I am a planner and all about routines. I crave structure in every aspect of my life – work, fitness, nutrition, cleaning, etc. In addition to this need for structure, I need praise and reinforcement that what I’m doing is valuable. I used to always look outwardly and require this reinforcement from others. I needed it in all aspects of my life – my looks, my clothes, my work, my workout routine…I could go on and on, but you get the picture. But I wouldn’t always get what I was hoping for and then I would be left feeling worthless and disappointed.
As I got older and matured, I realized the the world didn’t actually revolve around me and if I wanted some positive feedback or praise, I was going to need to do it myself. And I did in most areas of my life. I became really self-motivated in whatever job role I took on; I was self-motivated through college and again when I took classes for graduate school. When I dislocated my knee because I had put on 50+ lbs., I pushed myself through daily workouts and recording every last thing that I ate in my WW app, just so I could see the results that I was craving.
But, in other areas of my life, I didn’t apply this self-motivation technique and I have been suffering. I continued to seek outward approval and when I didn’t gain it, I looked down on myself. I told myself that I wasn’t pretty enough to ever be the perfect woman that anyone would want to marry. I told myself that I wasn’t smart or savvy enough to change careers. I told myself that I wasn’t strong enough to ever get some sort of muscles or to finish any race longer than a 5K.
But something changed in me earlier this year. I still to this day can’t tell you exactly what happened, but something awoke inside of me and started fighting back at the negative thoughts that were inside my head. I suddenly began to feel inspired to try new things; things that I’d never really given much thought of before. I started to look at running something longer than a 5K, and actually training for it. I started to look at going back to school again. I started to look for ways to improve my diet and fitness. I started imagining and planning for the creation of this blog. I even started looking at social events and trainings around town the focused on self-improvement and positivity.
Ok, so let’s be honest – one of the triggers for this sudden triggers for this was a very personal reason. As most of you know (if you’ve been following me), my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant since last November. He was away on business a lot and studying for a major exam, so it wasn’t until earlier this spring that we really had a chance to give it our full attention. Well, when it didn’t happen within the first few months, I became very frustrated and stressed. If you’ve ever consciously tried conceiving , you know what I’m talking about. Obsessive tracking of your cycle; taking your temperature every morning; cancelling all other plans when it came time for you to possibly ovulate so you could optimize your chances. Add to this insanity the fact that I never got a positive ovulation test, and you can imagine the thoughts I was having. It wasn’t until May, after completing two rounds of blood work, that we discovered I had low hormone levels and that I would need some medication to help increase our chances.
So, it was around that time that I began to shift my attention to other things. I was literally driving myself (and my husband) bonkers my trying to plan out our chances of conceiving. I honestly couldn’t control it, but my trip to the doctor had shown me that there were some things I could do to help prepare. Hence the cleaning up of my diet and implementing some sort of exercise regiment (not just running). I started reading articles and reaching out to other moms who had experienced difficulties, asking for their recommendations. Those who didn’t have trouble conceiving cheerfully told me, “Oh hunny, it will happen when it’s meant to.” Which I knew was true, but what could it hurt to help my body really get in the groove??
See what I mean about my need for routines and structure?
Flash forward to now. I’m in a completely different place in my life and the furthest thing from my mind is trying to have a baby. I’m just trying to get up in the morning and make sure I make it through the work day. I wouldn’t say that I’m depressed, but I certainly am not completely ecstatic every day. I used to dread having this situation; in fact, I took great lengths to avoid this sort of situation. I endure things and brush things aside, telling myself that I could handle it and that things would change one day. That one day, things would be better but there was no reason to make any rash decisions.
Well, one day didn’t come for me. Maybe it’s still on the horizon, but it isn’t here and so I made the tough decision that I always avoid. Almost 3 months ago, I decided to become my own hero and take back control of my story. As a result of this decision, my entire life pretty much changed. From moving in with friends, and then uprooting completely and moving back home with my parents, there’s just been a lot of transition. I was already struggling with work-life balance to begin with, and the change in environment and routine has definitely thrown an added aspect to what my view of “balance” is.
