Have you ever felt like you were at a crossroads in your life, and wondered, “Now what?”
I’ve felt that way several times in my life, but never more than when I turned 51. I had just finished my “Margie Project,” a series of great experiences I had planned out during the year after I turned 50.
At the end of a whirlwind 50th year, I was feeling let down.
More than once, I asked myself, “Well, I did all this cool stuff — so what do I do now?”
I decided to give this question the same amount of time and attention that I did when I came up with my “Margie Project.”
Finally, I came to an important conclusion: I wanted to work on myself and improve my life. For me, 50 wasn’t the beginning of the end. It was the beginning of my new, fierce, wonderful life.
During my reflection phase, I was reminded of a friend’s discussion with me 20 years or so ago, about a pie chart showing different parts of life and happiness. This seemed like a great tool.
I researched this concept, and sure enough found The Wheel of Life®, originally created by personal development pioneer Paul Meyer.
What is The Wheel of Life®?
The Wheel of Life® is a self-development tool. It is basically a pie chart of different areas of your life, showing how satisfied you are with those areas, and areas you want to work on.
While each person’s Wheel of Life® will vary somewhat, it typically would include 7 to 10 segments, and look similar to this:
My Wheel of Life®
When I created my Wheel of Life®, I included these categories:
- Personal Development/Spiritual
At the beginning of the month, I would rate how satisfied I was in each category, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest).
Once I had my scores, I decided to create a monthly goal corresponding to the area where I wanted to raise my satisfaction. I set only one monthly goal because I read somewhere that you can only handle one big goal at a time, which made sense.
I love a challenge, so I decided to start out by tackling a category where I rated a 3. That was Health/Fitness. I needed to lose a lot of weight, so I created a first month’s goal around weight loss and continued using that as my monthly goal for six months.
After six months, I had lost 35 pounds and felt better. My satisfaction was about a 6. I then created a new Health/Fitness goal: training for my first triathlon. That goal took three months.
Once I finished my triathlon, my satisfaction score in the Health/Fitness category was an 8.
I knew I would keep up my eating plan and fitness routine in order to maintain a score of 8, so I moved onto another goal, which was in the Work category.
Of course, nothing’s perfect. I had a bicycle injury a few weeks after the triathlon, which threw a wrench into my goals. But after about a month of physical therapy, I was back on track.
Small Improvement Goals
Do these goals seem overwhelming? Sometimes they are. If you’re like me, you like to collect wins! And even little wins help improve life. That’s why I include several small improvement goals during my monthly goal-setting. These are goals that don’t require a huge amount of time and effort but will still result in increases in happiness.
I wanted to increase my satisfaction in the Family category, and I came up with a small improvement goal. I love spending time with my Mom (she’s an Encourager and Uplifter), and we got together whenever we could. However, after my daughter asked me to schedule weekly hangout time with her, I realized I wanted to do the same thing with my Mom.
Initially, we planned weekly lunches. Eventually, we changed that to either a weekly lunch (just the two of us) or a Sunday dinner with our entire family. Either way, I spent quality time with Mom, every week.
That was a small improvement that reaped a big increase in satisfaction.
Ready to focus on your Wheel of Life®? This site, my email updates, and our Facebook group can help. They’re are all about helping you improve every area of your life. Get connected, here. And please share your tips and experiences, on how you’ve improved your life after 50!