Life balance

Balancing Time And FamilyHave you got your life balance right?

If not, it’s time to re-design your life!

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is changed”

– AnthonyRobbins

So what do I mean by “re-design your life”? I mean that unless you want to end your days regretting all the things you didn’t do (or did do), then NOW is the time to take action. We are not passive participants in life. Everything that happens to us is in direct response to decisions that we have made.

If you’re in a lousy job/relationship, or you are struggling to lose weight then your situation is a direct reflection of a decision which you have made in the past.

We often say to ourselves things like “I must find a better job”, or “I should get out of this relationship” or “I really ought to lose weight”. But none of these statements is a firm decision and commitment to take action. They are just statements of what you think you should be doing.

Until you make a decision and commit to taking action then nothing will change. And that in itself is a decision – to do nothing.

You can either watch the video or continue reading the article below.

The purpose of this article is to help you to look at different areas of your life, assess how well they are working and to give you some ideas on how you can get started and make positive changes.

So first things first, what is your life like right now? To help you to get a sense of how balanced your life is and which areas need working on you will find below a “balance wheel”.

To use the wheel, look at each “spoke” which represents an area of your life. The centre of the wheel is 0, which means that area is just about as bad as it could be and 10 means that it is as good as it could possibly be.

Think how you would rate each area of your life one at a time and make a mark along the spoke. Don’t take too long to do this, your gut instinct or emotional response is the best indicator to how you feel about something. When you have finished, connect all your marks together around the circle. The more uneven your wheel, the more unbalanced your life is, and the rockier your ride!

The titles for each spoke are there as suggestions. If you want to, cross them out and write in your own areas of your life that you want to work on. Add more spokes if you wish.

Once you’ve completed the balance wheel it’s time to look at each area in more detail, one at a time. You might choose to start working with the area which you have given the lowest score to, or that has the most impact on the rest of your life.

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Ask yourself the following questions –

  1. Why have I given this mark for this area of my life?
  2. What would my life be like in this area if I were able to give it a mark of 10?
  3. What changes do I need to make to get to a 10?
  4. Would there be any negative consequence or downside to making those changes? If so, how will I deal with those?
  5. What resources/skills/support do I need?
  6. Where can I get those resources/skills/support?

For example, lets suppose that you scored “hobbies/me time” as 5.

In answer to question 1 you might say that it’s a 5 because you only get an hour a week to sit and read quietly.

In answer to question 2 you might say that in order to score a 10 you would have an hour every day to read in peace.

In answer to question 3 you might say that you could spend less time doing chores and watching TV and that could give you time to read.

Question 4 might suggest that doing less chores could be a problem, or you might miss a favourite TV programme. You could get help with the chores and perhaps decide to record the TV program to give you reading time.

Questions 5 & 6 might identify that your family/partner could do more chores.

Beware of the “Comfort Zone”.

If you’ve scored an area between 4 and 6, you need to be wary of being trapped in the Comfort Zone. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re not that bad either.

When I first did this exercise I only gave myself a score of 5 for my fitness. I’d stopped going to the gym because I didn’t enjoy it and was just doing a bit of exercise at home, a few stretches, yoga, walks at the weekend. I’d put on weight and knew that I wasn’t as strong as I used to be. My profile wasn’t looking how I’d like it to and I’d got into the mindset that “I should do more exercise”, but wasn’t actually doing it. To cap it all, my husband was telling me that he didn’t mind me being more cuddly, he loved me anyway!

I decided that in order to score 10 for my fitness, I had to be exercising 4 – 5 times a week, doing both strength and aerobic work and have my shape back how it used to be. I also wanted my husband to look at me and say I looked really good, both in and out of my clothes!

I’d got into some lazy habits, going home, cooking a meal and watching TV, so I decided to go to an exercise class one night a week and buy a bike.

First off I enrolled in a pilates class and soon learned enough exercises to be able to practice for half an hour 2 or 3 mornings a week before going to work or at the weekend. I bought a bike and started cycling at the weekends with my husband.

A few years later and I love exercising! We both go to the pilates class every week (we love it) and practise at home, I have a Pilates Reformer and a rebounder and make sure that I vary my exercise routines at home so I don’t get bored. I’d now rate my fitness at 9 – just a bit more aerobic exercise needed!

If you’ve placed any score in the Comfort Zone and the idea of enjoying the benefits of being able to score it as 10 isn’t inspiring you to make an action plan, ask yourself “what will I experience in 1 or 2 years time if I continue as I am? What would it be like if my score for this area slipped down to 1 or 2?”

Create a vivid picture in your mind of just how bad things could get if you don’t make any changes and see if that motivates you. People will often do more to avoid pain than achieve pleasure, so use this principle to galvanise you into action.

Make an action plan

Get yourself a pad of paper and a pen and take time NOW to look at each area on the spoke. Be honest with yourself and don’t dismiss any ideas as unrealistic.

Once you’ve completed this part of the exercise you have a “blueprint” for how you can change your life. Now it’s time for you to decide which area you are going to work on first. You might decide to work on the area with the lowest score, or the one where you think you can most easily achieve the changes you want. It’s up to you. Even small changes will help to boost your confidence and can have a knock on effect on the rest of your life.

If you’ve scored an area particularly low, then it can be helpful to think about gradual changes which will incrementally bring your score up to a 10. Sometimes it’s just too big a jump to go from 2 to 10 in one leap.

For instance if you want to increase your fitness score from 2 to 10, think about what action you could take to bring it up to 4 then 6 then 8 and so on.

You’ve got your blueprint, decided where you’ll start and taken action. Well done, this is the first step to achieving the life that you want. But before we move on, I want you to make a firm commitment to taking some action tomorrow to achieve one of your goals. Make sure it’s achievable and DO IT.

“You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.”

– David Viscott

Now it’s time to monitor your thoughts and to make sure that you don’t self-sabotage. Have you ever thought to yourself “I’d love to lose weight and get back to a size 12” and a little voice in your head has whispered “in your dreams”?

It is critically important for you to start thinking of yourself as having already achieved all of the changes that you want to make in your life. If you want to be superfit, then imagine yourself with a fit body and how that would feel. Imagine yourself doing the activities that will make you fit and enjoying them.

If you want a new job earning a high salary, then imagine yourself in that job, having the money and enjoying spending it. Picture yourself going to work each day and all the things you’ll do in the job, hear the positive comments you get from people you work with.

Training your brain to imagine you have already achieved your goals will have a knock on effect on how you feel and what you do. You can enjoy the good feelings from achieving goals even as your work towards them. A superfit person carries themself proud and tall, they make sure they have time to exercise and are careful about the food they put into their body. They take care of themselves.

Someone who is successful in their job has a quiet confidence in themselves which carries through to other areas of their life.

Remember that every thought carries an energy and emotion with it. Every thought brings back to you the experience of that thought. Every emotion is transmitted throughout your biochemistry and directly affects the behaviour and health of every cell in your body. If you keep saying to yourself that you’re not good enough to get the job you want, you won’t even bother trying to get it and you’ll feel pretty lousy about it too.

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.”

– Wayne Dyer

Use this information to your advantage, don’t waste energy talking yourself down and telling yourself what you can’t do. It may be a load of old rubbish, but your brain and your body will still believe it and believe me, that doesn’t feel good!

Use your thoughts and what you say to yourself to re-inforce the belief that you can make changes in your life and you can create the life you want to live. Don’t accept excuses from yourself, if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you always got. If you don’t like what you’ve got, then make changes!

Whatever you focus your thoughts and energy on, you will create in your life. Be careful what you think!

– Lois Francis

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