As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve begun completing these Wheel of Balance worksheets monthly now. I honestly wouldn’t recommend reviewing this frequenting, but since I’ve been going through these major changes, I like being able to see my progress. That’s right – I found a way to self-motivate myself into creating more balance in my life. As I always say, balance will never fully be achieved, but living off-balance isn’t the only option
As we enter the final month of 2016, I wanted to quickly check in on my progress. I feel that I’m in a much better place, even just in the two weeks it’s been since I’ve moved back home. Last night, I laid out my pretty colored pencils and began the re-evaluation process. I hadn’t looked at my Wheel of Balance since well before I made the big move, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Here is how it turned out:
Remember how I said I could just feel the difference in myself these last two weeks? Well, those feelings were a direct result of my hard work in some key areas of my life. Last month, I was really low in the areas of Service, Spiritual, Love/Relationships, Self-Fulfillment, and Career. Of those 5 areas, I made a conscious effort to work towards improving my balance in 3: Spiritual, Love/Relationships, & Self-Fulfillment. What exactly did I do?
- I began reading this AMAZING book by Gabby Bernstein called “May Cause Miracles”. It’s a 40-day journey towards shifting your perspective on life. Each day, there’s a morning message, morning exercise, affirmation, and evening exercise. On most days, you meditate in the morning and evening, as well as journal about a topic she gives you. I’m in the final days of the 2nd week and I can promise you that I’m already seeing shifts.
- I also began meditating and praying more. Now if this isn’t your thing, I completely understand. But giving thanks for what you have and asking whatever higher body that you believe in for guidance isn’t such a bad idea. I man, it is pretty incredible that we’re here on this Earth to begin with, am I right? For me, I know that I’ve had a lot of lucky breaks and I know that I need to express more gratitude than I have been doing.
- As strange as it sounds, I have not done a lot of direct work in this area, but I have made progress since last month. How does that happen, you ask? By working on myself internally, in the areas of spirit and self-fulfillment, I have felt shifts in the area of my marriage. They may be small shifts that barely go noticed, but I can feel them. There have been days (weeks even) where I’ve dealt with silence and distance. I thought for sure that the end was in sight and I’ll admit that I kinda sunk into a depressed state. But then there have been moments of clarity where I can feel some remnants of love and what used to be. The connection is still very fragile and strained, but the work that I’m doing on myself is helping to repair at least my end of it.
- This blog is a form of self-fulfillment in it’s best form. Since I’ve moved, I have thrown myself heart and soul into this project of mine. In addition to the daily journaling, reading and writing about things that I love has brought so much joy to my daily life. And considering my circumstances, I will take any piece of joy that the world has to offer me!
Yes, I wrote myself notes of praise and feedback on this month’s Wheel of Balance! For the three areas that I applauded myself, I marked three areas that I saw no growth or a lapse. I plan to work on these three areas over the next few months because they are very important to achieving work-life balance. And in order to work on these areas, I’ve set mini goals for myself:
- Service: This is the holiday season and the season for giving, so I plan to volunteer some of my time. I’ve always wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen, so this week I plan to reach out to the ones locally. I would also like to see if I could be involved in some sort of mentorship or after-school tutoring program through the local schools. After the holidays, I will work to get something set up (pending work responsibilities.
- Career & Wealth/Finance: This is an area that I haven’t necessarily neglected, but I’ve kinda pushed to the back burner until I made it through the move. While I love my job immensely, I know I won’t be able to work from home much longer, so I need to make a decision on what my next steps are. Over the course of this final month, I will be spending a lot of time meditating on and researching where I would like to go from here. I have a few ideas, but that’s all they are right now. I need to delve further and make some decisions. Based on these decisions, I also need to decide what I’ll be doing for income. That’s going to take some research and a lot of prayers, considering this isn’t exactly the season for getting hired. I will be channeling all of my positive thoughts and energy into this though!
- Passion: This area ties hand in hand with my career decision. In this next chapter of my career journey, I want to be sure I choose something that I’m passionate about. I was passionate when I was a teacher and I’ve remained passionate through the different roles I’ve had at my current company. I even landed my dream job within the company – the one that I set eyes on in my first 60 days of working there. And if I can’t continue that journey, it’s time to start anew. Through my research on career paths, I will be putting every once of my soul and heart into it.
I want to leave with this thought that I came cross recently and completely encompasses this journey that I’ve been on. I hope it speaks to you as much as it spoke to me ❤️