When I imagine what it looks like to live a balanced life, two thoughts come to mind. The first is the “Jack theory”: All work and no play makes for a cranky Jack. All this and no that – too much of this and too little of that – just doesn’t work. The challenge here is to balance what we must do with what we enjoy and want to do. We need to carve out time for the serious stuff, as well as play.
The other way to live a balanced life has more to do with going with the flow – not letting the inevitable glitch in our day throw us off-balance, sending us careening off course. It’s about staying balanced. In other words, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still “go wrong” with it. When lucky, we experience a minor glitch – a glitch so small and short-lived that you hardly notice it, a transient fault that corrects itself. However, there are the times when a hornet’s nest of difficulties presents itself, and you need to change course immediately, lest you get knocked on your bottom!
Here are some guidelines on how you can “root” yourself in balance, enabling you to smile and stay the course, even in the face of the inevitable hiccup, glitch or major league malfunction.
Some Tips for Living a Well-Balanced Life
1. Wake Up Happy. Your first thoughts are the most powerful and the strongest. They can set a tone for the day. You can easily train yourself to begin each and every day with a positive thought. Begin to pay attention to your waking thoughts. If they are not “happy” or useful thoughts, change them. In the place between being asleep and fully awake, note your thoughts and change them if you have to. If your thoughts are positive and useful, embrace them: “Today, I am going to get organized and ‘motor’ through the day with great, happy energy” versus, “OMG! It’s Monday. Another day, another dollar.” Get my drift?
2. Take Care Of You. I promise you that your health is the key ingredient to all! They don’t say “If you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything” for nothing! It’s the truth. You simply cannot function in high gear if you don’t get the right amount of rest, exercise or good, healthy eats (e.g. real food, not processed stuff). At some point, “it” will catch up with you.
3. Plan Pretty. No, planning is not a dirty word, although you might think it is, based on the response I sometimes get when I stress the importance of planning. Do not stamp your feet like a three-year-old and say, “I don’t like to plan.” Keeping an organized calendar and planner tracking your appointments, your food and your workouts (i.e. movement, for the exercise phobic) leads to freedom. When you plan, you essentially dump your thoughts onto the page and organize them so they do not overwhelm you, which lead to a productive, relaxed kind of day. Instead of cringing at the thought of “planning,” embrace it. Once again, planning presents a clear path out of an overwhelming situation and leads you toward the happy state of freedom.
4. Set Priorities. Leading your “best life” does not mean that you need to be, or should try to be, perfect and do it all. It means that you self-reflect, known yourself and determine your true values. Not knowing who you are and what you want and trying to do everything is a recipe for burnout and disaster. Do not bite off more than you can chew!
5. Stay Connected With Family And Friends. Another key ingredient to living a balanced life and staying “in balance” is your connection to your friends and family. However busy you may be, be sure to reach out to at least one friend or family member daily. Preferably, you would do this in real time, either in person or via telephone – not electronically! There’s nothing like the real thing.
6. Be Spontaneous. On the one hand, I do believe that planning equals freedom, as mentioned above. On the other hand, let’s not get so rigid that we lose the ability to be spontaneous. If you suddenly have the urge to go for a long walk, go to a movie, hook up with a friend at lunchtime or feed the hummingbirds, then do so!
7. Take Control Of Your Mind. Often we overwhelm ourselves with the silent words that flow through our mind every moment of the day. When you speak about being overwhelmed your thoughts and then your behaviors will follow. Guard your thoughts or else your life and your actions flow out of them. Create thoughts that banish the feeling of being overwhelmed.
8. Stuff Happens; Expect The Unexpected. Have you ever had a day when something unexpected didn’t happen? An unexpected phone call, unexpected traffic jam, a platter of pretty cupcakes being paraded in front of you or, maybe worse yet, a computer crash? Stuff happens, my friends. Stuff happens, big time! So expect the unexpected and just roll with it.
9. Breathe Deep And Unwind. At the end of your glorious day, take a minute, or two, or 30 to unwind. Curl up with a good book, take a hot bath and listen to music that soothes or stirs your soul. Do nothing. Take in a few deep, cleansing breaths, congratulate yourself on a day well-lived and just plain relax.
What is the most important thing that you do to help you stay balanced, enabling you to go with the flow?
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.