How to Live a Balanced Life: Stop Falling for the “Balance” Lie & Do These 8 Things Instead by Steve Cook
Most of us live hectic, intense, stressed out lives. We’re bombarded with all kinds of tasks, opportunities and challenges every day. It’s no wonder we struggle to get everything on our list done. On rare occasions we might “crush it,” but most of the time we fall short and neglect the things that are most important to us, whether that’s family, friends, fitness, spiritual growth or something else.
In other words, we long for balance but never seem to achieve it and this keeps us frustrated and unfulfilled. That’s because balance isn’t possible. The efforts we take today to experience balance tomorrow assume that tomorrow will be the same as it is today. Obviously, this will never be true.
Everything is in a state of flux: The world around you, your family, your work. The way you do things today won’t be the same tomorrow. You’ll have to learn new things, allocate your time differently, and spend time with different people. So despite all the books that have been written on the subject, the very notion of balance is a lie. And when we chase something that doesn’t exist, we’ll never be happy.
The only solution is a fundamental mind shift. We need to accept and embrace this truth about how the world works. This will motivate us to revamp our life in a way that ensures that we’re putting what we really care about front and center.
Here are a few tips to help you stop striving for balance and live in a much more rewarding, intentional and peaceful way:
1. Rely on Your Vision When You Lose Your Direction
An important Lifeonaire principal is creating and living by your Vision. Your Vision is a clear, written description of what your complete, ideal life looks like. It helps you to have a clearer direction and gives you a path to follow in life. Your written vision may map out a straight path, but there are usually curves, switchbacks and detours along the way as you journey down this path. Your vision helps you to realize when you are getting too far off the path. It serves as a guide to let you know that some adjustments need to be made.
If you haven’t done so already, take some time to think about your Vision for your life. Write it down and revisit it often, especially when you feel overwhelmed with too many competing obligations. Referring back to it will help you ensure you are still on track.
2. Finetune the Art of Counterbalance
No, balance isn’t possible, but recognizing when something is getting away from the ideal is. When you realize you’ve been neglecting your family because of work, obviously you need to devote more time to your family – you need to counterbalance. They need to feel valued and the only way you’re going to do this is by giving them your time.
Where is that time going to come from? Well, hobbies, work and sleep may all be affected, so that you can give your family the time that they need. Next thing you know, work may be neglected, or friendships may suffer. Soon you will find that you need to now spend more time in other areas. Being able to self-correct is an important life skill.
3. Ponder This Crucial Question Frequently
“I could do more, but should I?” When you are exhausted at the end of a long day, don’t be surprised when you feel tempted to complete just a few more tasks on your list. That’s when it’s time to really ask yourself whether you should keep grinding or give yourself a well-deserved break. That little voice is always going to be there telling you to do more, but you don’t always have to listen to it.
4. Don't Beat Yourself Up When You Can't Get Everything Done in a Day
Everyone struggles with having too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Accept that this is the norm, and that running out of time (or energy!) is not a personal failing. Remind yourself that what doesn’t get done today will get done later.
5. Stop Fretting About Tomorrow
Start looking forward to it. This simple shift can transform your life. When you look forward to tomorrow, with all of its challenges and surprises, dread disappears, and your obligations may not feel so harrowing.
6. Don't Overly Rely on Technology to Help You Create More Time
More and more these days, we seek out all kinds of technology to hopefully help us, and while technology seems to help us do more, in most ways it has actually failed at truly freeing up our time and is allowing us to do less. Its fine to use technology as long as it really improves your life. But don’t go overboard. Being tethered to every app, device, and service is not going to simplify your life.
7. Figure Out What You Can Control
Focus on that. Again, everything is changing all the time. And most of it is out of your control. To reclaim a sense of peace and order, focus on things you can impact. A few places to start: Your own attitude and actions, what you read, think and believe, what you and your family choose to intentionally focus on, etc.
8. When You Simply Cannot Change Things, Go With the Flow
Good and bad things in our life can throw off our perfectly laid plans. When this happens and there’s nothing you can do about it, try to relax and go with the flow. Embrace the situation and make the adjustments you can reasonably make but let go of any needless and unproductive worry or anxiety. We just can’t control everything.
Always remember that the idea of balance is a lie that only causes more frustration. No amount of planning or time blocking will work perfectly every time. And if you plan based on ‘the ideal’ one minute, it can literally be disrupted within moments. As long as you are doing your best, you’re doing the right thing.
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