“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.” –Thomas Merton
Everyone has goals to lead a healthier and happier life. Some center their happiness on health and feel better when eating right and working out. Others seek happiness through mediation and spirituality and feel that they find their center this way. The element to leading a truly healthier and happier life is to have balance. What good is seeking your ideal weight if your marriage is falling apart? Balancing your life means taking a look at the pieces of the full circle of your life and measuring the areas that could use improvement, so you can make adjustments. Plan for Balance in 2016.
Life gets busy; it’s easy for all your energy to get focused on a special project, and the unbalance begins. While you need to have motivation and focus if you’re going to get things done, not paying enough attention to important areas of your life can lead to frustration and immense stress.
If we thought of life as one big circle and we labeled the sections in categories, you might have a list that includes: education, finances, travel, romance, health, spirituality, family, and more. If you were to rate your activity and satisfaction in each of these areas on a scale of 1 to 10, you may realize that there are many places in your life circle that are unbalanced. For instance, you may rate a 9 out of 10 in your education and health; however, when looking at your finances or family life, you may begin to see where the imbalance of life has got you feeling jumbled. If you think of yourself as 100% whole, and you devote 80% to work, that means you’re only left with 20% to divide in all the other areas of your life. The imbalance of this will create chaos, and eventually health problems. Enjoy the circle of life and strive to maintain a well-rounded existence.
Instructions for the “Wheel of Life”
The Wheel of Life is powerful because it gives you a vivid visual representation of the way your life is currently, compared with the way you’d ideally like it to be. It is called the “Wheel of Life” because each area of your life is mapped on a circle, like the spoke of a wheel. The concept was originally created by Paul J. Meyer, founder of Success Motivation® Institute, Inc. This wheel is commonly used by professional life coaches and can help you consider each area of your life in turn and assess what’s off balance. As such, it helps you identify areas that need more attention.
Brainstorm Life Areas
Start by brainstorming the six to eight dimensions of your life that are important to you.
Different approaches to this are:
The roles you play in life, for example: husband/wife, father/mother, manager, colleague, team member, sports player, community leader, or friend.
Areas of life that are important to you, for example: artistic expression, positive attitude, career, education, family, friends, financial freedom, physical challenge, pleasure, or public service.
Your own combination of these (or different) things, reflecting the things that are your priorities in life.
Write These Down on the Wheel
Write down these dimensions on the diagram, one on each spoke of the life wheel.
Assess Each Area
This approach assumes that you will be happy and fulfilled if you can find the right balance of attention for each of these dimensions. And different areas of your life will need different levels of attention at different times. So the next step is to assess the amount of attention you’re currently devoting to each area.
Consider each dimension in turn, and on a scale of 0 (low) – to 10 (high), write down the amount of attention you’re devoting to that area of your life. Mark each score on the appropriate spoke of your Life Wheel.
Join Up the Marks
Now join up the marks around the circle. Does your life wheel look and feel balanced?
Think About Your Ideal Level
Next it’s time to consider your ideal level in each area of your life. A balanced life does not mean getting 5 in each life area: some areas need more attention and focus than others at any time. And inevitably you will need to make choices and compromises, as your time and energy are not in unlimited supply! So the question is, what would the ideal level of attention be for you in each life area? Plot the “ideal” scores around your life wheel too.
Now you have a visual representation of your current life balance and your ideal life balance. What are the gaps? These are the areas of your life that need attention.
And remember that gaps can go both ways. There are almost certainly areas that are not getting as much attention as you’d like. However there may also be areas where you’re putting in more effort than you’d ideally like. These areas are sapping energy and enthusiasm that may better be directed elsewhere.
Once you have identified the areas that need attention, it’s time to plan the actions needed to work on regaining balance. Starting with the neglected areas, what things do you need to start doing to regain balance? In the areas that currently sap your energy and time, what can you stop doing or reprioritize or delegate to someone else? Make a commitment to these actions by writing them down.
Use this “Wheel of Life” worksheet from Mind Tools to get started. WheelofLifeWorksheet