The Life Wheel: “Picture” Your Health
By Erinn Selkis
To become healthier and live a fuller and more joyful life, it’s helpful to get a clear picture of where you are currently. Just like store maps in malls, we need a “You are here!” point before forging ahead. I encourage you to do this simple exercise to give yourself a broad overview of your health as you perceive it. Once you have a general picture, you can slowly make improvements in one area at a time. Achieving a greater state of health is meant to be fun and invigorating, not overwhelming. So be gentle with yourself! Acknowledge yourself for simply having the mindset to read this and being willing to see where you are.
Life Wheel Exercise
1. On a sheet of paper, draw a circle approximately 4-5 inches wide.
2. Separate the circle into 8 different sections like a pie—a healthy, all-natural one! Draw a horizontal line and a vertical line through the center of the circle. Then draw an X through the center point.
3. Label the sections with the following categories:
-Diet and Hydration
-Weight Management/Body Image
-Self Love and Care
-Fun and Recreation
-Meditation/Prayer/Quiet Reflection (whichever one applies best for you)
4. Give each category a number on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being “I don’t feel like this is a strength of mine” to 10 being “I am SO great at this!” For example, in the Unhealthy Habits category, 1 means you have a lot of unhealthy habits such as smoking, eating junk food, or not sleeping. Ten means you don’t feel you have any unhealthy habits.
5. Be honest with yourself! No one is judging you, and if you find that you are judging yourself, forgive yourself. The purpose of this exercise isn’t to beat yourself up, but rather to be truthful and take notice of what is.
6. For each category, draw a mark in the respective section representing the number you have chosen. For example, if you chose 5 for Stress Management, place a little mark directly in the middle of the section. If you chose 6 for Fun and Recreation, put a mark a little further out than the mark made for the 5 in the other category.
7. Now draw a line connecting the marks to create a representation of your current balance (or unbalance!). The ultimate goal is for you to feel that you’re balanced and at 9 or ten in all of the categories, resulting in a full, even circle of health. If this is not the case, don’t worry! The whole point is to see where you are in order to support improvements.
8. Pick a category you might like to improve, one that is calling to you in this moment. Think about or write down the reasons you gave yourself the number you did. If you gave yourself a 3 in Self Love and Care, maybe it’s because you talk negatively towards yourself often. Or maybe you chose a 2 for Physical Activity because you rarely get involved in anything active. Write down anything that comes to your mind.
9. Now pick one small thing, something that you know you can absolutely do in the coming week, to support yourself in improving your health in your chosen area. For example, if you find yourself rarely exercising, instead of making a goal to suddenly go running every day, make it a point to take the stairs at work or walk instead of driving. Make this action attainable and easy for you to do. I mean EASY!
10. Incorporate this easy goal into your life in the coming week and weeks thereafter. If you find yourself keeping your goal, acknowledge yourself! If not, that’s okay too. Maybe you want to take an even easier step the next week to ensure that you keep your commitment to yourself. The point isn’t to be hard on yourself and focus negatively on the thing you are doing wrong because there is no wrong! The point is to support yourself in achieving your goals and in becoming a healthier, more vibrant person.
Do this exercise weekly, biweekly or monthly, whatever feels right to you. Keep taking small, new steps toward a healthier you. Allow yourself to truly prize and congratulate yourself for even the smallest of changes. Notice how your circle of health keeps getting larger and larger!
Erinn Selkis has been studying nutrition, psychology and alternative medicine for over 3 years and loves helping others live healthy and happy lives. She is also a self taught raw/vegan chef who has started a raw, vegan, gluten free, organic dessert/snack company called 2Good2beRaw. Erinn loves creating delicious treats that are actually good for you! You can check out her blog.