The Simple But Powerful Exercise For Finding Balance: The Circle Of Life

finding balance

This is a sample lesson from my Game Changer program.

This is a fun little exercise that seems simple, but it’s a hugely helpful tool for looking at how everything in your life is connected and identifying opportunities for decreasing stress and supporting your energy and sanity.

Every time I do this Circle of Life exercise, I go into it thinking that it’s not going to be helpful because I already know what my circle will look like. And every time, there’s something about my circle that surprises me. Our brains like to make generalizations about our life, and this (gently) forces you to look at each aspect of your life individually.

Here's why the Circle of Life exercise is so powerful:

All aspects of your life influence your energy and health either positively or negatively.

When something doesn't feel right in your life, there's an imbalance of energy somewhere. Something is draining too much energy so that you don't have enough energy to show up in the way that you want to in another aspect of your life. 

If you don't take a step back to think about your life as a whole, you risk feeling really frustrated with yourself when you don't understand why achieving your goals (or doing what you think you “should” be doing) seems so hard. 

Here are a couple examples:

If you're focusing on your career, you may be sacrificing sleep and under a lot of stress. You may be working long hours and not have enough energy at the end of the day to put together nourishing meals or to prioritize your relationships. You may not feel like you have any time for fun or hobbies, because if you're not at work you're totally exhausted. Notice how that job is influencing sleep, health, relationships, meals, fun, finances - everything! 

If you're focused on eating better, you may not realize that the reason you've been turning to food for comfort is because you're experiencing challenges in your relationship. Your mind may be racing at night, so you're having trouble sleeping which causes your blood sugar and hunger cues to be out of whack leading to overeating and the number on the scale climbing. 

In Life Boost land, there is no judgment. This tool helps you to practice curiosity by taking a step back to look at the full picture so you can have clarity on what you need in all aspects of life. It will highlight the areas that are adding the most pressure or draining the most energy.

Since life is always changing, I recommend revisiting this exercise every 3 months.

Circle of Life Exercise:

The Circle of Life has 12 wedges for 12 different aspects of your life (click here for the PDF). Some categories have multiple options - you can think of it as one big category or choose which word is most meaningful to you

1. For each category, place a dot to represent your level of satisfaction in that category. For example, if you are completely dissatisfied with the role career has in your life right now, the dot would be placed near the center of the circle. If you are completely satisfied with your friendships, place the dot on the outside of the circle.

2. Draw a line to connect all the dots. In an ideal world, all of your dots would be on the perimeter and you would be fulfilled in all aspects of your life. In reality, the circle is always changing as you encounter pressure in different aspects of your life. Don't be discouraged if your circle isn't full – that's just because you're a normal human and this is empowering data!

3. Now go around the circle one more time. This time, rate a Wellness Level (1-3) to each one:

  • Level 1: I’ll Do It Tomorrow - This is an area you’ve been avoiding/putting off.
  • Level 2: The Bandwagon/Pressure Cooker – You’re feeling a lot of pressure in this area or it’s taking a lot of energy/effort.
  • Level 3: Life Boost – This feels like an energizing and fulfilling area of your life.

Wohoo, you now have VERY valuable information to start making your life feel easier and more doable! 

The areas in your life that you rated a Level 2 are the best place to start when it comes to gaining more energy in your life, because it's an opportunity to release pressure.

You may notice something interesting: some of the aspects of your life that you rated high in satisfaction are a Level 2. For example, someone may feel very satisfied with finances but they feel pressure to maintain that so they are working long hours, not getting much sleep, and being so restrictive that they have a hard time investing in self-care that would bring them joy.

For each area that you rated a Level 2, ask yourself:

  • What specific thoughts/beliefs/rules are making me feel pressure or draining my energy?
  • What would make this area of my life feel easier and more doable?
  • How do I WANT to feel in this aspect of my life? What would that look like at Level 3?

For each area that you rated a Level 1, ask yourself:

  • What am I picturing when I imagine having to do this? What specifically about it is unappealing/intimidating? Does it have to be like that or are there alternatives ways that are more appealing and less intimidating?
  • How do I want to feel in this aspect of my life? What would it look like at Level 3?
  • Is there any small step that feels totally doable that I WANT to do that will give me some energy?

Here's an example of how this works:

You rated your physical activity a Level 1. You have been telling yourself that you should start going to the gym every day because you need to stop being so lazy and “get healthy” (notice your inner critic running the show here).

It hasn’t happened, because you’re exhausted and when you think about going to the gym you think about all the steps to get there (changing into workout clothes, getting in the car and driving there, deciding what workout you're going to do, having to shower and change after, etc) and it feels super intimidating.

When you imagine being at the gym, you worry about people judging you because you're out of shape and not sure how to use of the machines. Plus, when you think of being at the gym you just think about being miserable, because in the past when you have worked out you pushed yourself so hard it was hard to breathe and you were sore for days. But you WANT to start moving more because you know it gives you a mood and energy boost and you want to feel better physically and mentally.

Now you have tons of data about what specifically about working out is unappealing and intimidating, which gives you so much to work with! All of the unappealing things (including even going to the gym), don't have to be a part of what you want: an energy and mood boost and to feel better physically and mentally. 

You realize how much unnecessary pressure you've been putting on yourself and decide that you could totally start with a 5 minute walk outside every morning before work. You also heard that hearing the sound of birds can boost your happiness for up to 8 hours. Since your mindfulness is also a Level 1, you decide you’ll walk without headphones or distractions and just listen to the birds. The thought of having 5 minutes to yourself in the morning doing something that feels good makes your heart happy. You usually already feel stressed by the time you get to work (work is a Level 2), so you think this will help you to feel calmer at the start of the day, too!

There’s a tendency to feel like you “should” start doing things that you rate a Level 1. But if you do that, you will add pressure to the pressure cooker without releasing any pressure and everything will just feel harder.

Level 2 is the best place to start, because that’s what’s using up so much mental energy that you’re avoiding Level 1’s. This exercise gives you a starting place so that you can start to look for ways to release energy and pressure. This helps to prevent you from judging yourself when you aren’t doing what you think you “should” be doing in an area of your life that you rated a Level 1.

If you’re not sure what rules, thoughts, or beliefs you can change to release pressure in Level 2, that’s okay. You don’t have to have all the answers now! Start by using an anti-anxiety tool to release pressure. Continue to embrace your inner researcher and collect data any time you notice pressure starting to rise and release some pressure using an anti-anxiety tool so it doesn’t stay inside you. The more you do this, the more you’ll shift out of survival mode so that everything feels more doable.

This is a lesson from the beginning of the Game Changer program - my foundational program designed to help you to start getting your energy and sanity back now in a way that feels doable (even while life is busy and overwhelming) so you can stop promising yourself you'll take better care of yourself "tomorrow" while sacrificing your health and happiness today. If you'd like support decreasing pressure in the areas you rated 1 and 2 so that you can bring more balance into your life, send me an email me at to discuss options or learn more about my programs here

 The Circle of Live was first introduced to me through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Since then, I have adapted it by adding the Wellness Levels and adjusting some of the categories to make it even more powerful


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