I get it. You have so many things to take care of and so little time. And there is never enough time to take care of everything. And to add further insult to injury, life keeps getting more complex and more demanding especially due to the new technologies that make it easier and easier to work, talk, and text on the go (but not text and drive of course). This translates of course to employers asking more and more from fewer and fewer employees. And this in turn means that our lives keep getting more and more stressful.
So how can one possibly live a balanced life when life is so demanding? The key is to understand that you CREATE a balanced life. It does not just automatically happen. You need to actually make a conscious effort to make it happen. What that also means is that you have to desire to live differently and live a better life. This possibly means no longer accepting a life filled with victimhood. You know the sayings. Woe is me. I just have bad luck. I just can’t catch a break. I can’t ever get ahead. I wish I had different parents. And the list can go on and on.
But what if you can actually create a life that is a better life? And that you can actually live a better life even though you have had to endure hardship after hardship? What if that were possible? Would you then go for it and make it happen? Or would you sit back and say that only other people can actually experience happy lives? What would you do in this case?
The good news is that ANYONE can life a more fulfilling life. I am proof positive about that possibility and would like to share with you the top 10 ways to live a more balances life and a happier life based on the many life lessons that I have learned over my past 15 years:
10. Make the decision to want to live a more balanced and healthier life. Unless you actually want to make it happen, it probably won’t happen. Have you gotten to the point that you are fed up? Or are you still just accepting the way things are? Do you even realize that your life can dramatically improve if you take the necessary steps? What is critical is to have the desire to experience a better life and take action to make it happen. There really is no need to wait until your fed up or you just can’t stand the pain and suffering anymore. And there is no need to accept living a mediocre life. Just as a top pro athlete dedicates themselves to a life of physical fitness, stricter diet and a more disciplined lifestyle, we must also commit to improvements and changes that will create a better work/play/family balance and lead to more happiness. You deserve an AMAZING and highly fulfilling life. Start today and don’t delay.
9. Take time to plan out a more balanced lifestyle. Determine how you want to spend your time versus just reacting to life and whatever is the most pressing issue of the moment. It really takes conscious effort to create a more balanced lifestyle. It takes desire and will power as it requires to change old habits. It certainly will not happen over night but taking time to actually plan a more balanced day and lifestyle is a key ingredient to success in experiencing a better life.
8. Take up meditation. Yes, I understand. Either you have tried it and “can’t do it” or you have never tried it and “It’s not for me!”. In any case, meditation is one of the best ways to get to a more relaxed and calm state and will also help you handle stressful situations in a more positive way going forward. It’s also shown to promote immunity to illnesses. There is really no right way or wrong way to meditate. In fact there are multiple ways to experience meditation. Most people that I speak to about it say they “can’t do it” because they are unable to quite their mind. Ironically, those are the people that would benefit the most from meditation! All of these ideas and suggestions are really designed to bring more balance and joy into our lives. So in the end it is up to us to decide if we really want to experience more joy.
7. Spend more time connecting with nature and the outdoors. Studies have shows that connecting with nature boosts creativity and health AND reduces stress. So if that is the case, why do some people say “I just don’t like the outdoors”. In the end, it is up to each and every one of us to determine what steps to take to lead a happier and more balanced life. In my experience, that usually means getting outside of our comfort zone and taking the steps to stretch into a “new you”. So if you haven’t enjoyed the outdoors, this is then a perfect opportunity to stretch outside of your comfort zone and try it out! For example, take a ride out to Starved Rock and experience the magnificent views on top of the sandstone bluffs that line the state park. It’s a world famous place and people come from all over the world to enjoy it. Its a great place to connect with nature and to connect with the earth and the beauty of our natural surroundings.
6. Work fewer 40+ hour workweeks. I know. This is going to be such a challenge for the workaholics. But the bottom line is about living a balanced life. All work and no play will only lead you to no play! What is the benefit of working long hours and earning “lots” of money if you are not actually spending time with family and friends. For those that do work extra long hours, I always ask the following question: “what or who are you avoiding?” If a company truly cares about its employees, upper management will want to encourage balance within the ranks of the employees. And if the upper brass does not promote wellness, then it may be a sign that the upper management is truly interested in simply earning more money and is not as interested in the overall health and well being of the staff.
