How to Live a Balanced Life (and why is it important)
Do you ever feel like you spend too much time at work? Do you ever get home to a bunch of messages from family members and friends complaining that you never see them or never make time for them? Or do you have successful relationships, but your health and fitness suffer? This is most likely because your life is out of balance. I get it, sometimes we feel like we have to make sacrifices in order to have what's important to us, however make sure you make the right choices when it comes to your sacrifices. Do you really want to sacrifice quality time with your family and friends? Or would you rather sacrifice scrolling through social media or binge-watching Netflix? If you figure out where your time goes, and which areas of your life are lacking in effort, you will be able to achieve a healthy and balanced life.
So let's have a look at what balanced life means. Imagine you have enough time for everything. This includes yourself, your family and friends, work, hobbies, and your health. A lot of people tend to make a mistake in thinking that balanced means spending equal amount of time for everything. However how can that possibly be true? Let's say you work 8 hours a week. That means that in order to have a balanced life, you would have to spend 8 hours at the gym, 8 hours with your family, 8 hours on your hobbies. It's simply not realistic. There are not enough hours in a day for you to have this kind of balance in your life. However, what you can have is harmony. Let’s be realistic. You don't need to spend 8 hours a day workout to be healthy. You don't need to spend 8 hours every single day with someone you love to have a quality and loving relationship. You might need to spend an hour with them every day, or have a weekend away with them once a month. This kind of harmony is what is going to bring you the right balance into your life.
What is YOUR idea of a Balanced Life?
Ask yourself what does balance mean to you? How do you imagine yourself and your life if you think of a balanced life?
The best way to get the right balance is by dividing your life into different areas.
The main areas of life are:
health and fitness
career and business
fun, recreation, and hobbies
family and friends
This is true for the most of us however feel free to tailor these to yourself. For example, if you're currently single and are not looking to get into a relationship, you don't need to pay attention to love life. Or if you're retired you can ignore career and business. But do not skip anything simply because you don’t want to deal with it. Like finances. None of us want to spend hours looking at our finances, but it has to be done and you will thank yourself later.
Let’s look at each life area and ask yourself where you want to be. If you did have a balanced life how would each area of life look like for you? For each life area ask yourself the following questions. Come up with a clear image of each life area and make sure that your goal is measurable. For health and fitness don’t answer ‘I want to be healthy’. Define exactly what healthy means to you. Read my article about goal setting to understand how to set goals correctly.
Health and fitness:
· What is your ideal health?
· How do you want to feel on daily basis?
· How do you want take care of your fitness?
· How much time a week do you want spend on your health? E.g. working out 3 times a week.
Career and business:
· Are you happy with your work life?
· Do you aspire to work elsewhere or do aspire to get promoted?
· What will it take for you to get that promotion?
· Do you want to set up your own business?
· What does happy career mean to you?
· What skill sets do you require to become successful?
· How do you want your finances to look like?
· What do you spend your money on?
· How much money do you want to save every month?
· Are you getting the best deal on your car insurance etc?
· Are you saving enough money for your pension?
· Are you investing? If so, where are you investing your money in?
· What does financial freedom mean to you?
· Are you in a happy relationship?
· With does a happy relationship mean to you?
· What is your love languages and are you currently receiving what you need?
· Do you give what you are partner desires of you?
· What kind of a partner do you want to be?
· What do you value most in a relationship? Do you have it?
· What kind of a person do you want to be?
· What qualities and attributes do you want to have?
· What kind of books do you want to read?
· What kind of information do you want to surround yourself with?
· What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with?
· Do the people around you bring you up or do they bring you down?
· What personality traits do you currently have that you would like to get rid of?
Fun, recreation, and hobbies:
· What are your hobbies?
· How much time would you like to spend your hobbies?
· What are the things you have always wanted to do but never done?
· How do you relax?
· What would you like to do for fun?
· What does spirituality mean to you?
· In what ways would you like to practice your spirituality?
· What would you like to learn about spirituality?
