In a world where we are pulled in all directions all of the time, it’s easy to lose sight of our own needs in the desire to make sure that everyone else’s are met. Whether it be work, children, partner or simply the schedule we set for ourselves, life, for most people, is full to bursting. It is easy to allow one day’s stresses to run into the next like a never ending treadmill that you can’t get off. The resulting overwhelm can leave us feeling exhausted and very much off balance.
Without getting too deep, I bet there are few people who would define the purpose of their life it in the way they are living it. There is a disconnect. We often end up in situations without realising quite how we got there and once there, find it hard to navigate our way out. So we carry on, driven forward by a sense of ‘should’ rather than the ‘could’.
The problem is that there are huge costs associated with living a life that is out of balance and compromised. Stress alone is now known to have a massively detrimental effect on our health, not to mention the waste of precious time being unhappy. The answer? Time out to review and reflect as a matter of urgency.
Here’s a 5 step plan that, simply by stopping and taking action, will deliver immediate improvements and set you on the path towards resetting your life and regaining the balance.
Where are you now?
Every journey has a starting point so it’s good to get clear on exactly where you see yourself right now. What areas of your life are you happiest with and which are causing you the most anguish. Trying to pinpoint the source(s) of the malaise is the first step. Many coaches use the wheel of life to help focus the mind. The key areas of your life are plotted on a circle and it’s your job to rate your happiness in each area out of 10. It’s a quick exercise to do but very effective at pinpointing the aspects that need most attention.
Define the vision
It’s often easier to know what we don’t want and strangely more difficult to evaluate exactly what we do want. Once you have identified the areas that are most in need of attention, the next step is to map out the ideal. The key here is to dream…and dream BIG! Try leaving behind the self-imposed restrictions and silence the ‘but’. This is your chance to do some blue-sky thinking. Some people find that a visual representation works well and vision boards are becoming increasingly popular – plus they are fun to do! Once finished, your vision board will act as a motivator and needs to be installed in a prominent position and viewed regularly.
Once the vision is laid out, it’s time for action. Little and often is the name of the game. Lots of tiny steps are easier to take and together they quickly add up. It’s a much better strategy than trying to move mountains which is generally unsustainable. Keep focused on the goal in hand and only look back to see how far you have come.
When things are tough it is easy to think that there is no way out but we all have the freedom to choose. Progress is simply the outcome of a series of good choices. For example, if you want to lose weight, you have a choice as to whether you eat the slice of cake or not. Whatever your inner voice tells you about how it would be rude not to, or ‘one won’t matter’ is quite simply flawed. Keep making the right choice and success is guaranteed. Some choices can be incredibly challenging but, in my experience, the more challenging it is and the more you are forced out of your comfort zone, the more you are ultimately rewarded.
Ditch the guilt
For many women guilt can be a big part of their psyche. Our nature tells us to put others first and prioritising our own needs does not come naturally. If we are to regain the balance, we need to get used to it! Everyone has one life and it is our responsibility to live it the best we can. There should be no guilt associated in pursuing a path that really matters to us. It is our right to be happy. It is our right to be true to ourselves.
What do you think?