By choice or necessity, we all seek balance in our lives. The balance of work vs play, and of freedom vs responsibility. Balanced even comes to play when we seek out nutritionally dense food vs empty calories. Our bodies seek balance by compensating for changing conditions to keep temperature, blood sugar, and dozens of other characteristics stable. Lifestyle is the medicine of the future. Improving your balance will be the prescription.
Taking into consideration how you define balance is the key. Your balance will look different than my balance.
I love to wake up at 3am. It is a time where I can get the most amount of work done and quite frankly my body doesn't likes to sleep in. Between 300-330am I am trying my best to be as quiet as possible to go downstairs without waking up my wife.
Being in the gym for 2-3 hours makes me happy. I'm not much of a social butterfly but I do like to enjoy the work I put in.
I'm open to change though. Sometimes my schedule has to change and me being okay with that is a part of balance. Sometimes I don't get to bed until late from watching the 2 hour episodes of The Voice with my wife so waking up at 3am is out of the question. My workout is cut in half if making programs for clients ran into my workout time. I may skip a training session because I have something else planned with family. For me, all of those circumstances are okay. Balance is meant to be shifted from time to time.
That is the way balance fits in my life. How your balance will look depends on how you define it. Here are 4 things to avoid:
1. Instead of talking about what you don't have, talk about what you could have. It is common for me to hear, "I want to drop 40lbs but I don't have the time to exercise and eat healthy." That conversation should be about how you have 30 minutes in the morning before and after work to dedicate to your fitness. 2. Realize there's no right answer. There is no such thing as a perfect workout routine, perfect diet, or what you should weigh for your height. 3. Stop judging yourself and others. There was no mistake made when you were born. You may not have Michelle Obama's arms, J-Lo's bottom, or Kim Kardashian's waistline but you are unique in your own way. 4. Leave room for periods when there's more work and less life, and vice versa. You will have times in your life where you won't be able to spend hours on the weekend prepping meals or 6 days a week in the gym. Let go of the guilt. It will be okay.
When will you know you have made it? When will you be able to say that you feel balanced? Truth is, balance is a moving target. Managing your work and life is an ongoing practice. On occasion you will feel like you are riding the balance wave. Truth is you can only optimize it for a particular set of work and personal circumstances for small pockets of time. Then realities will change, and so will your balance. It relieves the pressure and allows you to experiment more freely with what works best for you when you realize there is no right way.
What are my 4 tips I have found helpful for increasing my balance?
1. Sometimes we are so focused on the next goal that we fail to celebrate the great milestones of achievement we have made. Make it a pleasant experience next time to reach your next milestone. You’ll find yourself motivated to continue to strive for more.2. Just say 'no'. Setting boundaries early with others should not be considered walls, but paths to your sanity.3. Come up with a plan and share it with those who you value the most. Outlining how you are going to shift time, be more flexible, and maintain getting things done is important. This does not have to be done alone. 4. Take some time each week for reflection and self-introspection. This could include journaling, going out in nature for a walk or work in the yard. This also includes meditating, praying or reading. Looking at the broader picture of your life will keep you going and pay huge dividends.