Simple and Effective Tips to Create a Balanced Life
Here’s How to Find the Equilibrium You’re Searching For
Brian Dyson, former COO of Coca Cola, is famous for his quest to find balance among work, family, and self-care. Dyson understood what so many of us fail to remember at times – that all the balls we’re juggling in life aren’t created equal. Here’s how he described it:
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them — work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends, and spirit — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
So, how do we find this balance, exactly? Many people say it isn’t possible, and that it’s just a myth that keeps us chasing something unattainable. After all, we have a finite number of hours in the day, limited energy to disperse across all areas of life and the need for a paycheck. Is it truly possible to find equilibrium? As it turns out, the answer is yes. It simply takes a commitment to the following simple, yet effective, strategies.
Evaluate Your Big Picture
Most of us feel like we’re expending too much time and energy in some areas of life and not enough in others. You may be facing total burn-out at work but still desiring to lean-in to your personal life. Or maybe you’ve been overly focused on family members during a challenging time, but you’ve let your own hobbies or self-care fall by the wayside. What does the big picture look like for you? Take a step back and evaluate where the problem areas are. What’s keeping you from finding the balance you desire? Identifying problem areas is the first step toward correcting them.
Commit to Being the Change
Don’t treat your pursuit of balance like a New Year’s resolution – destined to fail and abandoned by March. If you want to make real change in your life, you need to commit deeply from the outset and set yourself up for success. Much of it comes down to mindset – don’t let yourself believe there’s a quick fix, because if that were true then you would already be basking in the balance you so desire. Instead, set your intention to shift the way you divide your time, energy and focus. Treat it like a lifestyle change that you work at day by day. You won’t succeed every day, especially in the beginning, but the idea is to see a positive trajectory over time.
Set Smart Goals
As with any lifestyle change, it’s important to set attainable goals along your journey to balance. Remember those problem areas you identified? Now it’s time to set realistic goals for each of them. For example, if you’re feeling disconnected from your spouse, resolve to turn off your phone during dinner and focus on real conversation instead. Or, if it’s important for you to focus on your health, use a step-tracker to slowly increase the number of miles you walk each day. Create checkpoints for yourself within each goal, marking your small victories and creating momentum to carry you forward. The biggest reason people fail to achieve goals is because they get so focused on a big, overwhelming change and feel defeated before they even begin. When you plan ahead to give yourself small, measurable successes along the way, you’re much more likely to achieve your end goal.
Get Comfortable with the Idea of Change
We’re all creatures of habit, and the idea of changing behaviors that have been ingrained in our lives for years – even decades – can be truly scary. Even if you want to change, knowing that your current state of imbalance isn’t sustainable, you’re likely to hit a wall at some point. When this happens, remind yourself of the big picture exercise you did in the first step – are those problem areas still problems? Asking yourself that simple question can help you move forward with clarity and prioritize making hard changes that you know are important and worthwhile.
Say ‘No’ Like a Pro
When you’re feeling overextended and you can’t seem to find your equilibrium, chances are part of the issue is a fear of saying no. So many of us overburden ourselves simply because we don’t want to disappoint others or because we fear the repercussions. Remind yourself that you can continue trying to do it all, but you probably won’t do any of it well. Living in this state of imbalance, stress, and dissonance will wear you down physically, mentally and emotionally. This is why it’s worthwhile to learn how to say no to things that don’t serve your priorities. You’ll never find true balance if you can’t commit to cutting extraneous things out and redistributing that time and energy on the things and people that will help you meet your goals.
If you’re struggling to keep all your balls in the air, know that you’re not alone – and that finding balance is possible if you put the right strategies in place. Evaluate your big picture, commit to creating change for yourself, set attainable goals along the way, breakthrough your mental change barriers and learn to say ‘yes’ only to the things that serve your priorities. Before long, you’ll learn just how powerful simple strategies can be in your journey toward a more balanced and fulfilling life.