July 28, 2023

Wheel of Life

What is the Wheel of Life?
About 4 times a year,  I review my life,  though I have let it slip recently and have not done it since the New Year.  I also look at my life if I am feeling a bit out of sorts, which I have been recently, as I can feel that my life is a bit out of balance.  It helps me identify in which area. I think reflection is key to improving your life and being happy.  It is so easy when you are busy, to stop putting your energy into some aspects of your life, but you don’t always notice or realise. I use a coaching tool called the ‘Wheel of Life’ to help me reflect.  I have attached a photo at the top of the post.   This tool helps you look at different areas of your life and rate them as to how satisfied you are with them. The areas of your life don’t have to be the ones named in the picture, as you can adapt them to your situation and what is important to you.   I am  retired and so would not be interested in having ‘career’ on mine or ‘romance’, but I have things like ‘personal growth’ or ‘sense of purpose’ .    In the past I have had sustainability and spirituality, whilst other people might have religion. You can also have as many different sections as you want.  I know some one who gives themselves 32, but I tend to divide my life into 8 or 10 areas.
How do you use the Wheel of Life?
You can easily find templates and download them on line eg at www.thecoachingtoolscompany.com. (I am hoping that my daughter will teach me how to make some in the next month so that I can put some on here for free), but I tend to draw mine on a bit of paper.  I understand that there are Wheel of Life apps, but I am not really into technology.  I put a zer0 in the middle of  the circle, and number it from 1 to 10.  I then  give each area of my life a satisfaction rating between 0 to 10, and grade how happy I am with that particular area.  The idea is, that if you have a balanced life. the areas of your life will be nearly the same score so that if you join all your satisfaction scores together they will form a circle or wheel.   This doesn’t always happen, though, and so don’t worry if your scores are all very different.  You now have a visual picture of how your life is, rather than how you would like it to be.   You can see which areas you are doing well in, and which areas need improvement.
Once I have my scores I usually chose to work on the two areas that are the lowest score, and plan actions to improve them. After my break down in 2008, I didn’t know what I wanted in life or where to start to change my life. Most of my scores were between two and three. Last year they were all above 8, but a few have dropped this year. When I look at the two areas that I want to improve I try to think about what I am not happy with, and the changes that I would like to make.  I imagine how I would like my life to be. I then make an action plan to make those improvements.  I also always try to think of one action that will improve my score by one in each other area.
My example of my Wheel of Life this time
I keep all my past wheels of life so that I can compare them.  That way I can appreciate how much I have grown and improved, or it will give me a kick up the behind to make changes as I see myself slipping.  Comparing my Wheel of Life to my Last one (which had a score of all 8s or above) shows that I need to put some serious effort in to get my life back on track and balanced.  If I rode on that wheel it would be very bumpy.
As you can see my Wheel of Life is not balanced and some of my scores have dropped significantly.  I was aware of the friends and socialising section as I have not been as tolerant this year and my values have changed, and probably the health section if I let myself admit it, but not aware of the drop in the home and the fun and leisure.  They came as a surprise.   I can identify in some areas why the scores have dropped, eg my mental health has been worse due to grieving, and my fitness has reduced due to the rainy weather, but in other areas I will have to have a good think about it.  I guess the home one is because I know that there are jobs to be done that are delayed with the weather, and I know I need to move soon as my house has lots of steps and both our legs are not as young as they used to be.
Now I have identified the areas, I will then write myself an action plan to improve these areas, and get them closer to how I want them to be.   To do this I often brain storm on a piece of paper everything that I can think of that will help, and then pick a few actions to take.  When I write my action plan it is important that I make my intentions SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound).  Therefore, instead of saying things like I will join a club this year to meet more people, I will be more specific and put a date by which I will do it by, and say, for example, that I will contact Meetup and a local walking group during August.  This means that I can see by the end of August if I have achieved my goal or intention, and yet it gives me a realistic time to do it in.  If I set myself an intention to lose a stone next week or make 6 friends in August, it wouldn’t be realistic.
Why not give it a go, and see how balanced your life is, and which areas need to work on to get them loser to the life that you would like to have.

