Nothing is quite as exciting as sighting a new possibility on the far horizon.
New ideas are bright and shiny and pull us forward into the future. It is good wisdom to pause and reflect and take some time to set goals and craft a plan for realizing those bright ideas. Let me offer up some planning advice from a coaching perspective.
New goals and plans need to be devised in a way that integrates them with all the dimensions that make up our lives. If we look at our lives through a lens of wholeness, we can start to plan in ways that support and enrich our overall aims and objectives, and that don’t simply add a burden to our already full to-do lists.
There is a handy planning tool we use in coaching called the “Wheel of Life.” Essentially, it a circle divided into eight wedges that categorize the important aspects of a well-rounded life.
The typical categories: career/business, money, health, personal growth/spirituality, fun and recreation, physical environment (home/office), significant other/romance, and friends and family.
The wheel categories can be customized and tweaked. For example, you may choose to replace fun and recreation with creativity, if that is more important to you, or you may have family and friends as separate categories if it makes more sense in your life.
You can draw the wheel for yourself or you can download a sample (along with some accompanying worksheets) here.
Once you have your blank circle, separate it into eight wedges, name the sections and mark the number one at the center axis, and the number 10 at the outer edge of the circle.
Then mark in each section the level of your satisfaction at this point in time on a scale from 1-10 in the corresponding category.
The markings will give you a visual representation of where you are in your life in regard to these important aspects. For example, you may be a 10 in career/business and a three in the fun category. That tells you something is out of whack and gives you an indication as to where you might want to focus in the upcoming year.
You may find you have high numbers in all categories, indicating a well-rounded and successful life. Great! In that case, there are two questions to ask yourself for 2019.
The first: Is it time for transformation? If you are a 10 in several areas, it may be time to level up.
If transformation doesn’t feel like what’s next, the second question is: What’s needed to sustain my satisfaction?
Goals typically fall into three categories. These are improvement goals, sustainment goals, and transformational goals. As you explore the wheel, think about where you are in each category. If your numbers are very low, it might be time to consider an improvement goal, especially if you have some elbow room or extra capacity. As you plan, consider the context for your life. In times of crisis or stress, taking on transformational goals or improvement goals could be overwhelming. Instead you can focus on sustaining what is already working. Always, practice self-compassion as you plan.
What’s important is to be realistic. If you are two or three in a specific category, it is unrealistic to expect to rush to a 10. Aim to improve incrementally. Can you go from a three to a 3.5?
Using the wheel of life or other planning tools can help you identify and reinforce the segments of a well-rounded life. You may discover you are interested in deepening your relationships with distant friends and family or exploring your creativity through a new hobby or pastime.
You can use these tools to craft meaningful goals based on achieving a sense of wholeness and a level of everyday happiness where all the parts of your life are working in harmony.