The New Year for me is an exciting time where I lay out all my dreams, goals, and ambitions and tell myself “you can do this”. And, just like 95% of the population, I quickly lose sight of my goals and drop the ball by January 31st. In fact, did you know there’s a national “holiday” called Ditch Your Resolutions day and it’s to be celebrated January 17th, 2017??
Something that I really struggled with in 2016 was the ever elusive “balance”. I’ve written several posts earlier this fall about how I’ve chosen to deal with my uphill battle. And I’ve really had to come to terms with two things. One – balance will never truly exist because some area of your life will have just a tad bit more priority over another area. Two – balance is an action, a verb; not a place. This means that we will constantly be working to maintain or reach a good balance, but we’ll never just be there. That nirvana just doesn’t exist in the real world.
Coming to terms with this alone really helped bring me some solace. But it of course didn’t resolve the issues I was finding myself having. I was constantly wanting to do more and finding myself with less and less time. In the beginning, I just thought I needed to structure my free time better in order to accomplish everything. Yes, you read that right – structure my free time. I like staying busy because I feel like I’m accomplishing things and when it’s something I’m extremely passionate about, I’ll get it all I’ve got and won’t think twice about it.
But as I devoted more time and attention to the things that I found important and valuable, other areas of my life began to suffer. I had a frustrated spouse who didn’t get why I was constantly writing or reading. I had a sad puppy who just wanted to cuddle on my lap where my laptop would now be perched. Even the dishes in my sink and the laundry in our closet began to feel neglected. So what did I do? I took a “me” day and tried to give myself a schedule of how to fit it all in.
By now, you’re probably shaking your head and thinking, “she’s seriously crazy”. And maybe I was. But I was determined to achieve the goal that I had set for myself and it meant sacrificing a little bit of time now, it was worth it. Right?
Wrong. As you could probably have predicted, things began to tumble down. The areas of my life that I had spent so much time and focus on stayed strong, but those that I didn’t pay attention to came crumbling down like an avalanche. And that is when I realized that I wasn’t really focused on balancing my entire life, but just on the areas where I felt I was being meaningful and helpful. And that is how I came across The Life Balance Wheel.
Throughout the fall, I spent a lot of time trying to recalibrate my life so that the spokes of my wheel were more equal. As you can tell, the Health/Fitness spoke started off as a really high area of focus in my life, with all other areas very low in comparison. I learned the hard way that I couldn’t do it all, so I began to lessen my focus fitness (less workouts) and used that extra time in others, like Spiritual and Passion. But I still was struggling – I felt overwhelmed and when I get overwhelmed, my agitation and anxiety goes through the roof.
And then, I stumbled across this book one day on Amazon (don’t you just love their recommendations??) and thought, “eh, why not?” It took me awhile to start reading it (you know, because I was busy doing everything else), but once I began I couldn’t put it down. And it’s a very short read, so I finished it in less than 2 days. The best part was, what the author said made sense. And because I found it so helpful, I thought I would share some ways that it helped me as we wind 2016 down.
Now, I’m not going to tell you everything that’s in the book, because then you won’t go read it! Instead, I just want to give you a quick preview of what Joyce E Brooks talks about. It all begins with PEACE – her strategy for achieving work-life balance.
- Not having peace about something affects how balanced your world will be.
- We must be thankful for what we have and how God has blessed us. If we can’t be grateful for what we have, we’ll constantly be blocked from having more.
- Adrenaline, coffee, 5-hour energy – all of these things only go so far!
- What do we sacrifice in order to do it all? I sacrifice sleep, which affects my hunger, my clarity, and ultimately my sanity.
- We must take care of our Body, Mind, and Soul:
- Body: exercise
- Mind: sleep, meditation
- Soul: spiritual growth and connection
- “The soul is like a bank account – the more deposits you make, the more dividends the account will pay.”
- Attitude is all about perspective.
- Attitude is also about choices – how do we choose to respond?
- “There is good in everything. You must have the right attitude and choose to see it.”
In order to be a successful communicator, you must learn to do three things:
- Learn to say NO. If you don’t know how to say NO nicely, then try this:
- Express appreciation: “Thank you very much for thinking of me”
- Acknowledge the request: “And asking for my assistance with carpooling”
- Tell the truth: “I’m not sure how that will work with my schedule; I need to check my calendar. Can I get back to you?”
- Listen and learn from the wisdom of others. You don’t know everything.
- Ask for help – you never know when you might need someone’s help!
- Life is a gift – every morning we wake up alive is a gift.
- Make sure that in every day, you leave a little time for JOY and simple pleasures.
- “Joy is an emotion that is generated by your internal outlook on the external world…Joy is dependent upon you!”
As I’ve said over and over again (and I’ll say it again) – balance is something that you work for, but isn’t a destination. Life will always be a bit off balance, but it is possible to make it livable. It all depends on your priorities, your goals, your willingness, and your mindset! I’ll be continuing my journey into 2017 and can’t wait to share with ya’ll the new tips I pick up along the way!
Oh, and if you like what you read, be sure to pick up a copy of The Self-Inflicted Overload by Joyce E. Brooks!