When we are very busy or devoting all our energy to a project, it is very easy to lose balance and not pay enough attention to other significant areas of our lives. Obviously, staying focused and motivated helps us achieve our goals and achieve excellence, but if we take that level of concentration and effort too far, we can end up experiencing intense stress as a result of an imbalance.
When we dedicate a lot of time and effort to some areas of our life, such as work, we end up neglecting other equally important spheres, such as rest, leisure or even the relationship with our partner. If that happens, it is likely that we will end up leading an unbalanced life that, sooner or later, will take its toll on us. The Wheel of Life can help us detect these imbalances in order to put a stop to them before it is too late.
What is the Wheel of Life?
The original concept of the Wheel of Life was created by Paul J. Meyer, one of the pioneers in the world of coaching, around the 1960s. Its main objective was to help people set new goals and action plans in the fundamental categories of their life.
In fact, the Wheel of Life is a psychological technique used in coaching processes to assess each vital area and identify those that are unbalanced, so that the person can pay more attention to them. It generally has 8 categories or areas that are considered essential to lead a balanced life.
What is the Wheel of Life for?
The Wheel of Life is a powerful and useful tool because it provides a very explanatory visual representation of how our life is currently and allows us to compare it with the way we would like it to be. The Wheel of Life technique brings up those discrepancies and gaps.
This psychological technique helps us to be more aware of ourselves and the habits that we have put into practice over time. In fact, it helps us see our life from a broader perspective and understand how its different facets are interconnected and influence our well-being. Therefore, it is a self-knowledge tool that also motivates us to make the necessary changes to achieve a fuller, more balanced and satisfying life.
How to do the Wheel of Life?
The first step is to create your own Wheel of Life. The basic categories that are most used are:
1. Health, which includes both physical and mental health and general well-being
2. Relationships, both as a couple and with family, friends or co-workers
3. Social, covers all group activities, such as religious, spiritual or any other type
4. Economic, refers to the ability to earn money and manage it effectively
5. Labor, includes professional career, business and employment in general
6. Personal growth, indicates the level of satisfaction with life and self-realization achieved
These are the main categories of the Wheel of Life, but you can also include other areas that are important to you, such as attitude, spirituality, creativity, leisure or sports. It is important that you make sure that you include not only the areas in which you feel comfortable and take up a large part of your day, but also those that can help you balance your life and achieve greater well-being, even if they have been neglected.
Once you have identified the main categories of your Wheel of Life, you can visualize them as different slices of a pie. The full circle represents your life as a whole and each piece represents a different area of focus.
You will have to rate your level of satisfaction in each area, using a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest score. In each segment, ask yourself: how satisfied am I with this area of my life? The best thing is that you do not think too much about them, follow your instinct and respond quickly. Write that number on the Wheel of Life template. When you’re done, connect the dots and you’ll immediately see the areas you’re neglecting and the ones you’re paying excessive attention to.
The next step: implement all the necessary changes
Now that you have an overview of reality, the time has come to take action on the matter. Where are your biggest gaps? What imbalances worry you the most? Are there areas of your life that are getting more attention than they deserve? What are you currently doing little that you would like to do more of? What are you currently doing too much that you would like to do less of? What would you like to start doing? What would you like to stop doing? What is working well? What brings you satisfaction? What makes you feel bad?
Next, set new goals for each area and plan the changes you can put into practice to achieve greater balance and satisfaction in your life. Obviously, those changes will involve making decisions and establishing certain commitments since your time, energy and resources are not unlimited. So, set out two or three feasible actions that will help you get closer to where you’d like to be, and start by taking small steps.
The most interesting thing about this technique is that you can use the Wheel of Life from time to time to evaluate your progress or identify the aspects that you must correct. In fact, it can become a kind of vital compass that prevents you from getting too unbalanced in one direction.
Of course, there will be times in life when we need to devote more attention, time, and effort to some areas. It is normal. However, we must prevent these areas from swallowing up other important facets of our lives.
To conclude, it is important to be aware that we tend to spend more time in areas in which we feel most competent or that require our attention “urgently”, neglecting other spheres in which we may not feel as comfortable or that we can relegate to the background. We must make sure to correct these imbalances from time to time to lead a fuller life in 360 degrees.
Byrne, U. (2016) Wheel of Life: Effective steps for stress management. Business Information Review; 22(2): 10.1177.