The Balanced Wheel of Life
Today you will learn how to use the wheel of life to picture how balanced your life is today, and to identify key areas of improvement.
“You are the captain of your own ship. You must take the wheel of life and go forth in the direction you need to, rather than letting the seas take you where it feels like.”
What is the wheel of life?
The wheel of life is a multi-purpose personal development tool which you can use to analyse how balanced your life is at any given time.
It can also be used to identify which areas of your life need improvement and can spark great ideas for setting goals.
The wheel of life is also a great way to identify shortcomings you never even realised existed which are holding you back.
What makes our wheel of life different?
Most organisations and life coaches use eight or more key areas for their wheel of life.
For us, we feel that this can be overwhelming, especially as some of the components they use are too laser-focused and can be difficult to assess accurately.
At the Balanced Life Academy, we have six distinct areas of human life we feel are key for creating happiness and excellence in one’s life.
They are as follows:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Work Life
- Material wealth
This component encompasses how fit and healthy you are.
- Do you eat well and exercise regularly?
- What are your energy levels like?
- Do you sleep well?
- Are you strong and flexible?
Your mental health refers to your psychological and emotional well-being.
- Do you love yourself and accept who you are?
- Are you confident and do you have a healthy self-esteem?
- Do you love being alive?
- How strong is your will power?
- Do you deal with negative experiences in a positive way?
This is about your thoughts and feelings towards all of your relationships. We also include friendships and familial relationships in this category.
- Do you regularly practise the trinity of trust, honesty and respect in your relationships?
- Do you support each other and want to become better people?
- Are you treating your loved ones with the respect they deserve?
- Is your relationship healthy? Are your partner(s) loving you in a way that makes you want to become your best self?
Your work and career life is another core component of the balanced wheel of life. We factor in your development of career skills, further education and business life here.
- Does your job give you a good enough reason to wake up in the morning?
- Does the company you work for live by its mission statement?
- How happy are you with your current working lifestyle?
- Is your business providing a genuine service of value to those around you?
Money is a core element of the balanced wheel of life. You need it in order to eat well, travel and buy the things you need and want. Your beliefs about money and how well you manage it, determines how balanced this component is for you.
- Do you have enough disposable income to reward yourself for your hard work?
- Are you financially healthy? Do you worry needlessly about whether you’ll have enough to see you through the month?
- How good are you at managing your household expenses and budget? Could this be improved?
- Do you believe money is the root of all evil and is limited, or do you believe in abundance, and that there is enough for everyone?
- How diversified are your assets? Do you just have a home and savings accounts, or do you also invest to give yourself a fitter financial future?
Your environment is an all-encompassing element of your life.
It refers to the state of your home and the influence people have on you.
The type of media you consume, its nature and influence also play a huge role in how balanced and healthy your environment is.
Finally, your humanitarian and philanthropic efforts are also used to identify how balanced the environment component of your life is.
As you can see, the environment component is by far the biggest and most important area of the balanced wheel of life.
Here are a couple of things to think about when giving yourself a score for the environment component of your life:
- What is the nature of your friendship group? Are they positive/negative? Do you look forward to spending time with them?
- What types of media do you consume in your leisure time? Are the websites you spend most of your time on positive or negative in nature? What kind of impact is consuming this type of content having on your beliefs and values about the world and yourself?
- How clean is your work/home space? Is it cluttered with paper, boxes and old items you haven’t touched in the last few months? Or is your home a safe haven for you to think, act and be productive?
- Do you genuinely care about the state of the earth and all its inhabitants? People, animals and plants? Are your efforts positively contributing to making the world a safer, loving place?
A balanced life doesn’t mean equality 24/7
Contrary to somewhat popular belief, achieving balance in your life is not about ensuring each component of your life receives the same attention as all the others.
As you already know, life doesn’t work that way.
It throws us curveballs and obstacles in every direction to throw us off our game.
There are times in your life where being balanced just doesn’t make sense.
Imagine you’ve just finished shopping online for groceries.
You’ve checked out, and everything’s fine.
A few moments later you receive an email stating that one of the products in your basket is not available and is out of stock.
It’s wild salmon.
The most important food item you need for this weekend’s family get together.
Now instead of going to bed early tonight so you can wake up energized, do your morning workout programme, take the kids to school and go to work.
You’ll have to drive several miles out of town to the nearest fishmongers, buy your fish (hopefully it’s boneless), and drive several miles back home.
You spend 3 resources you never expected or wanted to:
How do you replenish these resources so that you’re balanced and refreshed for the following morning?
You could have a hot chocolate or malt drink to help you sleep easier.
However, look at the time.
You’ve used it up.
You wake up lethargic, uninspired, and devoid of food and exercise.
Not to mention you nearly turned up late to work that morning.
Your physical and mental health just took a minor hit from this ordeal.
Life isn’t always about being balanced.
As you know, sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, in order to ensure things run smoothly for the long term.
For us, being balanced is more about using ruthless prioritisation in order to achieve your goals and objectives for the day.
It’s a life skill in itself that will help you become more accustomed to unexpected change and outcomes.
How to use the wheel of life
Firstly, give yourself an honest rating from 1-10 on how well you think you’re doing on each component of a balanced life.
Mark the wheel and connect each mark to form a solid shape.
It is critical that you are as honest as possible when performing this exercise.
The shape you draw instantly identifies how balanced your life is, and which areas require most improvement or immediate attention.
You may feel disappointed with the result you get.
This is normal as it shows you’ve got a lot of room to grow and cultivate positive change in your life.
Now for the fun part.
In another colour, mark a realistic goal of where you would like to be in 12 months from now for each component. Connect the dots and form another solid shape to complete the exercise.
Assessing how balanced your life is
Tally up your results for the first wheel of life and write down the total.
Do the same with the second one, and note the difference.
Mark yourself out of 60 and assign yourself a grade from the following brackets.
A = 51-60
B = 41-50
C = 31-40
D = 21-30
E = 11-20
F = 0-10
Balanced wheel of life examples
Below is a complete example of my balanced wheel of life.
The orange indicates where I’m at now, whilst the green signifies where I’d like to be in 12 months.
Now = 39/60 (C)
12 Months = 51/60 (A)
I gave my partner a shot at using the balanced wheel of life to pinpoint areas of her life which needed improvement and these are her results.
Now = 31/60 (C)
12 Months = 42/60 (B)
She was quite surprised with the results given how difficult this year has been for her.
Here she explains in more detail why she scored herself as she did, and how she intends to improve for the year ahead.
This tool marks the start of effective goal setting.
The key to setting great goals doesn’t just lie in what we want to achieve in our lives short-term, but most importantly, what we need to achieve in our lives in order to feel content, stress-free and happy.
It’s about prioritising the things which have the biggest effect on us today, so that we are strong enough to achieve our long-term goals.
What does your balanced wheel of life look like?
Download our balanced wheel of life worksheet and share your findings with us in the forums!
What are you content with and which aspects of your life do you wish to improve on over the next year?
Let us know your thoughts here.