When life is busy, or all your energy is focused on one part of your life (work, career as an example), it’s all too easy to find yourself ‘off balance’, not paying enough attention to the other important areas of your life. While you need to have focus and drive if you’re going to get things done, taking this too far off balance can lead to anxiety, unhappiness, intense stress and potentially ill health.
Reflecting on the next 3 months
This month is a great month to reflect on your life and where the last three months of 2011 are going to lead. Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on the way your life is currently, compared with the way you would ideally like it to be. The areas of your life that are important to you and the roles you play in your life can help you determine the balance in your “Wheel of Life”. Life coaches commonly use this tool to help their clients consider each area of their life and assess what’s off balance. And so, it helps identify areas that need more attention.
Another way to look at finding balance in your life is simply to ask yourself (or brainstorm with a friend or supportive family member):
- “What’s working well, and why?”
- “What not working well, and Why?”
If you are honest with yourself when answering these two questions and are able to clearly identify one or two areas of your life that are off balance and reasons “why” that is, then the next step is relatively easy – to take action in the direction of your “ideal” life.
The key to achieving balance
The key to achieving a balance life is being clear on what you want, but even more importantly knowing “WHY” you want what you want. The bigger the “why” is the most compelling the “want” will become and this will create unconscious action. This is why it is sometimes helpful to work with another person or a life coach as they can help you see areas of your life from an objective point of view. There are practical on-line tools such as the “Wheel of Life” or “Life Wheel” that you can access free to help you through this process.
I encourage you to identify with the roles and areas in your life that you struggle to find balance in, discover why that is, and then create an action plan that will help you re-establish balance:
- Starting with the neglected areas: what things do you need to stop doing to regain balance?
- What do you need to start doing to regain balance?
- In the areas that are currently draining your energy, stealing your valuable time or bringing you undue stress: what can you do to get help?
- What can you delegate away or stop doing altogether?
Again if you are honest with yourself and approach this with a positive, pro-active attitude you will be amazed at how quickly you can begin re-establishing balance, or at least establish the feeling of having better balance by taking control back in your life.
What roles do you play in your life? Write down the role that you feel is off balance. Choose from: wife/husband, mother/father, sister/brother, manager/work colleague, community leader, friend/team member etc.
What areas of life are important to you? Write down the one or two areas that you feel are off balance at this particular time. Choose from: career, education, family, friends, community/volunteerism, financial freedom, personal time, exercise/fitness, health (bodyweight, body composition, blood pressure etc.), nutrition/diet, adventure/travel etc.
Once you have chosen…
- the role that you feel off balance with and,
- one or two areas that you feel are off balance with
…write them down in order of ‘most off balance to least off balance’ to help you identify quickly the role or area that is the most important to focus on first. This is a quick and helpful way to zero in on one thing that you can do to help move you forward to re-establishing balance. Prioritizing what’s most important in your life is a smart and practical way to begin.
For things to change, you must change. For things to get better, you must get better.
Once you have identified that one area or role that needs attention, it’s time to plan the actions needed to work on regaining balance. Taking small steps or actions on a daily or weekly and consistent basis will be necessary for you to create change that is necessary so write them down, and in order of most to least practical, realistic, achievable.