Well, you are not alone. In today’s busy times many of us juggle many responsibilities and make commitments that demand our time and attention. So, fitting in things such as regular exercise may be one of the balls that you put down from time to time. But it shouldn’t be. Midgie Thompson shows you how to achieve a healthier balance and how to decide which balls you can put down from time to time.
Your ideal life
It can be challenging to manage all our different roles and responsibility, our obligations and our commitments. Yet, by taking some time to stop and reflect upon what your ideal life would be like gives you time to think about where you could possibly make some changes.
The first step in becoming a better juggler is to think about what your ideal is in the first instance. How do you want to be living your life and what do you want to be doing? It’s very much like goal setting for your exercise programme, when you think about what objectives you want to achieve before making a plan, you think about what goals and objectives you want to achieve in your life.
Creating a picture of the different roles and responsibilities you are taking on, what you are doing and how you are leading your life is a good starting point. Give yourself permission to let your imagination run, with child-like abandonment, to all your ‘ideal’ possibilities.Then knowing where you want to go, you need to take a look at where you are now. What you are currently doing, how you are currently living your life and what is important to you?
What’s important to YOU
To help identify what is really important to you, look at the different roles and responsibilities you currently have in your life. You might be a parent, brother/sister, son/daughter, a fitness enthusiast, a (insert your job title here), a community volunteer, a friend and supporter, among so many others ‘roles’ you play in life.
Then ask yourself what areas are important to you? The easy answers might be family, friends, work, community, but what about health and wellbeing, personal growth, travel and adventure, or security (financial or other), or contribution to others? There is no right or wrong answer, you simply need to take stock of what is important to you.
Now, compare the different roles and responsibilities with what is important to you. Are they the same or are there some areas that are missing for you? Perhaps your health and well-being is important yet you are not taking time to exercise or eat healthy food. Or, perhaps community contribution is important to you, yet you are not making any time for it.
As you take a step back to see all the different roles, responsibility and commitments as part of a bigger picture of your life, decide what your priorities are. Make sure you answer what you want as your priority, rather than what you think others want of you or expect of you!
This stock-taking and prioritisation exercise will help illuminate what is currently happening in your life and what is important. This will then provide pointers to where you might consider making some changes. That’s where the juggling comes in.
Juggling those balls
“This is where knowing what your list of priorities are helps…”
If you have time for all the important things in your life and spend a satisfactory amount of time on each thing then that’s great. However, if you have a sense that you’d like to spend more time with one area and less time on another or when you have a dilemma about making a choice between two different activities then you need to do something about it.
This is where knowing what your list of priorities are helps. From then on you can create boundaries for what and when you are willing to do certain things. When you are facing a dilemma about what to do between two conflicting choices you need to take a look at your prioritised list of what is important and see if that helps you make the decision.
For example, if health and well-being comes before social and you are in a dilemma about whether to go out with your friends or go to the gym then it’s easy to say go to the gym. You can always join your friends after your work out. Additionally, you might be able to delegate certain responsibilities or put some things off to a later time.
You might be able to enlist some support from others in a similar situation. Swapping child-care responsibilities with another parent while you go do your exercise is another option. Maybe it means putting off a work commitment to ensure you get to the gym and do your workout. Overall, it’s about knowing what is important to you and making time for it, while letting some things go or take a back-seat for a while or simply letting things go.
* Create your ideal picture: decide what your ideal life looks like and what you are doing when you are leading a more balanced and healthier life.
*Get a sense of where you are now: get a clear idea of what you are currently doing, what roles, responsibilities and commitments you have taken on.
*Make some choices: decide what is important to you and what changes you could make to work towards your ideal life.
To help you make those decisions, complete the following statements: In order to lead a more balanced, healthier and happier life, I need to …
-Start doing … (insert what action is appropriate and relevant for you).
-Stop doing …
-Continue doing …
-Do more of …
-Do less of …
-Do differently …
Juggling all those responsibilities you have in your life comes down to making choices. Perhaps some tough choices however, taking a look at thebroader picture of your life might make it easier as to which choices to make.
On a final note
To help you lead a more balanced, healthier and happier life, take some time to think how you wish to go forward. Think about what your ideal life would be like (being realistic yet optimistic) and then think about what is important to you. When you consider what is important now and what your roles and responsibilities are, how does this align with your ideal life?
What changes can you make now and what boundaries can you put in place of the things you are willing to do and not willing to do. And as importantly what boundaries can you put in place to ensure you do what you need to do for yourself.
You might be able to enlist the help of others where appropriate to help you lead a more balanced life.You might need to delegate a job or even let some things go. However, by taking the bigger picture into consideration of your life, you will more clearly be able to make decisions that help you lead a more balanced, healthier and happier life.