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

The Life Wheel is the first task in 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 it will be an essential tool in your growth journey.

What is the Life Wheel?

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

Life Wheel

There are different 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 represents how you’re doing in life now.

This web-like diagram provides a useful visual snapshot of your current status in life. After all, it’s hard to know how you’re doing in your life when you’re focused on the 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 — 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, savings, and assets.
  3. Health — How you’re doing with your health. This includes your diet (whether you’re eating healthily), fitness (whether you’re having enough movement), sleep (whether you’re having enough rest), and overall physical health.
  4. Social — How you’re doing socially. This refers to your social connections.
  5. Family — Your relationship with your family members, including parents, siblings, and children (if you have any).
  6. Love — If you’re attached, this represents how happy you are with your relationship and partner. If you’re single, it represents how happy you are by yourself. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you’ll get a 0/10; similarly, just because you’re with someone doesn’t mean you’ll get a 10/10. A single can give him/herself a high rating, just as someone who is attached can give him/herself a low rating.
  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, including your community and the world. Social causes (like environmental 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 full 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 live your best life. It is through these 10 areas that we develop our Mind, Body, Heart, and Soul, the four core components that make up a human self.

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 Work, 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-order 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 a 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 is creating and giving, 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 hobby and their work is their passion. While this may be valid, Recreation allows us to explore other interests which in turn gives us new ideas and inspiration for our work (and life). It’s important to take a break, even from things that we love.

The same goes for people who deny needing Friends, Family, Love, Contribution, or even 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 are important to our existence.

For Contribution, no man is an island and we are all connected by living in this world. There are many things out there that need our help — fellow humans, animals, and the environment. Whether we realize it or not, many of our actions as a person and society affect the world at large. How can we make the world a better place for ourselves and the future generation?

For Self, it is something that many people neglect today. Do you love and 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 and healthy self-image, it gives you the foundation to excel in life.

Ultimately, all segments of the life wheel are important as they are all 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 when you disregard a life area, you disregard a part of yourself and hence your life. (Read more in Are You Putting Any Parts of Your Life On Hold?)

Today, your task is to assess your life with the life wheel. :)

Task: Assess Your Life with the Life Wheel

Part 1: Assess your life (20 min)

  1. Rate each area of your life on a scale of 0-10 (where 0 is the lowest, and 10 is the ideal state). Use the questions below as a guide.
    1. Career — How are you doing in your career (or studies)? Are you happy with your current progress and results? Are you growing to be your highest self through this medium?
    2. Finance — How are you doing in your finances? In terms of your income, savings, and physical assets?
    3. Health — How is your health? Do you have a healthy diet? Do you get regular movement and activity? Do you get enough rest and sleep?
    4. Social — How is your social life? Do you have positive, like-minded friends? Friends you can talk to and confide in? How are your relationships with them?
    5. Family — How are your relationships with your family members? This includes your parents, your siblings, and your children if you have any. Do you spend enough time and quality time with them? (You can have individual scores for each family member if it is a distinct relationship.)
    6. Love — If you are married or attached, how happy are you in the relationship? How happy are you with your partner? If you are single, how happy are you by yourself?
    7. Recreation — Are you having fun in your life? Do you have time to pursue your hobbies and interests?
    8. Contribution — How are you contributing to your community, the world, or other meaningful social causes?
    9. Fulfillment — How fulfilled are you with your life? Do you feel like you are living a deeply meaningful life each day?
    10. Self — Your relationship with yourself. Do you love and respect yourself? Are you happy with yourself?
  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
    • Mark out the scores for each area on the diagram. Then, connect them! You should have a continuous line that links each marking to the next and returns to the original point.

Different Life Wheel Shapes

There are four 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 in life right now. Perhaps you have been putting many of your goals on hold, or compromising on your goals. This could be due to your life circumstances or limiting beliefs. Reflect on this. Why are you having a constricted web?

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 factors, self-imposed factors, or both? How can you address them?

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

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 living 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 — yet 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. Five 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.

Part 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 did this assessment a month or two ago, you’d likely have gotten 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 them off? Why?
  3. Are you happy with your wheel? What if you have to stick with this wheel forever? How would you feel? 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’ve 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, which comes with a comprehensive guidebook and workbook to take your life to the next level.