Using the Wheel of Life for Goal Setting
If I were to ask you which parts of your life you’d like to improve, what would you say? Would you be able to reel off your goals with clarity and purpose? Or would you struggle to tell me exactly what you want and why? Well that’s where the Wheel of Life comes in!
Part of powerful goal setting is the ability to find a sense of order among the chaos. After all, you’re ambitious and driven, but all those ideas can become overwhelming. How on earth can you find the clarity you seek?
The Wheel of Life
One of the most effective coaching tools for goal setting is the Wheel of Life. Maybe you’ve seen it before, but it’s seemed confusing? Not worth the hassle? Let’s break it down.
Designed to prioritise the key areas in your life, the Wheel of Life enables you to reflect on where you are now and where you want to be. It raises your awareness , particularly if you’re unsure about the goals you want to achieve, but you just know things can’t stay the same. It’s also a handy, visual way to measure progress.
The Wheel of Life for Goal-Setting
Using the stages below will develop clarity, but also motivation towards potential success. Print out a blank copy of the Wheel of Life here and follow the steps below to help you set focused and measurable goals.
Step 1: Prioritise
Before you start to fill in the wheel, consider where you are now in relation to the important areas of your life. Use a notebook and write a list of everything you can think of. These question prompts could help:
- What are all the different priorities in your life right now?
- What are you spending all your time, energy or money in at the moment?
- Which areas of your life are important for you to gain some clarity in? Are there particular areas that feel muddled/chaotic/unfulfilled?
Typical areas that people focus on are in the diagram above, but some of these may not apply to you. Each segment must mean something to you. Why? Because they must motivate you. They must mean something to you.
Other ideas could be:
- Work/life balance
Step 2: Make Choices and Reflect
Once you have a list of possible areas to focus on, it’s time to pick the 8-10 that are most relevant. Eight is more commonly used as a more manageable number, but it’s entirely up to you.
Make a list of your 8-10 choices.
Take a look at each area on your list. On a scale of one to ten, where are you now ? Use a scale with zero as completely dissatisfied and ten as completely satisfied.
Don’t overthink it. Go with your gut. When you think of each priority in your life, a number should appear relatively quickly. Sometimes you might be between two numbers, e.g. with finances it might be a 6 or a 7. Which number feels the most accurate?
Remember! There are no right or wrong numbers. This is your journey, these are your priorities. It’s your personal growth. It’s just a reflection of how you feel at this point in time.
When you’ve decided a number for each area, write it down next to that word on your list.
Step 3: Create your Wheel of Life
Now you have clear priorities and a number to represent your current reflections. It’s now time to plot these on your Wheel of Life. Once filled in, it will show you an accurate, visual representation of the areas of your life as they currently are.
Each ring within the Wheel of Life represents a number from one to ten, with the first ring being number one and the outer ring (the outer edge of the circle) being number ten.
On the blank wheel you’ve printed, label each segment of your circle on the outside edge. Then colour in that segment to the corresponding ring.
You should end up with something that looks like this.
As you can see, the parts of your life that you feel most positive about are clearly evident, as are the areas that you might want to focus on as goals for improvement.
You might find relationships between them too. In the example here, could it be that a complex career is having an impact on their social life? Maybe this person is building a business, but are too busy trying to get it off the ground that it’s limiting their creativity?
It’s important that you keep this first, completed Wheel of Life and date it. It’s great to look back on it in six months or a year to see where you were when you started your journey.
Setting Goals with The Wheel of Life
Okay, so you’ve reflected and filled in your Wheel of Life. What now? How is this information going to help you set goals and move forwards?
You know where you are now, so you can prioritise where you could go next. It is likely that the lowest scoring parts of the wheel are the ones that cause you some levels of stress or leave you feeling unfulfilled.
Ultimately, however, it’s your choice which priorities or goals you want to focus on – you’re simply trying to get as close as you can to that ten out of ten.
For the next steps, you’ll need your completed wheel and your trusty notebook.
