Balance. The dictionary defines the word as “stability of one’s mind or feeling.” This stability is unique to each person. What “feel” like balance to me may not “feel” balanced to you. I learned, not that long ago, that the search for my balance was not in what others are doing or how others are achieving it. I had to dig deep. And it started with answering this one question.
What are my true priorities?
By asking he question, I knew immediately that what I currently regarded as my priorities did not feel right. Obviously, I had my priorities out of sorts with my values, as I did not feel stable in either my mind or feelings. I had anxiety and stress at every turn–working too many hours and giving my time to pursuits that were taking me away from family and spirituality.
Here are the steps I took to create more balance:
Find out what are your core values. I had to admit that I did not know what those were. Or I was advocating values in my life that were not mine, but seemed to align with other people that appeared to be successful. Of all the incredibly useful resources out there, I found this simple worksheet the most valuable: The Compound Effects Core Value Assessment. Select you top 10 values. Even better, identify which 3 values are most important to you.
Craft your goals with those core values in mind. Goal-oriented people get more out of life only if the goals are aligned with who they are and what is important in their life. One of my values is my family. However, before I applied this step, none of my goals reflected this value. Now, I craft my goals, each week, with my core values in the forefront. A great resource on how to create goals and achieve them with ease is the 30-day Push goal challenge, created by New York Times best-selling author Chalene Johnson.
Execute those goals with a daily to-do list. This needs to be in writing–committed to a medium that you will have handy at all times. Mine is in my phone (I use the reminder app in my iPhone). This list also needs to have, at the very top, to-do items that align with the goals created in step 2. For example, in my case, family is one of my core priorities, and one of my weekly goals is to have a sit-down meal with my family 6 times a week. My to-do list reflects this goal by listing that I will have dinner (or lunch) with my family that day. Additionally, assigning a high priority to the to-do items that align with the core values ensure that you do not forego these high-priority items for the sake of other habitual or emergency-like items (e.g., doing the laundry, cleaning the pool, washing dishes, walking the dog, getting the dry-cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.).
This is my system for ensuring that I give my true values the time they deserve in my life. Some days are better than others. But, at least, I now know that the neglected priority today will get attention tomorrow.
Comment or let me know if you have found a way to balance your life.