From Goals to Growth With The Wheel Of Life #1

by | Jan 19, 2024 | Personal Development

Goals used to be a right old pain in the proverbial until I found a way to make them work for me. Dare I confess that I would do the whole set the goal and eat ice cream instead of taking action. I think you call it burying your head in the sand.

Such a clever way to behave not.

But like many people searching for what they want, there has to be more than setting a goal and taking action; there needs to be a motivator, a why. I confess my big whys in life are my mum and my dogs, but truthfully, what motivates me is how I feel when I have achieved something – my way. What also motivates me is the growth that I get by going after my goals.

Growth is so important, yet often, in pursuing goals, we forget all the other stuff that makes them so important.

So, if you don’t change, you stand still. Would you really want to be where you are now in one year or even five years? I know that I want something different. I don’t believe that everything you are or can be is a finite thing or a final destination. Every day, with everything I do, I learn more about myself. Everything I do teaches me more about myself. If you love books, with everything you read, you will grow and change as you find something new with each reading.

The point is not to ask why would you want to go through a transformation. Ask why wouldn’t you?

You need to transform to discover the alchemist within – that is, you, who has always been you. It’s just that sometimes you lose that vital connection to yourself.

Sometimes, the hardest thing is figuring out why we do things and want to leap out of our cosy nests and try something new. That leaping is like a deep dive into who we are. It’s not just picking stuff off a list; it’s about figuring out what lights your fire. Think of it as getting up close and personal with your dreams, values, and beliefs.

Think of yourself as a detective, not just skimming the surface but digging deep. You’re looking for clues, uncovering the mysteries of your own desires and dreams.

It’s like sitting down for a heart-to-heart with yourself, figuring out the nuts and bolts of what gets you going and what you’re passionate about. Even if it’s what you are passionate about this year.

Tapping into your core motivations is like plotting your own adventure map and exploring a path deeply rooted in what matters most to you.

It’s taking the essence of who you are and turning it into a roadmap for your life. That’s what brings colour and meaning to the journey ahead. It’s personal, it’s unique, and it’s all about embracing the adventures that resonate with your soul.

The Wheel of life and the fallout from that goals is just a start, and in this article, I’ll explore the first of five things that I have learned and want to share with you.

The Wheel of Life, which you probably know and either love or hate, is a popular coaching tool that offers a way into goal setting. It encourages not just goal setting but a holistic understanding and a way to achieve balance.

I sat with a big sheet of paper and looked at some of the ways that the Wheel of Life and goal setting were more than just setting goals and getting on with it. I explored what I got beyond setting a goal and doing it. This may help you to see more value in moving forward with the Wheel of Life.

Why Goals Fail

Let’s start with a few thoughts about why goals might fail. There are many reasons why goal setting and staying on track don’t work. Understanding your personal preferences, strengths, and learning and working style is important for setting goals so that they align with your unique approach to productivity.

Failing to consider these aspects can lead to setting goals that don’t resonate with how you operate best, leading to decreased motivation and potential failure. Recognising your preferred work environment, learning style, time of day for peak productivity, and other factors that impact your ability to accomplish tasks can improve your chances of successfully achieving your goals.

This is only one of many reasons that we will explore in another article. But firstly, understand how you like to get things done. This has been a hard lesson for me.

Goals, goals, goals. Setting goals is fundamental to growth and success; however, we define success. It’s only a part of a larger journey towards self-fulfilment and happiness.

Attaining your goals requires a certain level of courage and determination. It’s a journey that requires you to push through obstacles, overcome challenges, and stay motivated even when things get tough. Plus, a whole lot more, as you will know.

1. Self-Awareness: The Foundation of Growth

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.


Self-awareness is a continuous journey, not a destination. It’s about constantly exploring and understanding yourself at deeper levels. Each step taken towards self-awareness enriches your personal growth and enhances your relationships with yourself and others and your ability to achieve your goals.

Any of you on a big personal leadership and growth journey knows that knowing your inner self and your unconscious mindset is important. If you haven’t taken time to get to know who you are, what motivates you, and what makes you unique, you need to take time to get to know and accept yourself as you are. This includes your strengths, weaknesses, emotions, behaviours, and core values. When you do this, you have self-awareness.

Self-awareness is learned over time. As you grow, learn, and experience all aspects of life, you become more self-aware. Keeping a journal to track behaviours helps me examine the issues that stop me from getting what I want.

