of Life to take back control
What is a Wheel of Life assessment?
The Wheel of Life is a tool that we often use with our coaching clients. What is a Wheel of Life and how can it benefit you?
A Wheel of Life is used to assess the balance between different areas of your life. Different variants exist, but most commonly, these 8 dimensions are scored on a range of 1–10:
- Physical Environment
- Personal Growth
You can either use this standard model or adapt it according to your own situation by adding dimensions or altering them.
Image from The Start of Happiness
The origins of the Wheel of Life
Paul J. Meyer, a pioneer of the self-development industry, is credited with creating the original concept for the Wheel of Life assessment . He might have been inspired by Tibetan Buddhism, where the Wheel is used to depict different forms of existence or states of mind.
The Wheel of Life dimensions
These are the 8 standard categories for the Wheel of Life with a short description and some ideas for adaptation, should you require them.
The Physical Environment dimension encompasses your personal and/or work environment. Especially at this time, when most of us are working from home, it’s very important to evaluate how satisfied you are with your physical surroundings.
This describes your work life. If you feel like a different name is more appropriate/applicable to your own situation, like Volunteering or Entrepreneurship, feel free to change it to that instead.
In the Finances dimension, rate your satisfaction with the way you handle money, or how financially secure you feel.
You can choose to give your health an overall rating, or split the dimension into Physical Health and Mental/Emotional Health.
The Family & Friends category can also be renamed Relationships, as it describes your relationship with people that are close to you.
This category can be merged into the Relationships category if you choose, or you can rename it Love, Significant Other, Life Partner, Wife/Husband, etc., according to your personal preference and current situation.
If you find this dimension a little bit vague, you could rename it Learning or Self-Development. Some choose to include a dimension of Spirituality, instead.
This is a really important category and relates to what gives you energy; what you enjoy doing.
How do I complete a Wheel of Life exercise?
1. Review the suggested dimensions and if needed, adapt them to your specific situation
Even though the standard Wheel of Life dimensions are quite comprehensive, you might want to change them. For example, you could split Family/Friends into 2 separate categories, or change the Romance dimension to Life Partner, or Career to Volunteering. It’s really up to you!
2. Draw the Wheel of Life frame or print it
Draw a wheel with as many spokes as you have dimensions, put your dimensions the end of the spokes, and divide each spoke into increments numbered 1–10. Alternatively, you can look for a printable version online. You could print the image above, if you’d like.
3. Score each dimension according to your level of satisfaction
Give each dimension a score from 1–10, where 1 is very dissatisfied and 10 is fully satisfied. After you’ve scored each dimension, draw a line linking the score of each spoke with the next.
Image from Mind Tools
4. Assess your completed Wheel of Life
At first glance, does your filled-out Wheel of Life look like a round wheel? If it does, congrats, you’re living a balanced life!
A more likely scenario is that your Wheel of Life looks like the one pictured above, with sharp edges and dents. Don’t worry, that’s completely normal.
Read on to find out how you can interpret your Wheel of Life and what actions you can take to work towards a more balanced life.
How to interpret your Wheel of Life and what actions to take
The filled-in Wheel of Life gives you a snapshot which life dimensions you’re really happy with and which need to be prioritized in order for you to feel more balanced. It increases your own awareness of how you feel about these areas in your life.
The Wheel of Life is a very practical exercise because it instantly allows you to take action. The things you can do after having completed the Wheel of Life assessment are:
Decide where to focus your time and energy
Write down the dimensions you scored the lowest (below average or below a certain score, like 5, for example). Then, under each dimension, think of some goals you’d like to set for yourself in relation to these dimensions, and break these down into steps/tasks. Now you have an action plan!
Schedule a time to fill in another Wheel of Life
You can fill in another Wheel of Life in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, or at whichever interval you feel is appropriate for you. As the Wheel of Life only provides you with a snapshot of your life balance at that particular moment, the results will most certainly change over time. Especially if you go through a major change, it might be a good idea to do the assessment again and compare the results to the previous time.
In fact, why not make it a habit to fill one in once in a while, to keep track of how balanced you feel, and to re-shift your focus?
Create a more specific Wheel of Life
The general Wheel of Life can be adapted to a specific goal that you might have set for yourself. Examples include:
- Promotion/Business Wheel: Identify 8 dimensions in which you would need/want to improve. Then, score them from 1–10 depending on how competent you would judge yourself to be in these areas. This will help you prioritize your focus areas and highlight your strong areas.
- Stress Wheel: Identify 8 things that cause you the most anxiety or stress at the moment. Rate how much they affect you negatively on a scale from 1–10. Focus on improving the score for the worst factors by creating an action plan.
Talk to a coach
The Wheel of Life assessment can help you prioritize different areas of your life and set goals for the future. However, there is so much more behind goal-setting and achieving a balanced life than creating a list of goals and actions that you need to complete.
- How will you ensure that your goals are in line with your values, personal life, and mind&body?
- Who will help you identify and overcome the inevitable obstacles encountered on the path towards these goals?
- Who will hold you accountable and keep you on track?
- And who will arm you with the mental arsenal required to keep growing sustainably?
A coach can provide support for all the above.
Completing a Wheel of Life is a great way to gain awareness of your current life satisfaction and balance. It’s also a good tool for orienting your goal-setting process.
Nevertheless, without a coach, there’s only so far you can get in your growth journey, and you won’t reach your full potential.
Therefore, if you’ve filled in a Wheel of Life and would like to discuss it with a qualified life coach, click here to book your free coaching session. We’d love to go through it with you!