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  1. Sue Orange July 28, 2023 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Brilliant advice and tool to use
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Jennie O July 28, 2023 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this invaluable demonstration of the Wheel of Life, I could of guaranteed up until last year both Mr J and my scores would of been very low, since he’s dropped a couple of says (he works shifts and much longer hours than I do) and I’ve dropped one day, life is getting better, not perfect, but better!

    • ToniG July 29, 2023 at 5:50 am - Reply

      Life would be boring if it was perfect and we would have nothing to strive for. I am glad that life is improving for you both and that you are managing to have less time working x

  3. Tracey July 28, 2023 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this Toni, I’m going to draw my own later today. Really helpful.

  4. Katie Naden July 28, 2023 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this I’m going to start with brainstorm to identify my areas .

  5. Lesley July 29, 2023 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Thank you Toni. This is a very useful tool.

  6. CurlyTop July 30, 2023 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Hi Toni, I wasn’t familiar with the Wheel of Life, but seeing how you’ve explained it so easily, it certainly is something I need to do for myself because since I’m still on long term sick, have recently just been refused I’ll health retirement even though the business says I am unfit for any role at the mo, so I’m now looking at appealing. Hubby thinks they don’t want to pay an enhanced pension 7 years early. Maybe, but nevertheless, I don’t feel I can get myself in gear at present because this stuff is causing me stress, mindless nibbling, lack of sleep etc, so definitely a candidate for your Wheel.

    Thanks so much for posting about this. It’s really interesting. Thank you for all you do in sharing how we need to stop and smell the roses. X

    • ToniG July 31, 2023 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      I was refused ill health retirement as well (after my breakdown) and they just tried to push me out by saying I was unfit for any management roles and roles working in my field. This tool and others helped me get back into gear to fight. I didn’t get the enhanced pension but they found me another role, and could not reduce my pay as they could not prove that I could not do my job as their own occupational health agreed that I was well enough to do it. I used Mind website a lot to get information on the law and told them that I had a solicitor. I bluffed them into finding me another role. I also collected a lot of evidence of ways that they had not supported me as they had a duty of care. Good luck. x

      • CurlyTop July 31, 2023 at 8:57 pm - Reply

        I recall that you’ve referenced the reason for leaving work and it would appear it wasn’t easy for you either. My Line Manger is really supportive, has known me a long time and whilst he would bite my hand off to have me back, he knows I physically can’t do it any more. I already have reasonable adjustments in place and there is nothing more the business can do BUT, the last OHS, after writing to my GP feels that I may be able to come back, sometime in the future. I’ve had my condition 17 years. I’d love to know when I’ll be able to go back because that would mean I’m in a far better place health wise than I am now. My GP can’t believe the decision made and is helping me with another report to assist appeal. I’m putting together my bits and bobs to form the appeal. Not wishing to sound negative but I don’t think this is going to be an easy next step but onward and upward I go. Thanks for your reply x

  7. Jo Coyle August 10, 2023 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Never seen this or thought to do it, but I can see the value! You are so thoughtful, aware and intentional about your life! I would like to be more this way. I’m going to give this a try! Thanks for posting.

    • ToniG August 10, 2023 at 8:51 am - Reply

      No worries. It does really help me keep in touch and was was a good kick up the backside when I did it initially in 2009. I hadn’t realised how dissatisfied I was with my life in certain areas x

  8. S Tobin April 14, 2024 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Thank you Toni, going to look up some of the apps and online versions to get a deeper understanding. I haven’t come across mapping this way

    • ToniG April 16, 2024 at 6:38 am - Reply

      No worries. It is just a really quick way to do a quick appraisal of your life and find the areas that you are not happy with

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