Imbalance leads to bad stress and bad stress leads to poor health. So there in a “nutshell” lies the problem. But what to do about it? How do you strike a healthy balance between work, family, play, spiritual growth etc.? Here are some simple steps toward achieving a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
1. Take a self-inventory.
A self-inventory will teach you where and how your energy is expended. Assess how you get things done. Learn your strengths and write down action methods on building those strengths. Inventory personal weaknesses as well, not to eliminate them, but to develop them. It may lead to stopping some of those activities which prevent you from achieving a healthy balance.
Make a list of those things that are of priority and importance to you and strive to eliminate those things that you can do without or are not a priority. Another method is to find ways to combine those things that are important to you. For example, work does not always have to be a serious endeavor. Throw some play in once in a while, as you move toward a balanced lifestyle.
2. Ditch the perfectionist attitude.
Many, many people consider themselves to be perfectionists and that this is a good thing. It is not. Perfectionism freezes you to the point of inactivity, wherein your obsession with perfection keeps you from accomplishing anything. The trouble with perfectionism is indeed, that life is not perfect. And the more you strive toward perfectionism, the closer you get to imperfection.
The entire cycle is tiresome and frustrating. It is simply impossible to satisfy a perfectionist, simply due to the plain fact that nothing and no one is perfect. The preoccupation with failure only sets you up for continued disaster. Instead of unrealistic goals, set goals and priorities that are obtainable. Write out workable goals and how to achieve them and instead work that plan.
3. Develop a “completionist” attitude.
As Larry the Cable Guy so succinctly puts it, “Get ‘er done!” Set goals. Write down these goals and mark them when complete. In this way you are developing a track record of personal accomplishments. Stop hesitating and begin. The more time you spend attempting to justify or simply “put off” working a doable plan, the more time that is wasted.
Avoid “jumping off the wagon” through worrying whether or not your plan is the “best” plan. Such worry feeds back into the perfectionist attitude that defeated you in the first place. Keep going. If you must, check the plan and goals once a week. And don’t forget to mark off goals as they are completed. It’s perfectly fine to check your progress; just don’t lose your forward momentum.
4. Build your community of like-minded people.
Seek out those people who think like you and befriend them. Hopefully these people are, like you, encouragers. Through these positive friendships you will gain and grow exponentially in confidence. A confident lifestyle helps you “take the bull by the horns” and cultivate the things and ideas that are important to you, permanently sloughing off the non-essentials or the things that drag you down.
Cultivate those people who will inspire and motivate you to concentrate on the goals and plans that are important to you. In this way, the people and plans that are superfluous or drain your energy are “fired.” Through cultivating these friendships, the burdens of life can be shared, essentially freeing you up to enjoy what is important to you.
5. Do one thing at a time.
Engage your full attention to the task at hand. This is an equivalent to hanging a “do not disturb” sign in your mind. When at work, concentrate on work-related tasks and do the same when with family. Tackle small or large goals as you see fit. And this is key: it’s your life and through expending your energy on what you believe is important, you will be able to prioritize and achieve.
Break down larger tasks into simpler, doable steps and then start working on them. This one-at-a-time approach is the real secret in achieving a healthy life balance. Remember to follow through to completion in order to reap the reward of accomplishments, even small ones. You will also gain a powerful feeling of being in control and successful.
6. Use a schedule.
Developing a daily schedule can be difficult. Yet a daily schedule is one of the best ways—indeed, perhaps the only way—to track goals, get more done, and even prioritize. Tracking goals helps you know what has been done and what will be done. Checking off these goals adds to a positive self-esteem and feeling of accomplishment. Priorities, essentially, allow you to expend your best energy into those matters that are most important.
Always schedule a pleasantry into your day. Something that you look forward to. Perhaps one day it is golf and another it is eating out or visiting friends online. It doesn’t have to be a large or costly activity, only one that you enjoy. Vary your routine and do something you find pleasant and fun every day. Scheduling in this time is also a great way to recharge and tackle the rest of the day.
7. Set healthy personal boundaries.
This tip has a great deal to do with priorities. There are only so many hours in the day to accomplish all of life’s tasks, both small and large. Boundaries help by letting you say “no” to a task that may be too time-consuming. Some people may view setting personal boundaries as mean or selfish; quite the contrary, personal boundaries are a gift to yourself.
The lack of boundaries is what often leads to imbalance in the first place. Setting boundaries lifts self-esteem and lets you take control and responsibility for your life. Boundaries allow “you” to be “you,” free from manipulation and controlling or abusive relationships. Your needs are therefore acknowledged as you come to understand that your needs are as important as anyone else’s.