wheel of life

Shared Visions: Using the Wheel of Life Planning System to Strengthen Family Bonds and Goals

The closing of one year and preparation for the clean slate of a new year represent an opportunity to give your goals and purpose some serious thought.

It’s a good time to re-evaluate what you’re doing – and why you’re doing it.

For business owners, it’s essential that we consider both our personal life and our business life (or what I like to call just “life”) in order to achieve sustained success and personal fulfillment.

I’m a big fan of using the Wheel of Life Planning System at the start of every new year. (Click here to download a PDF version of the guide: Wheel of Life Planning System.)

It’s good for you and your business.

And, it’s far more effective than those New Year’s resolutions we tend to set and then forget!

Better yet? It’s something you can do with your whole family.

Here’s how.

What’s a Wheel of Life?

The Wheel of Life is simply a strategic tool that divides your life into different categories, providing a comprehensive way to review your overall well-being.

It’s a visual representation that includes categories like family, health, career, finance, personal development, and more.

You can customize your wheel to include the categories that are most important to each individual. For example, your kids might replace “career” with “school.”

Each category is then assigned to a segment on the wheel, and you can rate your satisfaction in each area.

The end product is a clear picture of where you are as you approach the end of the year and is a great jumping off point for thinking about how you might want to refocus your efforts in the new year.

I like the Wheel of Life because it gives you a quick, comprehensive snapshot of your present overall well-being.

And it’s easy to interpret because it’s so visual – you’ll know pretty quickly where you need to spend some time and attention.

Why include the whole family?

If a new year represents a clean slate for you and your business, it also means the same thing for your whole family.

Including them in your Wheel of Life exercise not only makes the practice more applicable to your whole life, but it also sets the tone for your family by showing them that your goals as a family are just as important to you as your business goals.

I do the Wheel of Life exercise every year, and I get my family to do it too, including my kids.

Including your family in the Wheel of Life exercise emphasizes the importance of collective goals alongside individual aspirations. It’s a powerful way to strengthen family bonds and instill healthy habits from a young age.

Is there a little resistance sometimes? Sure.

But once they do it, they realize that there is value in taking the time to re-evaluate and articulate what they prioritize.

It can also have a long-term positive impact. My teenagers appreciate the value of the exercise even more now that they are older. What started as more of a game for them when they were younger, has now become a valuable practice they choose to continue.

At the very least, and sometimes a good way to introduce the idea, share your wheel of life with your family. Just like you do as a leader at work, it is important to get the support and buy-in of your family if you want to achieve your goals.

Otherwise, if you’re the only one committed to it, you can’t expect your family to understand or support your choices.

How to use the Wheel of Life

Here’s how to get your whole family involved in a Wheel of Life exercise:

Make the time

Whether you have regular family meetings, include the discussion in a family vacation, or call a special family summit to complete your wheels, it’s important to plan – and protect – the time for everyone to focus on the activity.

I went through this exercise for the first time with my family while renting a lake house in Florida – on a cold and rainy day, we worked on our wheels.

Customize your wheel

While the Wheel of Life includes standard categories that range from school and recreation to friendships and health, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Make sure each individual’s wheel clearly reflects their priorities.

If you want to really get into it, you can even do a wheel for the family as a collective and evaluate how you are doing now and what you want to focus on as a family/couple in the coming year.

Score your categories

Each person in your family should rate their level of satisfaction with each segment of their wheel, using a scale of 1 to 10.

Identify gaps and areas of focus

Discuss as a family the lower-scoring areas and the higher ones.

What lessons can be learned from the areas of high satisfaction, and how can these be applied to improve the lower-scoring segments?

Or are the lower scoring segments even the areas you want to focus in the coming year? Maybe you want to pivot to a different area of focus.

Use this information to set personal and family goals.

Recognizing these gaps is a candid acknowledgement of where your focus needs adjustment, allowing you to address the areas that truly matter.

Develop an action plan

Once you’ve chosen focus areas and set some goals, it’s time to develop a road map.

How will you reach those goals?

This can make for some interesting and often surprising family discussion.

As a family and as individuals, what changes are you willing to embrace?

This is about choosing progress over perfection.

Do the thing!

Don’t just make an action plan and then forget about it.

Brainstorm together on how each member, and the family as a whole, can achieve these goals.

Act on it.

Check in with each other on a regular basis to find out how everyone’s making progress on their goals.

The magic is in the movement. Establishing daily habits is how change becomes permanent.

The Wheel of Life is a powerful diagnostic tool that reveals not just where you are, but also where you have the potential to go.

And the Wheel of Life Planning System is not just a set of exercises; it’s a catalyst for transformation.

By aligning your business dynamics with personal values, you’re not just setting goals – you’re setting the stage for a year of unprecedented growth and fulfillment.

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