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Create A Life Balance Wheel
The purpose behind creating a life wheel is to help us find more satisfaction in all areas of our lives and to become aware of those areas that need more development, and prioritise them. It is a tool that is applicable to adults and teens, and even older children can benefit from the concepts.
Creating a life balance wheel is a visual and practical way of taking stock of how you spend your time and energy and how well your needs are met.
Imagine the a circle or "wheel" that represents your whole life. Divide up the circle, like a pie, into eight different core areas of meaning, such as work; family; friends; home and so forth. Then give a satisfaction rating of 0-10 for each "slice". 0/10 represents zero satisfaction an 10/10 represents complete fulfilment in that life area. Once you have marked a spot on each slice, you can join up all the dots and see how "wheel-like" your wheel actually is!
According to Anderson (2016), "When one aspect of your life becomes the focus and the others are neglected, the wheel is out of balance. We know what happens to an out-of-balance wheel. It gets wobbly and is likely to crash. Our wheel, our life, needs to be balanced around the centre. The one thing that promises to deliver balance is to make wholeness the singular focus and goal (the centre). “Whole” is the origin of the word “health”, but it is more than the health of the body. It is about the health of the psyche, mind and spirit."
Here is an example of a blank wheel of life template, and a completed one:
Wheel of life exercise (Gazelle, Liebschutz & Riess, 2014)
And here is a blank template for you to use...
Wheel of Life (Alice Johnsen Life Coaching, 2016)
The kind of questions you might ask yourself as you decide where to place your dots could be:
- Health - What are my energy levels like? Do I get enough sleep every night? How happy am I with what I eat or how much I exercise?
- Family - Do I have family I can share important times with and rely on? How do I spend time with loved ones? How well do I connect with family members? How well am I parenting my children?
- Relationships - How satisfied am I with the quality of the relationships in my life?
- Social Life (Recreation) - Do I have time and space for fun in my life?
- Attitude - How happy am I with the way I approach my life and my tasks / responsibilities?
- Career - How satisfied am I with my current work-life? Am I in a career or job that fulfils my potential and that I enjoy or do I feel like I am contributing meaningfully to the world through my work?
- Finance - How comfortable am I with my current financial position?
- Personal Growth - Am I working actively on my personal development? How well do I know myself?
There are no right or wrong responses, and you may want to tweak the categories to suit you better and replace some categories with others such as "Physical Environment", "Spirituality" , "Fun / Recreation", "Emotional Wellbeing" or "Creativity".
It is possible to create your own specific template here
A template for a Wheel of Life for a teenager could be:
There is an excellent and comprehensive free resource for teens called The Teen Compass. A full Teen Wellness Assessment is completed with ten questions per life area and the results are plotted on a Wellness Compass (Wheel of Life).
How to Use Your Wheel of Life
Firstly, It is perfectly normal for your wheel to look like a crazy shape when you are done - it is unique to you.
Secondly, take note of how fulfilled you are in each area and acknowledge your strengths and areas you are happy about.
Thirdly, focus on the shape of your wheel. How can you create a more evenly shaped wheel?
Finally, use the information from the wheel to reflect and set some meaningful personal goals.
Here are some examples of goals:
- Relationships: Spend time with family members once a week
- Health: Drink eight cups of water a day and start taking a multi-vitamin
- Finances: Save R xxx per month
- Personal Development: Listen to an inspiring podcast every day when I am driving
Remember, for goals to be useful, they need to be SMART goals - characteristics of SMART goals and how to create your own:
- S - Specific
For example: I will walk for 30 minutes three days this week vs. I need to start getting some exercise.
- M - Measurable and observable
For example: Thirty minutes each time.
- A - Achievable
For example: I will do this for two weeks and then evaluate. vs. I will do this for a year.
- R - Relevant
For example: Exercise is something I really care about and I feel strongly will make a difference in my life.
- T - Time Sensitive
For example: I will start this on Friday
SMART Goals (Stoner & Stoner, 2018)
The Life Balance Wheel is not a tool that we complete once and live by for the rest of our lives - it changes as our priorities and goals change and it is useful to complete it every few months or so to chart your progress and see what new areas have come up for exploration.
Alice Johnsen Life Coaching (2016). Wheel of Life [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.alicejohnsen.co.uk/wheel-of-life/
Anderson, W. (2016). How the ‘Wheel of Life’ Can Help You Find Balance. Retrieved 21 February 2020, from https://medium.com/thrive-global/how-does-one-become-centered-and-balanced-bb28627a4461
Gazelle, G., Liebschutz, J., & Riess, H. (2014). Wheel of life exercise [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269819934_Physician_Burnout_Coaching_a_Way_Out
Stoner, H., & Stoner, D. (2018). The Teen Compass Wellness Notebook. theteencompass.org.