Many years ago, I learned the importance of a good wheel and tire. A few weeks before we left on a ski trip to Vermont, my wife informed me that she thought her car needed new tires. Unfortunately, I did not take her warning seriously and that would prove to be costly. On the second day of our ski trip, we left our condo and drove across your typical snowy New England backcountry roads to the cross-country ski trails, but the only skiing we did that day was in our car. As we headed down a hill, our car began to slide, and once our car came to a stop beside the road in a field, I realized that I should have paid more attention to my wife’s wise words. Fortunately, everyone was fine, but we spent the rest of the day waiting for a tow truck to take us to an auto repair shop to get new tires instead of skiing. Ever since that day I have made sure to replace tires when they need it, as soon as they need it (and to be a better listener to my wife)!
Using the Wheel of Life to Measure Satisfaction
One of the first things we do with clients as part of our goal-setting process is to ask them to check their Wheel of Life. The Wheel of Life asks you to pinpoint your level of satisfaction in nine areas of life: family, health, leisure, learning, inner growth, home, community, work, and finances. After you “score” your level of satisfaction in each area, you get to channel your inner five-year-old and connect the dots. The outcome is a graphic representation of your own life balance, or quality of life, based on criteria that is unique to you. The decision-making process associated with selecting a specific number to represent your level of satisfaction on each “life spoke” helps you focus your thinking on what is really important to you and clarify your values and priorities.
After observing your “wheel”, you can ask yourself these three questions:
- What does this exercise tell you about your life?
- In what areas of life do you feel you are on the right course?
- In what areas of life would you like to change course?
Finding Satisfaction in the Wheel of Life
Sometimes in the goal-setting process, it is easy to just focus on the areas that need improvement. However, it is equally important to acknowledge the areas that are going well. We want to make sure those actions or activities continue to be incorporated into your financial plan moving forward. As we observe the “flat spots” on the wheel, we can identify key areas of concern, and we can begin to discuss solutions to improve satisfaction levels in those areas. Obviously, our goal would be to have a perfectly round wheel with no flat spots, but we recognize that may not be possible, and that is ok. In fact, your wheel of life may look very different from meeting to meeting depending on the circumstances of your life. There is a reason our tagline is “Walking With You On Your Journey.”
As we get closer to the end of the year, you may hear more and more about New Year’s resolutions and setting goals. In the “hustle and bustle” of this time of year, it can be easy to put off any goal setting you want to do until the new year when things “settle down.” The beauty of the Wheel of Life is that it can be completed in just a few minutes. Research has shown that our subconscious continues to work on things even when we are not actively working on the project. I experience this myself when writing these posts. I may start an article, only to come to it a few weeks later with more clarity because my subconscious has been working on it in the background. My point is, why not take three to five minutes now to complete the Wheel of Life, and then let your subconscious marinate on it while you are searching for the next Amazon Prime deal? Do not make the mistake I did by not listening to my wife! Take a few minutes as we conclude another year to check your wheel and make sure there are no flat spots.