The Wheel of Life prompts us to be introspective and assess different areas of our lives, facilitating a deeper understanding of ourselves. This self-awareness is the first step in creating meaningful goals that resonate with our desires.

Becoming aware of my comfort zone’s boundaries has been like turning on a switch. It’s helped me see where to push myself more, leading to decisions that expand my horizons and drive my growth.


Embrace Reflective Practices

Engaging in reflective practices is a powerful way to cultivate self-awareness. This can include journaling, meditation, or mindfulness exercises. Regularly setting aside time for reflection allows you to gain insights into your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. For instance, journaling, one of my faves, allows you to track your reactions and patterns over time, offering a clearer picture of your inner self. Meditation and mindfulness help in observing your thoughts and emotions without judgment, fostering a deeper understanding of your mental and emotional landscape.

Never tried journaling? Here’s a beginner’s course.

Seek Feedback and Embrace Vulnerability

Often, our self-perception can be limited or skewed. Seeking feedback from trusted friends, family, coaches, or mentors can provide a different perspective on your behaviours and attitudes. This requires vulnerability and openness to criticism, but it can be incredibly enlightening. Remember, feedback is not just about pointing out areas of improvement; it’s also about recognising your strengths and the unique qualities that make you who you are.

Challenge Your Comfort Zone

Self-awareness grows significantly when you step out of your comfort zone. By taking on new challenges and experiences, you learn about your capabilities and limits and uncover hidden aspects of your personality. This could mean trying new activities, assuming roles you usually avoid, or even engaging in difficult conversations. Each new experience is an opportunity to learn more about yourself – what motivates you, scares you, and drives you towards growth. I’ll be doing more on comfort zones soon.

My comfort zone was challenged last night when I realised how much decluttering and reordering I would have to do to make a space for my yoga mat. Excuses abounded, but I now have a plan.

2. Reducing Stress: Finding Balance

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.


Stress is often a byproduct of imbalances in our lives, and most people experience both stress and anxiety at some point in their lives. The impact you feel will depend on the level you experience and your choices to alleviate them. You can decide what to do when you have a greater sense of awareness. It takes courage to ask for help, but it is one of the things I highly recommend.

Another confession: I went through a tough time and ended up at the doctor struggling to breathe. I had anxiety, and I felt exposed and ashamed that I couldn’t cope. But I took immediate action, created a plan and did all I could to find some semblance of inner peace. What helped the most was leaving the environment I was in. That was hard.

So, in general terms, stress is a response to a trigger – an external cause, such as missing a deadline, getting to an appointment late, arguing with a friend, not finishing everything on your to-do list and other similar things.

Anxiety goes much deeper than stress and is more internalised. It may not have an obvious cause or trigger. Anxiety is typically characterised by a persistent feeling of apprehension or dread. Unlike stress, anxiety persists and niggles. While many people feel anxious occasionally, it’s when the anxious feelings don’t go away, seem to happen without any particular reason or make it hard to cope with daily life. It may be a sign of an anxiety condition. This is a big and complex area. I know people who will not deal with their anxiety, preferring instead to find others to fix the symptoms.

The Wheel of Life helps identify these imbalances, whether in our work, relationships, health, or other areas, hopefully before they lead to anxiety. By striving for a more balanced life wheel, we can alleviate stress, leading to a more harmonious and peaceful existence.


Prioritise Self-Awareness and Self-Care

Self-awareness is crucial in identifying the sources of your stress and understanding how it affects your life. It’s important to regularly check in with yourself and acknowledge your feelings. Practice self-care activities that resonate with you, such as meditation, exercise, journaling, or engaging in hobbies. These activities provide relief and enhance your ability to cope with stressors. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it’s essential for maintaining a balanced life.

Create a Balanced Lifestyle with the Wheel of Life Tool:

The Wheel of Life is a powerful tool for gaining insight into the balance of different areas in your life, such as work, relationships, health, and personal growth. Use it to assess these areas regularly. If you find certain aspects are lacking, set specific, achievable goals to improve them. For example, if your health score is low, you might incorporate a 30-minute walk into your daily routine or improve your diet. The goal is to strive for a more balanced life, reducing the likelihood of stress and anxiety.

Learn to Set Boundaries and Seek Support When Needed

 It’s important to recognise your limits and set boundaries accordingly. This might mean learning to say no to additional responsibilities when you’re already stretched thin or stepping away from environments that contribute to your stress. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, whether it’s from friends, family, or professionals like therapists. Seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s also beneficial to cultivate a supportive network of people who understand and encourage your journey towards a balanced life.

