How Are You Faring In Your Life Now? The Life Wheel

The life wheel is Day 1’s task of Live a Better Life in 30 Days, my 30-day course to live a better life.

Today I’d like to talk about the life wheel. It’s one of the tools I use in my coaching and will be an essential tool in your growth journey.

What is the Life Wheel?

The Life Wheel is a tool that gives you a snapshot of how you’re doing in your life now. It is essentially a circle divided into segments, usually eight, that represent the key areas of your life. Here’s a sample diagram:

Life Wheel

There are many variations of the life wheel, with common segments being career, family, love, friends, finance, and health. The remaining segments are more varied. They can be recreation, spiritual, or others.

Each segment comes with a scale of 0-10 where you rate how well you are doing in the area right now. 0 is the lowest score and 10 is the highest score. After you rate yourself in each area, you mark out your scores on the wheel and connect the dots. You will then get a web-like diagram that gives you a visual representation of how you’re doing in life now.

The most useful part of the life wheel is the visual representation of how you’re doing in life. After all, it’s hard to know how you’re doing in your life when you’re focused on day-to-day tasks. You may subconsciously know that you’re putting an area of your life on hold, but this neglect may not be obvious. Subsequently, you have no real call to action.

The life wheel lets you spot gaps in your life right away so that you can intervene and work on the low scoring areas before it’s too late.

When I first used the life wheel with my clients, I used an 8-segment wheel like the above. After a while though, I realized that there are important areas that are left out in an 8-segment wheel. I then created a 10-segment wheel as you can see on the next page. These 10 segments are listed in no priority order as they are all important to live your best life:

  1. Career / Studies — The name of this area depends on what’s applicable to you right now. Use ‘Career’ if you’re employed or running a business and ‘Studies’ if you’re studying. This is considered a crucial area as work and studies usually make up a big portion of our waking lives.
  2. Finance — How you’re doing in your finances. This includes your income, wealth, and assets.
  3. Health — How you’re doing in your physical health. This includes your diet (whether you’re eating healthy), your sleep (whether you’re having enough rest), and fitness (whether you’re having enough movement in your life).
  4. Social — How you’re doing socially. This refers to your social connections.
  5. Family — Your relationship with your family members, including your parents, siblings, and children (if you have any).
  6. Love — If you’re in a relationship, this represents how happy you are with your partner. If you’re single, it represents the amount of love you feel in your life. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get a 0/10; similarly, just because you are with someone doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get a 10/10. A single can rate him/herself high here just as someone in a relationship can rate him/herself low here.
  7. Recreation — Whether you’re having fun in your life. Whether you have time to pursue your personal hobbies.
  8. Contribution — Your contribution to others. How much you’re supporting your community and the world. Social causes (like environment causes, animal rights, and humanitarian causes) fall under here.
  9. Fulfillment — How fulfilled you are with your life. Whether you feel like you’re living a fulfilling and meaningful life.
  10. Self — Your relationship with yourself. Whether you love yourself. Whether you’re happy with yourself.

No matter who you are, these 10 areas are essential to living your best life. It is through these 10 areas that we develop our Mind, Body, Heart and Soul.

Some people may feel that only certain areas of the life wheel apply to them. For example, they may feel that they are practical people and Fulfillment isn’t important to them, while only Career, Finance, Family, Love, and Health are important.

However, Fulfillment relates to our soul and it’s an essential part of living a full life. While most people start off working on tangible things like Career and Finance, at some point Fulfillment becomes important as they look for higher-level things in life, like whether they’re living a meaningful existence. What’s the meaning of life? What’s my life purpose? This is when they start to look for deeper meaning behind their existence. (We will look at your life purpose on Day 16.)

Some people disregard money (i.e. Finance), saying that money is not important. This is a misconception. Money is a symbol for value in today’s world. While not a perfect measure of the value one gives, money is the currency that people use today in the exchange of goods and services. When you reject money, you reject receiving value for your work. In the long run, rejecting money makes it difficult for you to achieve your long-term goals because you lack the monetary resources to do so.

