by Guillermo Mendoza, ICC Trainer in United States of America
Everybody wants a happy, relaxed, stressfree life, but we struggle everyday to achieve it. Modern life imposes so many demands on us. We have to work or have an income generation activity to be able to pay our way, we have to fulfill our duties as a father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter and comply with all the expectations that different family members have of us.
We have to find some time to exercise or practice a sport so we take care of our bodies now and not later with problems from being overweight or other problems derived from not doing exercise.
We would like to study or read sometimes and continue nurturing our mind and knowledge.
We would like to have some time for friends or social activities; there is no shortage of people we can relate with but not enough time to nurture those relationships.
Some of us would like time to meditate, pray or to take care of our relationship with God or whatever our faith or religion may be.
And let’s not forget that we all would love to devote some time to our hobbies and interests sometimes long forgotten or not practiced as often as we would like.
Finally some of us would like to give back to society and be involved in altruistic or social activities but never find the time since it is not a priority.
So many things, so little time, so much to do and not enough hours in the day to complete all these activities. I have many clients looking for solutions on how to balance life, how to organize themselves and their time to have a more fulfilling, balanced life where those feelings of not doing the right things or not feeling happy because we are neglecting some of them arise.
I am convinced a happy, stressfree life is a balancing act. The people that seem to be more happy and relaxed are those that have a clear understanding of what the key areas in their lives and keep a good balance of time and activities around them.
But where to start? How do we untangle our stressed life to aim for balance and focus on what we want? I suggest following a 5 step formula to help us at least organize our ideas, start a plan and act to get that balance:
1. Define the key areas that are really important for you. Be honest and review it. For example: areyou doing exercise because you like it or because the doctor said it is a good thing to do. Do you pray and go to church because you are developing a better relationship with God? or because you were taught to do it every week to be an example to your kids. Do you work in something you are passionate about? Or are you trapped in an unfulfilling job? Are you really social and longing for friends or you don’t really care? Ask yourself can I live without this? And if not how much time and how often should I really do it to feel content and happy? Not all of us have the same key areas in our lives, not all of us have the same level of importance for each of the key areas in our life. Define well what gives you happiness.
2. Evaluate your level of satisfaction for your key areas. Once you have clarity on what the real key areas are for you, evaluate each of them from 1 to 10 and decide how happy you are with the time and results you are getting in that area. This will show what areas are not causing any conflict and what areas are giving you those stressful feelings of not doing enough. Take those results and see what is more neglected, what areas are most abandoned in terms of time and results that you would like to change.
3. Define a goal and make a plan. Choose the area that if you do something will have the greatest impact in your life, the one that will help to create balance, happiness and even will help some of the others to improve. And for that area define a smart goal: exactly what do I need to do? How would I know I did it? What is the evidence? Is it doable? How will it contribute to my overall balance and happiness? And when will I do it? Remember this clear definition is not enough, create a plan with at least 10 different activities that you could do to achieve that goal.
4. Execute your plan. Remind yourself, with a system that works for you, to think, talk and do something about your new goal EVERY day, to advance your activities; and if not, constantly reviewing what do you need to do it. Most of the time it is discipline, and if your answer is time, take a little time from the areas that were well rated and have more than enough of your time.
5. Be happy to make others happy. Remember to aim for balance and a rewarding feeling that comes from devoting time to the things that are important for you, and from the satisfaction that you are not forgetting any of them; you are doing something about it no matter how little. Don’t get trap on doing everything for others at the expense of your own happiness. The best way to make others happy is by being a balanced happy person first; you cannot give what you don’t have. Be happy, stay happy, and make others happy!
Need help with all this? Get a good Coach!