How complete is your life? Can you say that you are 100% satisfied with the direction that your life is going, with your relationships, your goals and your health?
Some people call this type of life completion “control,” others call it “inner peace” but I call it “life balance.” It really doesn’t matter what you call it, the only thing that matters is whether you have it.
Imagine your ordinary day. How does it start? How many things do you accomplish during the day? How do your relationships unveil during the day? Do you spend enough time with the people you love and care about? At the end of the day do you feel that you have completed everything to make this day great or do you feel that you have accomplished a lot but still are missing something?
If you get a warm and pleasant feeling inside when you answer these questions you know that your life is in balance. If your mind starts racing and focusing on all the things that you haven’t completed then you know that you need to work on your life balance. Why not start today?
I communicate with a lot of people and way too often their lives remind me of a carrot chase. All day long they are busy doing things, working on projects, going somewhere and yet at the end of the day they feel broken down and even further away from their happy living than they were in the morning. No matter how fast they go or how much effort they produce they can never catch the carrot that they are chasing because it’s attached to their backs. Do you get the picture?
I must admit, sometimes I feel that I get into that carrot chase myself. A big work project, sudden illness of my kids, extra help that I offer to my friends or just that ìperfectî combination of circumstances send my life tumbling down a hill with no chances of stopping before I reach rock bottom. In times like that I remind myself about the magic of life balance and stop to reclaim my daily peace.
Inner peace and balance come when you stop chasing that carrot and start enjoying your life. Let’s see how you can get rid of that carrot and stop sabotaging your happiness.
- Become aware.A lot of times the carrot race is just a cover-up for inner emptiness or pain. Filling life with tasks won’t fill your life with meaning.Todayspend some time reflecting on your inner motives and priorities.How do your everyday tasks help you achieve your personal goals?What goals are truly important to you?The more insight you gain into yourself the easier it will be for you to find your balance.
- Try “reverse” time management.Every day you probably focus on accomplishing certain tasks that you planned. At the beginning of the day you look or think about everything that has to be done and your brain almost freezes in silent panic. All day long you try to catch up on everything but something constantly interrupts you, you lose your focus and at the end of the day your list of tasks looks only longer.Todayfocus on how much time you can spend working. Plan 1-2 hour work blocks when you are 100% focused and nothing can get in your way. Work as a mad man or woman during those blocks but then let yourself rest. At the end of the day focus on how many productive work blocks you have had instead of how many tasks you have marked off your to do list.This little change in your thoughts will help you avoid procrastination, prevent “brain freeze” and let you have some time for the unexpected things that will come up during the day.
- Listen to the people around you. Our relationships are a huge subject that can’t be tackled in just one paragraph. However, if I was (and I am) to give you advice that will improve any type of relationship then it would be “Listen to others.”So many times we tune out of the conversation with our loved ones to watch our favorite show, check messages on the smartphone or just think again about that work project.By depriving our loved ones of our attention we lose connection with them and stop understanding them.Today listen to the people around you. Don’t judge, don’t get offended, but rather try to use any comments that you hear for your personal growth.
- Focus on your vitals first.Do you ever leave the house without brushing your teeth? Do you try to drive the car without first getting the keys? These little actions seem obvious, don’t they? Then why is that taking care of our vital needs isn’t as simple as that?What is vitally important to you in life? For me my kids, family, health and spirituality are vitals no matter how busy my day might be. Every day I make sure that I spend time with my kids, have at least one peaceful hour with my husband, do at least a little bit of exercise, eat healthy food and spend time praying. My entire day is focused around these vitals and whatever time I have left I spend on other goals and necessities.Today figure out what your vitals are and find a place for them in every day. Itís not as hard as it seems. Split your exercise into 10 minute blocks throughout the day. Fix healthy meals that take less than 30 minutes to prepare (easy vegetable stir fry, spaghetti with marinara sauce, grilled chicken breast on a bed of fresh lettuce are just a few ideas) and include your loved ones into your everyday activities (exercise by taking your kids or your partner on a walk, fix meals together, spend time playing games [no sorry, video games do not count] instead of watching TV.) Figure out what works for you and start by adding 10-15 minute blocks of your vital activities into every day.
- Be flexible. Napoleon had a brilliant idea of strategic military planning which he summarized as ìYou engage, and then you wait and see.î By making contact with the enemy and then improvising, he triumphed and made his armies the envy or Europe.In a modern world the ability to improvise is a crucial component of balance. Instead of making daily to-do lists try to create a list of goals for a week or a month. This flexibility will let you have time for the unexpected surprises and ways to deal with them. And instead of always sticking to rigid plans and goals let yourself go with the flow sometimes.Today question your plans and goals and think of creative ways to work around any obstacles. Donít push through the walls all the time. See when itís better to use your strength to push a little harder and when itís best to avoid an obstacle that seems to be ruining your plans.
- Live in positive reality.Our view of the world is just a perception. The difference between optimists and pessimists is not how many good events happen in their lives but what information they tend to focus on.Unfortunately our brain is hard-wired into focusing on negative events. Scientists call this phenomenon the “negativity bias.” After years of studies researchers have come to the conclusion that it takes about 5 positive events to overwrite one negative one.However, focusing on all things positive is not the best way out either. Too much positive thinking makes you ignore possible obstacles standing in your way which decreases your chances of success.Today focus on being a positive realist. Take things for what they really are instead of spending all your mental energy to find a positive reason why you are stuck in a traffic jam. To reinforce positive emotions in your life think about all the positive events that happened to you today. When setting goals think of any obstacles that can get in your way and create a plan to work around them.
- Start living life at your own speed. Instead of focusing on the quality of our life we often focus on the speed of it. We have a bunch of goals with (most of the time) unreasonable deadlines. We don’t stop and think whether we picked good timing for something. We try to bust through the walls and achieve our goal no matter what without ever asking whether it was an important enough goal to work so hard for.Today take some time to slow down. I am not asking you to meditate or walk around the park marveling at every bug that you see on your way. Take a look at your current goals and schedule and see if you have picked the right timing for everything. We can accomplish pretty much anything we dream about in life but for every dream we have to pick the right time to bring it to life.Living in balance starts with changing your thoughts.Stop chasing that imaginary carrot and start focusing on living your life at your own speed, with your own goals and to your maximum potential.What actions do you take to bring your life in balance?