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Achieving The Elusive Goal of Balance

15025418 - harmony and balance

Achieving balance is a struggle and it is constant because change is constant and the pace of life is fast and furious.   Like the pursuit of success, it is a goal that is fleetingly achieved because the bar is then either raised or changed.   Shifting your mindset on this goal, developing awareness of your limiting beliefs and practicing new habits will set a guiding course for centering yourself in the pursuit of balance.


Start by shifting your mindset from thinking about balance as a final goal to thinking about it as a process. Rather than trying to stay balanced, think of yourself as practicing balance over and over again.   That calm and contented state that being balanced brings can be fleeting.   But practicing habits that support balance can lead to sustained feelings of well-being.


Reflect on your personal priorities. How much of your daily life is dedicated to your personal well-being, your spouse or partner, your family, your career, your friends? How does this compare to what you would like it to be? Fill in the following table:


Actual Time Spent Ideal Time Spent
Self % %
Spouse, Partner % %
Family % %
Career % %
Friends % %

The obstacle course between current reality and the ideal alignment (the achievement of balance) is different for each person.   Some of the obstacles are external factors (things that happen to us) while others are internal (beliefs, self-talk, emotions).   Focusing on internal obstacles, here are things to consider:


  1. How do you define yourself?   Are you a superman or superwoman – someone who must do it all? Do you find it difficult to let others know that you have limits? Does your competitive nature keep you from sharing or delegating?   Does it diminish your importance to have someone else perform capably? Consider making a change to this self-image and recognize that these beliefs do not support your goal of achieving balance.


  1. Are you proactive?   Do you allow external forces, circumstances or forces to control your life? Do the never-ending demands of your job encroach on your family life? Being Proactive is Habit #1 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey).   Proactive people identify and work in their circle of influence – they work on the things they can do something about. They change their own behavior or habits.   They seek to influence the habits of others. And they let go of problems that they have no control over.


  1. Confront the brutal facts.   The basic human need for approval, acceptance and self-esteem causes stress when the day does not allow for all that we want to cram into it. It’s a brutal fact that we can’t do it all and decisions made based upon emotions rather than facts rarely lead to success. Choose actions that bring the results that you want rather than satisfying the wants of others.


  1. Speak up.   Emotions often get in the way of speaking up.   It is uncomfortable to say “no” to a request. It is easier to be a pleaser and feel the warmth of approval or avoid the discomfort of disapproval. Recognize that this emotion will quickly pass while the effect of not speaking up can be much more impactful and long lasting.   Learn the basics of the art of communication – how to deliver your message while preserving the relationship. Then take action to break through the barrier of inertia.


When you shift your mindset to recognize that achieving balance is an on-going process you can take difficulties in stride. You know that change is constant and proactively keeping your eyes on your priorities will help to keep you grounded. You can believe in your abilities to cope and make choices. You have the foundation for managing the external obstacles that show up and work against your priorities.




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