Step 4: Define your 10/10
It’s time to define your ten out of ten – this is where things get really interesting. You have two choices here.
- Just focus on the low-scoring areas of the wheel.
- Focus on each area, no matter the score.
Again, there’s no right or wrong way at this stage. It’s your Wheel of Life! Do what makes you feel comfortable. Personally, I like to define the 10/10 for each section as I like to consider what would make my wheel complete! But that’s just me…
Let’s say you’ve decided to focus on your health and fitness segment. Here are some key questions to ask:
- How will you know if your health is exactly as you would like it to be?
- What would be happening with your health and fitness?
- What would it look like?
- How would you feel?
- What will you be saying to yourself?
- What would a 10/10 day look like? (I love this one!)
In your notebook, just bullet point some answers to the questions – particularly the first one. Aim for at least three bullets if you can.
Don’t worry if things feel overwhelming – it’s perfectly normal. Take things at your own pace.
Step 5: Create Options
Now it’s time to consider one or two priorities to focus on over the coming weeks and months.
Look at the current score for your chosen area. What are three things you could do to move yourself one step closer to your 10/10?
For example, if you’ve put a score of 6 for health and fitness, what three things could you do to get to a 7?
Notice that you’re not attempting to go from 6 to 10 in one go. It’s likely you’ll lose motivation and give up. Focus on small steps of progress. Over time, you’ll hit that 10.
Let’s take the health and fitness idea and break it down further.
Say I’m a 6 on my health and fitness score because I know that I want to exercise more regularly and keep a consistent, healthy calorie intake each day.
My 10/10 would be to weigh a certain amount (e.g. 60kg) and/or to exercise for a certain number of days each week (e.g. 5).
If I currently weigh 66kg and exercise once a week, I need to consider the first small steps I could do to get from 6 on my wheel to a 7. These could be:
- Download an app that helps me to keep track of my calorie intake, e.g. My Fitness Pal
- Find an exercise class that I’d like to attend to increase my exercise to 2x per week.
- Look at possible meal delivery services such as Gousto or Hello Fresh.
- Work with a personal trainer to create an exercise/eating plan.
- Consider joining a weight loss programme, e.g. WW or Slimming World.
- Purchase a set of scales to keep a track of my weight loss.
At this point, these are just options. They’re possibilities. Nothing is set in stone. Nothing is definite. I’m just brainstorming anything that pops into my head. It makes everything more manageable and achievable.
Step 6: Take Action
You’ve got a list of possibilities now. Ideas that can propel you towards achieving your goals. But what to do first, I hear you cry?
Well, the best way to tackle this step is to think in the short term. What will you do in the next 24-48 hours that will have a positive impact in your chosen area? What small step could you take to get the ball rolling?
Staying with the health and fitness example, I might choose to research the best apps for calorie intake, reading reviews and deciding which one fits my needs. I could look for a local exercise class and message a friend to ask if they’ll come with me.
Whatever you choose to do in your focus area, make the actions small enough so that you actually do them. Anything too big and you may feel overwhelmed or daunted. Remember, you’re moving from a 6-7 or a 5-6. You’re not hitting 1o just yet!
Aim for simple and straightforward.
Step 7: Review and Reflect
A Wheel of Life makes an excellent review tool. If you’ve been working towards your goals over a period of time, it’s good to reflect on your progress every 3-6 months. Why not try once per quarter?
Focus on how far you’ve come. Celebrate the small wins and successes. Shout the big ones from the rooftops! Print a new wheel and redo it. What have you noticed? What’s changed and why? What might you do next?
If things haven’t improved as much as you like, be kind to yourself. What might be the reason? What could you try differently?
Remember that progress in any area of your life is a journey. It’s full of twists and turns. Sometimes we need to find a different route to get to our destination. Don’t be afraid to try different things until you find what works and takes you closer to your goals.
Hopefully you’ve been able to see how the Wheel of Life could benefit you and help with your goal-setting. Why not print one off and give it a go? I’d love to hear how you get on!