Managing stress is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. Be patient with yourself and acknowledge your progress along the way. And breathe…

3. Motivation: The Drive to Progress

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.

Steve Jobs

Motivation is fueled by having clear, achievable goals and understanding the reasons behind them. Motivation in the courage zone (more on this when we explore comfort zones) is like the fuel that keeps your engine running, especially when navigating through uncharted territories. It’s about finding those unique sparks that light up your path and keep you moving forward, even when the road gets tough.

This part of your journey isn’t just about setting goals; it’s about deeply connecting with the reasons driving you towards them.

It involves a mix of internal and external motivators, from personal aspirations to the inspiration you draw from others. Keeping your motivation high means constantly reminding yourself of the ‘why’ behind your actions. It’s about maintaining that excitement and curiosity that first nudged you out of your comfort zone.

I love researching and solving puzzles and the deep sense of satisfaction that comes from that. When my spine fractured and the specialist offered drugs or die as my option, I chucked the prescription in the bin and started on a quest to heal myself. Due to other imbalances, I foolishly thought it would take six months; it took 18, but my bones were almost normal on my last DEXA scan.

What motivates me now is making sure that they stay that way. I cannot go through that again. Health is my wealth, and staying healthy pushes me forward.

Maintaining motivation can be a challenge. But it’s a challenge that comes with its own set of tools and strategies. You can build your own motivational toolkit. This toolkit is your go-to resource whenever you feel your motivation waning.

The Wheel of Life helps us align with goals and connect them to our deeper values and aspirations. This alignment boosts our motivation, as we’re not just chasing arbitrary objectives but fulfilling something more meaningful.


Visualise Your Success and Reflect on Your Journey

Visualisation is a powerful tool. Have you tried the perfect day exercise? Or start with the end in mind? Regularly visualise the end goal and appreciate the steps you’ve taken so far. This reinforces your belief in the possibility of success and keeps you anchored to your progress. Reflect on your journey. I use overcoming the spine injury as a reminder of my strength and determination. The journey itself is as important as the destination.

Set Small, Achievable Milestones

While having a goal is important, it’s equally important to break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. Chunking works. These milestones should be challenging yet achievable because why set them if you don’t achieve them? And what we want is growth. Celebrate each small victory as it comes. This helps in building momentum and keeps you motivated.

Create a Supportive Environment

Surround yourself with people and resources that inspire and support you. I have a great accountability group and other support groups. Sharing your progress, challenges, and insights with others can provide motivation and offer new perspectives and solutions. I’ll soon launch my Learning To Fly community to provide others with a safe, sacred space and community.

Motivation ebbs and flows, and that’s perfectly normal. The key is to recognise when it’s waning and proactively use your toolkit to reignite it.

4. Strengths: Leveraging Your Best

Play to your strengths. If you aren’t great at something, do more of what you’re great at.

Jason Lemkin

Inner strengths are personal attributes or qualities that are inherent in an individual. These core characteristics makeup who you are and influence how you interact with the world. They include traits like resilience, empathy, creativity, and intuition. I’ll own these.

You draw on these resources during times of adversity, crisis, or challenge. It can be described as tenacity, resilience, or grit, but inner strength is what helps you through difficult situations, keeps you focused on your goals, and provides you with the fortitude to overcome obstacles or fight through difficult circumstances.

We rely on our inner strength daily for many different things, but it will help us overcome the occasional (we hope) but real challenges we all will face. Your inner strength may come from and manifest itself very differently than others, so how you cultivate and use your inner strength is personal.

Take a moment to reflect on adversity and the inner strength that you called on. What do these look and feel like? Can you name them?

The Clifton StrengthsFinder, developed by Gallup, is a tool used to identify a person’s top strengths from a list of 34 themes. These themes are grouped into four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. I love this tool. These are my top five:

  • Strategic
  • Maximizer
  • Relator
  • Ideation
  • Connectedness

The Wheel of Life encourages us to reflect on our strengths in various life areas and to use these strengths to overcome challenges and achieve our goals. The key to using these tools effectively is not just knowing your strengths but applying them in a way that aligns with your values, goals, and the context of your life.