5. Go for your dream career. The people that are the happiest LOVE what they do and how they spend their time. So why not do the same. If you really would like to start a pastry shop, then do it. The challenge for most is that it is much easier to come up with excuses as to why it can’t be done. Can you say “VICTIM?” For example, “I have a spouse and children and it’s too risky” or “I just don’t have the money” or “I don’t have the time” or “I am too afraid of failure”. In the end, go back to point #1 and see if you really are serious about living a happier life and then then come back to #5. If you are serious about #1, then you will FIND the time and FIND the money and FIND the resources to actually make your dream job and/or career a reality.
4. Surround yourself with people, organizations and vendor partners who promote a better you. If you want to live more positively and feel better and live more worry free, then it is critical that you surround yourself with companies, organizations, and people that are going to promote wellness and a healthier lifestyle. For example, let’s say you have some friends who are negative and always complain. If you choose to continue to hang around with these people who are always complaining, they are not exactly going to inspire you to live a better life. They are stuck in negativity. On the other hand, if you choose to surround yourself with positive people, they will most likely cause you to live a happier life just by the fact that you are around more positive minded people.
Another example is a condo association that has a management company that is performing very poorly and things are constantly falling through the cracks. The board responds to this situation by threatening the management company and says that if the service does not improve “We are then going to fire you”. The board in the meantime, has to constantly put in extra effort to pick up the pieces and overcompensates for the sub par performance of the management company. The management company improves a little but then things deteriorate once again. This cycle then repeats itself and the board never ends up switching companies. In this circumstance which is actually VERY common, the board chose to maintain a dynamic that was very unhealthy for the board members, the homeowners and even for the management company.
Threats are never a good way to cause a vendor to improve service. The board should have provided critical feedback with a positive intent to get the management company to improve its performance. In the meantime, the board of directors should shop for alternative management companies in the event the board did not see sustainable improvements from the current provider. And the board should switch to a better performing management company that will generate more positive energy and outcomes for the community and everyone involved rather than remaining stuck in a negative situation and complain about the management company.
In the end, why not surround yourself with people, organizations and vendor partners that operate in a way that makes your life better!
3. Live your life as a “net giver”. By this, I mean to live life in a way that you are giving more than receiving. For some people, they would respond to this by saying “I’m just trying to make ends meet!”. The only problem is that with this mentality, you will always be making ends meet and never get out of that dynamic. So it is important to shift the thinking about how to live life from always thinking “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I help make the work a better place?”. You will be pleasantly surprised on how different the feelings are when you actually experience the two different scenarios.
2. Strive to live “drama free”. Yes, I know. You love Reality TV! It’s so entertaining! It’s so full of DRAMA! But the question is “How does living in drama serving you and those loved ones around you?” In my experience, drama creates negative energy and usually does not leave you feeling real good about yourself. On the other hand, it probably is impossible to truly live a drama free life but what is important is to actually strive to live drama free. There has been much research on drama and there is a concept called the drama triangle. It involves three aspects which are: Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. If you are curious about learning more about this topic, feel free to Google “Drama Triangle”. None of the three roles in the drama triangle is a role that anyone should want to play if you truly want to live a stress free and happier life.
1. Personal growth and personal improvement. Just think for a moment. How do the best athletes and Olympic medalists get to that level? They train really hard and push themselves to improve. In the same way, if you want to live a happier life and live a better life, you must push yourself and improve. It’s the same concept but in one instance, it is about improving through athletic training and in the other instance it’s about improving oneself through personal improvement. That requires a lot of work and dedication. It certainly does not happen overnight. Just as an athlete does not transform into an Olympian overnight. It takes years of hard work and dedication. The question is “Are you hungry enough to want to live a happier and more balanced life?” It means reading books and seeking feedback from others and actually wanting to become a better person. It also means having an open mind to other possibilities on how to be as a human being. However you were raised and however you were in the past might not be the ideal way to be going forward. In the end, it is up to you on how hungry you are to be a better person and to live a more balanced life which in turn leads to a happier life which leads to experiencing greater satisfaction.
Well what are you waiting for? Let’s get to work!