There are people who disregard Recreation, saying that they don’t need to pursue any hobbies and their work is their passion. While that may be valid, Recreation allows us to explore other hobbies and interests which in turn gives us new ideas and inspiration for our work (and life). It’s important to take a break from anything, even work (we love).

The same goes for people who deny needing Friends, Family, Love, Contribution, or even a passion-filled Career. We work for many hours of our waking life, so it’s important to have a job that we love. We are social creatures, and having meaningful relationships and connecting with like minds is important to our existence. For Contribution, no man is an island, and we are all part of a larger world. Just as we receive from the community we’re in by living in it, we should think about how we can give back and contribute to the larger world.

For Self, it is something that many people neglect today. Do you love yourself? Do you respect yourself? What kind of thoughts do you have about yourself — positive, neutral, or negative? You are the one person who will be with you in your entire life. If you don’t have a healthy self-esteem, then how do you expect others to respect or appreciate you? If you have a poor self-image, everything else will suffer. On the other hand, when you have a strong, healthy self-image, it provides you with the foundation to excel in life.

Ultimately, all segments of the life wheel are important as they are parts of your life. Disregarding any one area may help you gain headway in other areas initially but you’ll eventually stall in your growth. Because by disregarding a life area, you disregard a part of yourself and hence your life. I discussed this in detail in my post Are You Putting Any Parts of Your Life On Hold? so if you haven’t read it, do check it out.

Exercise: Assess Your Life with the Life Wheel

It’s exercise time! :D Let’s now assess how you’re doing in life. Get your pen and paper ready.

Step 1: Assess your life (20 min)

  1. Rate how you are doing in each segment on a scale of 0-10 (0 = lowest, 10 = ideal state). Use the questions below as a guide.

    1. Career / Studies — How are you doing in your career/studies? Are you growing to your highest self through your career/studies? If you are running a business or planning to start one, how are you doing in your business goals?

    2. Finance — How are you doing financially? How is your income and assets? Do you have money to pursue your goals?

    3. Health — How is your physical health? Do you have a healthy diet? Do you get enough rest and sleep? Do you get regular movement and activity?

    4. Social — How is your social life? Do you have positive, like-minded friends? Friends you can talk to, confide in, and seek help from? How is your relationship with them?

    5. Family — How is your relationship with your family? This includes your parents, siblings, and children (if you have any). Do you spend enough time and quality time together? (You can have individual scores for each family member if it is a distinct relationship.)

    6. Love — If you are in a relationship, how happy are you with it? How is your relationship with your partner? If you are single, are you living your life vibrantly as a single?

    7. Recreation — Are you having fun in your life? Do you have time to pursue your hobbies and interests?

    8. Contribution — Are you giving back to others? How are you contributing to your community, the world, or meaningful social causes?
    9. Fulfillment — How fulfilled are you with your life? Do you feel like you are living a deeply meaningful life? Do you look forward to each day with zest, and end your day feeling complete?

    10. Self — Your relationship with yourself. Do you love yourself? Are you happy with yourself? Do you have a positive self-esteem?

  2. Write down why you gave that score. Feel free to write as much or as little as you want.

  3. Draw your life wheel. Draw a circle and divide it into 10 equal segments, like so:

    Life Wheel

    1. Mark out the scores for each segment on the diagram.
    2. Then, connect them! You should have a continuous line that links each segment to each other and returns to the original point.

Different Life Wheel Shapes

There are 4 possible shapes you can get. Generally, the bigger the web, the better you’re doing, though there are exceptions as I share below.

#1: Constricted web with low scores on most fronts

Life Wheel Shape #1: Constricted Web

This means you’re facing a lot of limitations right now. Perhaps you have been putting many goals on hold. Perhaps you’ve been compromising on your goals due to your life circumstances or your own limiting beliefs. Reflect on this. Is this true?