· Do you live in the now or are you more focused on the past or the future?
· How often would you like to be fully immersed in the present moment?
· What wounds would you like/need to heal?
· Do you need to forgive yourself and/or others?
Family and friends:
· How much time do you want to spend with family and friends?
· How often do you want to contact your family and friends?
· When you are with your family and friends, how do you spend your time with them?
· Are you present? Are you thoughtful with your family and friends? Do you remember their birthday?
· How often would you like to see your family and friends?
Now that you have established what balanced life looks like to you, ask yourself for each life area where you are now compared to where you want to be on a scale from 1 to 10. 10 means you are already there and all you need to do is maintain where you are. 0 is you are not doing anything whatsoever. For example, if your health and fitness goal/balance means going to the gym three times a week and a healthy diet every single day with a monthly cheat day, however currently you don't go to the gym but you do maintain a healthy diet you're halfway there. So your current score in this scenario would be 5. If you are completely happy with where you are in as specific life area, then great. Feel free to mark yourself a score of 10 and move on to the next life area.
The goal here is to reach 10 in every single life area. Now, you might be feeling overwhelmed and that's okay. If you have come to a realisation that your life is completely out of balance and it will take a lot of work for you to get where you want be, don't let this stop you, let it motivate you. If you don't start now, when are you going to start? You don't need to start with everything straight away.
The mistake a lot of people make when they want to make a change in their life is that they try to do everything all at once. They want to quit smoking, they want to go vegan, they want to start running, they want to set up their own business, but this is not realistic. Either focus on one area at a time or do a little step, a tiny baby step for each area. If you don't know which way you want to do this try focusing on one area for the next week and then the week after, try doing a little bit for each area. After the first two weeks ask yourself which strategy you preferred.
It is also important to ask yourself how much time you need to invest in each area. This will allow you to find out what is the best strategy moving forward and how to distribute your time correctly. You might not want to try to change everything all at once because it will simply take too much of your time and then you will end up burned out, which is the exact opposite of what this is for. Balanced and harmonious life avoids burnout. So do not get yourself too overwhelmed trying to get there, baby steps will get you there slowly but surely.
You can start focusing on one area every week, or every couple of weeks so you do not get overwhelmed. But remember that once you have focused on your health and fitness and you are now ready to focus on your finance and net worth make sure that you do not stop working on your health.
Another thing to remember is that it is incredibly difficult to have a harmonious life all the time. There may be time where unexpected emergencies will come up at work and you will have to deal with them, which will steal time away from your other areas of life. But I want you to remember that that's okay.
Now that you have a clear goal how you're going to achieve a truly harmonious life by doing something every single day, it's also important to remember to continuously reflect on where you are. At the end of every month write down the list of life areas and do the exercise again and rate yourself on where you are. One month the score for your fitness and health might have been 10, but what happens when summertime comes, and we start going on Holidays and everybody around us is having BBQ every weekend? It is very likely that you will start eating a little bit more junk food and you will start working out a little bit less. And that's okay too. It's important to enjoy our lives. This exercise is not to restrict you, but to enrich you. So if you do want to have a time off from any area of your life then you should. That's also where balance comes from. Just remember to reflect every month so you can get back on track after you've had a little time off. It's also important to remember that your values for each life area will change overtime therefore your idea of a balanced life may vary in the future, which is another reason why reflection is essential.
So why should you even bother doing this?
Here are some benefits for having a balanced and harmonious life.
· Reduce stress.
· Improved mental health being.
· Better relationships.
· Better quality of life.
· Decreased chance of a burn out.
· Better physical health.
· Increased productivity and focus.
This may seem like a chore but it's an investment. Think about how your life will look like and how you will feel once your life is in a complete harmony according to you. How are you going to feel once you know that your finances are in order? How will you feel knowing that your love life is fulfilled and not just for you but for your partner as well? How will you feel once you know that you are giving your friends and your family the attention, time, and effort? Don't waste your life in a constant stress, neglecting yourself and people around you. You got this