Strategic Integration of Strengths

I consider my top strengths – strategic, maximiser, relator, ideation, and connectedness- to be powerful tools. What are yours, and how do you feel about them? The key is to integrate them strategically into your daily life and goals. For instance, I could use ‘Strategic’ strength to plan and anticipate future challenges and ‘Ideation’ to creatively overcome obstacles. ‘Maximizer’ can be applied to optimise efforts and outcomes, while ‘Relator’ and ‘Connectedness’ can help build and nurture supportive relationships. Always align your strengths with your personal and professional objectives for maximum impact.

Reflective Practice and Adaptation

Reflect on your experiences, especially during times of adversity. Identify which strengths you relied on most and how effectively they served you. Reflection helps in understanding how well you’re utilising your strengths and where you need to adapt. Remember, the context often dictates which strength to use and how. Be flexible and willing to strengthen or moderate certain qualities depending on the situation.

Continuous Growth and Learning

Inner strengths need to be developed continuously. Perhaps look for opportunities for growth that align with your strengths. For example, if ‘Ideation’ is a key strength, engage in activities that challenge your creativity. Attend workshops, join brainstorming sessions, or collaborate on innovative projects. The goal is to not only understand and use your strengths but also to enhance and expand them. Embrace lifelong learning as a pathway to further develop your inherent qualities.

Knowing your strengths is just the beginning. The real magic happens when you actively apply and cultivate them in your daily life and during times of challenge. This approach ensures that your journey is about overcoming obstacles, personal evolution, and fulfilment.

5. Values: Guiding Principles

Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.

Mahatma Gandhi

Values are important to getting what you want and balance because they serve as guiding principles that help you make decisions and take actions that align with your most important beliefs and goals. When you are clear on your values, it is easier to stay focused and motivated as you work towards manifesting your goals because you can make choices that are consistent with your values. This can help increase your sense of purpose and fulfilment, as you can take meaningful actions that align with your most important beliefs.

Values can also help create a sense of balance and harmony in your life, which can be important because it allows you to approach your goals with peace and inner alignment. When you align with your values, you are more likely to be in a state of flow, which can help facilitate the process. Values can help provide a sense of direction and purpose, which can be important because they help you focus your energy and attention on what is most important to you.

Setting goals based on your values leads to more holistic success. You’re not just achieving targets; you’re nurturing and growing aspects of your life that are genuinely important to you. Pursuing goals that align with your values allows you to live more authentically. You’re being true to yourself, not living according to someone else’s idea of success. This authenticity breeds confidence and a sense of purpose.

When goals are not in line with your values, it can lead to cognitive dissonance – a state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes. This can cause stress, unhappiness, and even a sense of failure, even if you achieve your goals.

So, like the Wheel Of Life, our values are our compass in life. They guide our decisions and behaviours. The Wheel of Life helps us clarify our values in each area, ensuring that our goals and actions align with what truly matters to us. When I help clients set goals, we also consider which values align with each goal. We consider if it is a core value or something else.


Identify and Prioritise Your Core Values

Start by taking the time to deeply reflect on what is most important to you. Core values are the guiding principles that dictate your behaviours and decisions. If you haven’t done it and are unclear, write down a list of values that resonate with you, such as integrity, family, health, or creativity. Then, prioritise them, understanding that these values will serve as your compass. This clarity helps in making decisions that are not only effective but also resonate with your inner beliefs.

Align Your Goals with Your Values

Once you clearly understand your core values, align your goals with them. This means setting goals that bring success in a conventional sense and contribute to your personal growth and fulfilment. For example, if ‘health’ is a core value, set goals related to physical fitness or mental well-being. If ‘freedom’ is another, make sure you can choose how you get healthy. This alignment ensures that your path to success is based on what is important.

Regular Self-Reflection and Adaptation

Values and life circumstances can evolve. Regularly reflect on your values and goals to ensure they still align. This might mean adjusting your goals as you grow or redefining your values as you gain new life experiences. This practice of self-reflection ensures that you remain true to yourself and maintain inner harmony. It’s also important to recognise when certain goals no longer serve your values and have the courage to change course.

Living a life aligned with your values is not just about achieving goals; it’s about living a life that is meaningful and fulfilling to you. Your values are your personal guide to making life choices that bring you joy, satisfaction, and a sense of purpose.

These five are first because each has popped up for me or a client in the last few weeks. Plus, writing about these brings them acutely back into focus and provides clarity for moving forward.

Let your journal be a mirror reflecting your true self, unfiltered and raw, capturing the essence of your journey through life.

Dale Darley