Yet without fixing this, you’ll keep shirking in your life until you are backed into a corner with nowhere to go.

If you have a constricted web, examine it closely. What restrictions are you facing? Are they external, self-imposed, or both? How can you addressthem?

#2: Lopsided web that’s high in some areas but low in some

Life Wheel Shape #2: Lopsided Web

That’s great — this means you are doing very well in some areas! However, you’ve neglected other parts of your life in the process. As I mentioned, all 10 areas are essential to live your best life. Neglecting any of them will only limit your life experience in the long run.

First, mark out the 2-3 areas you’re severely underperforming in. Understand why that’s the case. What can you do to bring them back up? Next, identify how you are going to improve on them as you continue to do well in the high scoring areas. We don’t want to neglect the high scoring areas just to bring the low scoring areas up – that will just be switching from one problem to the next! The long-term, sustainable solution is to form a plan where you can maximize all the areas together.

#3: Broad web with generally high scores

Life Wheel Shape #3: Broad Web

This means you’re doing very well! This is fantastic work and a testament to all the hard work you’ve been putting into your goals. Congratulations!!

At the same time, there’s always room to improve. Be careful of what I call the complacency and self-contentment trap. With the complacency trap, people rate themselves highly and feel that there’s nothing left to improve because they are doing so well — when growth is a never-ending journey and we can always do better. With the self-contentment trap, people focus too much on feeling happy despite glaring issues in their life, to the point where they make do and develop a complex set of beliefs to convince themselves that they are “happy” when deep down, they are not.

Remember that no matter what we are doing, there is always room to improve. A thriving business can always grow further. A relationship that is great can always be better. It’s fantastic that you are having such high scores in your life now. Moving forward, how can you take things to the next level? What is the next milestone you want to achieve in life?

#4: Complete circle with full scores

Life Wheel Shape #4: Full Circle

Last but not least, the full circle — your ideal life. Here, full 10/10 scores are more like ideals to work toward vs. a permanent end state that you reach and declare yourself “done.”

Meaning, just because you rate yourself 10/10 now doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have this score forever. For example, maybe you give your relationship with your partner a 10/10 today — doesn’t mean it’ll be 10/10 forever. You still need to put in the work to build your relationship and grow in love with your partner. Also, perhaps your 10/10 now is to enjoy your relationship with your partner. 5 years down the road, perhaps you want to start a family together.

In that sense, 10/10 is an evolving vision. As you grow and achieve your goals, your definition of 10/10 will naturally expand too.

Step 2: Reflection… (20 min)

Now that you have drawn your life wheel, it’s time to do some reflection.

  1. What is the shape of your wheel? Why? Refer to the four shapes above and pick the closest one. Whatever your life wheel looks like, it’s not a coincidence. If you had done this assessment a month or two ago, you’d have ended up with a similar shape. The bigger question is, why? Read my analysis for your wheel shape above and apply that to your situation. What are the three biggest reasons your wheel looks like this?
  2. Which are your lowest scoring areas? Why do you think this is the case? All 10 segments are equally important to live your best life. Some people may think that they can ignore 3-4 segments and get a 0-1 score in those segments but it doesn’t work that way. Whenever there’s a part of your life that is put on hold, a part of you is blocked too. Which segments have the lowest scores? Have you been putting off? Why?
  3. Are you happy with your wheel? What if you have to stick with this wheel forever? How would you feel? Is this what you want? Would you be happy? Be honest with yourself.

Part 3: Action (20 min)

  1. Moving forward, what are your biggest priorities to achieve your ideal 10/10 wheel?
  2. What are the biggest action steps you can take to achieve your goals?

Other Exercises For You To Try Out

If you found the life wheel exercise useful, be sure to check out:

The life wheel is the first task of Live a Better Life in 30 Days, my 30-day course to live a better life. For the full 30-day course, check out the 30DLBL course page.