Last night my 11-year-old came into my office (9 p.m. to be exact, foreshadow, foreshadow), and said, “Mom, can you please get off the computer and be with me?” I should know better, right? After all, achieving work-life balance is one of the staples of the coaching diet. I turned off the computer and we sat on the couch reading White Fang aloud. I’m not sure which was worse: not being with him, or scaring him to death, but that’s beside the point… I hope. Was there really anything so important that I couldn’t have shut the computer off at say, oh, 5 p.m.? Truly? No.
So, take a look and ask yourself, “Is this me?”
You know you’re out of balance when…
Your mail sits unopened for a week and you pay your bills late
You think that the more plates you can spin, the more you can have it all
You keep declining invitations with friends
You can’t remember the last time you talked with your brother
You forget appointments and blow off commitments (like working out, eating healthy)
You stop writing your task lists for the week and fly by the seat of your pants
You haven’t synched your PDA in weeks
You don’t care if you’re not on track with your plan
You can’t remember what’s in your plan
You don’t answer your phone or you’re always on the phone
Isn’t “having it all” a hamster-wheel myth borne of fear?
Let’s stop the bloodletting and take a look. Making quality-of-life shifts is much more sustainable when the solutions come authentically and naturally from within. We achieve that by asking questions, making inquiries, and recommitting ourselves to actions that are connected to our values.
To get yourself back on track, it’s helpful to ask yourself some big, tough questions now and then. These
10 questions will bring resonance to your choices and heart to your actions:
What is it to be completely fulfilled in life?
What values, qualities of being must be present for you to have a fulfilled life?
How would honoring those values impact your experience of work-life balance?
What are you committed to? (Not goals… goals are the doings that happen inside the field of commitments.)
What actions give you the least joy?
If you were committed to an organized, energetic, juicy, fulfilling experience in your work and life, how would that change your perspective about #5?
What two or three actions could you take right now that would create the most impact on your wellbeing?
What three things do you do in your daily life have absolutely no relevance to work or life fulfillment?
What are you willing to give up?
When will you commit to answering all these questions?
No, really: When will you commit to answering all these questions?
Are you keen to reinvent yourself this year? Or at least use the new year as a long overdue excuse to get rid of bad habits or pick up new ones?
Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when we feel as if we have to turn over a new leaf. The time when we misguidedly imagine that the arrival of a new year will magically provide the catalyst, motivation and persistence we need to reinvent ourselves.
Traditionally, New Year’s Day is styled as the ideal time to kick start a new phase in your life and the time when you must make your all important new year’s resolution. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year is also one of the worst times to make a major change in your habits because it’s often a relatively stressful time, right in the middle of the party and vacation season.
Don’t set yourself up for failure this year by vowing to make huge changes that will be hard to keep. Instead follow these seven steps for successfully making a new year’s resolution you can stick to for good.
1. Just Pick One Thing
If you want to change your life or your lifestyle don’t try to change the whole thing at once. It won’t work. Instead pick one area of your life to change to begin with.
Make it something concrete so you know exactly what change you’re planning to make. If you’re successful with the first change you can go ahead and make another change after a month or so. By making small changes one after the other, you still have the chance to be a whole new you at the end of the year and it’s a much more realistic way of doing it.
Don’t pick a New Year’s resolution that’s bound to fail either, like running a marathon if you’re 40lbs overweight and get out of breath walking upstairs. If that’s the case resolve to walk every day. When you’ve got that habit down pat you can graduate to running in short bursts, constant running by March or April and a marathon at the end of the year. What’s the one habit you most want to change?
2. Plan Ahead
To ensure success you need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them. Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the systems in place ready to make your change.
Read up on it – Go to the library and get books on the subject. Whether it’s quitting smoking, taking up running or yoga or becoming vegan there are books to help you prepare for it. Or use the Internet. If you do enough research you should even be looking forward to making the change.
Plan for success – Get everything ready so things will run smoothly. If you’re taking up running make sure you have the trainers, clothes, hat, glasses, ipod loaded with energetic sounds at the ready. Then there can be no excuses.
3. Anticipate Problems
There will be problems so make a list of what they’ll be. If you think about it, you’ll be able to anticipate problems at certain times of the day, with specific people or in special situations. Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up.
4. Pick a Start Date
You don’t have to make these changes on New Year’s Day. That’s the conventional wisdom, but if you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic and surrounded by positive people. I’ll be waiting until my kids go back to school in February.
Sometimes picking a date doesn’t work. It’s better to wait until your whole mind and body are fully ready to take on the challenge. You’ll know when it is when the time comes.
5. Go for It
On the big day go for it 100%. Make a commitment and write it down on a card. You just need one short phrase you can carry in your wallet. Or keep it in your car, by your bed and on your bathroom mirror too for an extra dose of positive reinforcement.
Your commitment card will say something like:
I enjoy a clean, smoke-free life.
I stay calm and in control even under times of stress.
I’m committed to learning how to run my own business.
I meditate daily.
6. Accept Failure
If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk or shout at the kids one morning don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.
If you know that alcohol makes you crave cigarettes and oversleep the next day cut back on it. If you know the morning rush before school makes you shout then get up earlier or prepare things the night before to make it easier on you.
Perseverance is the key to success. Try again, keep trying and you will succeed.
7. Plan Rewards
Small rewards are great encouragement to keep you going during the hardest first days. After that you can probably reward yourself once a week with a magazine, a long-distance call to a supportive friend, a siesta, a trip to the movies or whatever makes you tick.
Later you can change the rewards to monthly and then at the end of the year you can pick an anniversary reward. Something that you’ll look forward to. You deserve it and you’ll have earned it.
Whatever your plans and goals are for this year, I’d do wish you luck with them but remember, it’s your life and you make your own luck.
Decide what you want to do this year, plan how to get it and go for it. I’ll definitely be cheering you on.