If you’ve never heard of this before, The Wheel of Life is a very popular tool that is used to assess and improve balance and satisfaction in life. It involves considering different areas of life that are important to you and ranking each of them on a scale of 1 to 5 or 10. Once completed, you’re then able to see a visual representation of your life, what areas you are satisfied with and what areas you should put more focus on in order to feel more fulfilment and balance.
I tried this exercise for the first time last year and it really helped me to set the right goals and put more focus on areas that I wanted to improve which enabled me to live with more intention and improved my overall quality of life. Here is a quick step-by-step guide that will allow you to create your own Wheel of Life and hopefully design a lifestyle that brings more fulfilment and balance into your life:
First, start by identifying all life areas that are important to you. The number of areas will be different for everyone but I personally can come up with a whopping 10 of them: Home, Career/Work, Relationships, Finance, Personal Growth, Fun/Hobbies, Health/Fitness, Lifestyle, Personal Portfolio/Blog, and My Passion Project. If you’re doing this, keep in mind that you do not need to have that many, it’s fine if you only care about 3 areas of life, for example, too!
You can download the Wheel of Life template off the Internet somewhere or create your own by grabbing any piece of paper and drawing a simple circle and dividing it into as many parts as areas of life you came up with. Once the circle is ready, you can start rating each area of life from 1 (unsatisfied) to 5 or 10 (highly satisfied). Below you can see an example of what the one use looks like:
The strategy I use to rate/score each area of my life is to first consider all pluses and minuses and then decide what score it deserves. For example, see the example below:
- Work/Career: 3
Things I like:
- My job is typically quite interesting and varied.
- I have a lot of opportunities to grow.
- My job is pretty informal and it kind of feels like I am just spending time with my friends to achieve/build something bigger than us.
- I earn a decent wage.
Things I’m not that happy about:
- I’d like for my job to offer me much more flexibility.
- I’d like it to be fully remote so my presence was not needed there to get certain things done.
- I’d like to have more holidays so I could experience more in life.
- I’d like to feel less stress.
- I’d like to work on more meaningful and lasting projects that would leave a real impact on the world.
As you can see, I’m fairly satisfied with where I currently am in my career but there are certain important areas that I’d really like to see improved to feel fully fulfilled.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of how you’d rate each area of your life, it’s time to visualise it on your Wheel of Life and figure out which areas are out of balance. Here’s what mine looks like:
Ideally, all areas of life will create a perfect circle and will be rated as 4 or 5 (or between 8 and 10 if you’re using a 1 to 10 scale). This would mean that your life is balanced and fulfilling for you. However, this is rarely the case unless you lead a lifestyle that allows you to focus and perform on all areas of your life to the exact extent you want to.
As you can see, I rated most of my areas as 4. This is because even though I’m happy with how they are right now, there is a thing or two I’d still like to improve here and there before I can rate them as a solid 5. Some of them I rated as 3, which is not a bad rating but does show that I’m less satisfied with them when compared to the rest. For this reason, I’ll be focussing on these three specific areas and putting most of my effort to improve them this year.
If you’re creating your own Wheel of Life, you might decide that you’re pretty happy with where you’re right now and nothing needs to be improved, or maybe you’ll want to strongly improve all of them (which was the case for me last year), or you might want to focus on some key areas more whilst maintaining or slightly improving the rest (pretty much my case right now).
At this point, if you followed my strategy of rating each area of your life, then you’ll already know how each of them should ideally be like for you to be fully happy and fulfilled with your overall life.
However, if you did’t follow the same strategy as I did and simply rated/scored each area as you felt without much thought, then it’s time to go through all of them again and visualise/describe all the things you’d like to have/experience/feel that would make you rate all of your areas of life as a solid 5 (or 10).
For example, let’s say you rated your Relationships as 3. Describe what exactly you’d like to experience in this life area that would make you rate it as 5 (or 10). Would you like to have more meaningful relationships? Would you like to hang out with your friends a minimum of once per week? Would you like to expand your network of friends? etc.
Now that you know what each area of your life ideally would look like, formulise some key goals for each of them that you’d like to achieve in the near future (for example, within 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, etc).
For example, if you want to improve your Relationships area, your goals for the next year could look like this:
- Organise a fun outdoors activity with my closest friends at least once every 2 weeks.
- Reach out to old friends I rarely talk to at least once per month.
- Join and engage in a relevant forum/group, where I could discover some more like-minded people
- Host a dinner party for my closest friends once per month, etc.
You may create a long or short list of goals for each different area of your life, either is fine, but I do recommend being realistic and taking into account how much time you expect to actually have to progress with your goals outside of work and other life responsibilities.
If you have a long list of goals, you’ll end up having an even longer list of tasks to get done each week and day, too, and if you don’t have enough time to get them done, it’ll exhaust and demotivate you. As you may already know, it’s also super important to find enough time to unwind, relax, chill, do nothing or do something very random regularly, and if this has not already been considered, you might want to put this as one of the goals/habits/changes, too. 😃
The final step is to create a plan for how you’ll achieve all the goals that you set in step 4 and use some sort of tool to monitor and keep track of your progress. Consider using a goal or life planner, or maybe a monthly/weekly/daily planner or any simple journal to do this — whatever works best for you.
I’d recommend creating a list of tasks to do for each goal you have. Some goals may require only 1 or 2 tasks to get done to achieve, whereas some of them might be more complex and require several tasks that will need to be updated as you go and learn more information (e.g. you may not yet fully know how to achieve certain goals and more research is needed).
Once you have a long list of all the tasks for all the goals you set for each different area of your life, you can start planning how you will get them done in months to come.
The best way I found to do this is to select all the tasks you want to try to get done in month 1 (e.g. January) and create a joint list of all the tasks related to different goals and different areas of your life for that month.
Once you know what you will be focussing on in month 1, you then can start breaking down these monthly tasks into smaller, weekly tasks — your key priorities and things that would be nice to get done once your priorities are cleared. You might decide to plan one week at a time or all 4 weeks at once — it’s up to you. I personally plan one week at a time as things frequently change in my life and I’d likely need to keep updating and rewriting the remaining weeks if I did them all at once.
Finally, once you know your week’s priorities and tasks to get done, consider how much time and effort you expect you’ll need to complete them and space them out on your daily planner/schedule accordingly.
Repeat the same process for months 2, 3, 4, etc. until all your tasks have been completed and goals achieved.
Okay, so that’s pretty much for now. I hope I managed to explain the process properly and that you were able to follow along. It’s really a very good and helpful tool and it does make a difference if you follow through with it — highly recommended! 😊
Words by: Lina Mileskaite