Balancing your goals with the rest of your life
A healthy balance. Work-life balance. A balanced lifestyle.
We hear it all the time – life is all about balance. Balancing work, social life, the gym, food, and downtime – and with so much to balance, it’s no surprise most of us don’t get it right.
I’m still working on balancing my work, life, gym and fun, and being self-employed doesn’t always help either, as having the discipline NOT to work at any given moment is the absolute hardest. Everyone around me is always telling me not to live at 10,000mph all the time, but it’s not always easy to achieve!
However, I’m finding out a few things along the way to achieving the perfect balance, and needed to write them down – and I hope they help you too!
Life is about enjoyment
If there’s an element of your life you don’t enjoy, change it. It might be something you can remove from the balance altogether, but maybe it’s something you need to change without throwing in the towel. So if you’re not enjoying your exercise, don’t stop it – just change it!
Even better, focus on the things you do enjoy and work them more into your life. And if you can make your passion your paycheque – well, that’s the ultimate goal!
And we all have things we have to do that we don’t enjoy – that’s life – but this helps us to appreciate the things we love even more, whether that’s a drink with friends, the gym, baking or any other hobbies we love.
Don’t feel guilty
It’s easy to beat ourselves up if we don’t get round to everything. Don’t feel guilty – just take a second to think about what the most important things are to do, about what can wait, and make the best plans.
Also, life is about balancing everything. Rest days are important. So is that slice of cake or piece of chocolate. Don’t feel guilty, enjoy them – they’re part of a balanced lifestyle (within reason, obviously!).
A balanced life makes us live more productively (and successfully!)
It’s simple maths – if we focus too much on one thing, we neglect – and lose out on – the other things. I speak from experience.
While I was training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with cystic fibrosis, my life was totally out of balance. I’ve got to point out here that in no way do I regret what I did – it was the most incredible experience of my life. I achieved the biggest goal I’ve ever set myself, I’ve had an experience nobody can take away from me, and I met some pretty awesome people in the process!
However, in order to keep my health and my lung function above 100%, and to maintain my weight and keep it stable for at least nine months, I had to follow a strict regime of training, rest, medication (of course, my meds are always there!), while also keeping my mind-set and focus in check so I could actually achieve my goal, and do my burpees at the top!
But for all this to happen, my social life took a pretty heavy hit. My amazing friends understood, but I missed out on a few things – which you sometimes have to do to achieve your goals. The first thing I did when I was back from Tanzania was to regain that social balance I was longing for, and I’m glad to say I’ve kept it up!
Listen to your body
Everyone is unique, and you need to learn how your body functions best. Give it the sleep, food and exercise it needs. Don’t cheat it.
Keep your mind active
Just like your body, keep your mind in shape. Never stop learning, never stop communicating, and look up from your phone once in a while!
Connect with family in friends in real time
Not via Whatsapp, Instagram or anything else. Connect in real life – like we’re designed to! This is so important, and can make such a difference to how you feel. When I’m catching up with the people I love, I always put my phone in ‘airplane mode’. You are there to see them, not to sit on your phone, and you will get so much out of engaging properly with them.
The main rule is to never be too busy for those you love and the ones who love you back – they are the ones who matter in life.
And what about those ones you’ve not spoken to in ages? Reach out, reconnect – I did this recently with a friend I hadn’t seen since I was 14, and even after all this time, we still had such an amazing connection. So do it! Leading on to…
Do random things you love, or things you’ve never tried before. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. Life’s too short to let chances go by.
Make time for YOU
It’s always the bit of the balance that gets left out, but it’s so important! Look after number one by doing the things you need to switch off and unwind. Don’t underestimate the benefits of the things that are therapeutic to you!
Admittedly, I’m terrible at this last point – but I’m working on it, and that’s the most important thing!