Can you really have a more balanced life in 3 steps while living with a chronic illness?
Have you ever had that feeling like something just wasn’t right? Perhaps you couldn’t quite put your finger on it, something was out of whack, but you just weren’t sure what it was. Often there wasn’t anything Earth shattering going on-your loved ones were healthy, work was fine, everything seemed in order at your house. What you were feeling may just have something to do with balance. When our priorities are out of alignment with where we spend our time and energy, our lives can feel a bit left-of-center. It isn’t until we slow down and examine how we actually spend our time that our priorities become clear, not by our words, but by our actions. You really can find a more balanced life in 3 steps.
Like pretty much everyone, I always get a bit reflective around New Year’s Day. Everyone walks around talking about resolutions for the coming year and they always seem to circle around the same things: get healthy, find a better job, spend more time with family, save money… These are all noble thoughts but they never last (at least for me anyway-am I alone in that?!?!). Inevitably, if you ask me in June if I remember what they are, my answer will probably be nope, not a clue. This leads me to this post, the first in a multi-part series on restoring balance in life. It is about getting back to basics and clearing out the cobwebs, not some vague notion of what I’d like to “resolve” to do in the new year. Rather, it is the start of a clear path of aligning my values, goals, ideals, and priorities. I hope that you come along with me on this journey of discovering exactly what our priorities are and deciding if our lives are an accurate reflection of those priorities. This is balance. If our lives are balanced we will be content. We will be satisfied. We will feel complete.
Step One: If you had to decide today what your priorities are, what would you list?
Think of your top 5 things and order them from most important to least important. Financial security? Time with family/friends? Developing a more willing spirit or deeper faith? A new car? A new career? More money? Your health? An organized home? A clear conscience?
Step Two: How do you divide your time?
Think of three average days, what activities do you typically do in those 72 hours? How much time is spent doing each activity? Make a pie chart to help visualize (I did!), you might be surprised. What percentage of time do you spend doing things that don’t reflect your priorities? How closely does your list of priorities actually match up with the amount of time you spend on those priorities in your day?
Step Three: Compare and Reflect
-Did you list family time as your top priority but notice that in three days you haven’t done anything significant to further those relationships? Did you list an orderly home as a priority but habitually let dishes pile up in the sink and clutter fill every horizontal surface? The key here is honesty. Don’t list things that you think are “right.” There aren’t any right or wrong answers. If things don’t line up the way you want them to, make changes. If your priority is financial security, do you chose to watch tv or play on your phone instead of working some overtime or picking up an odd job to add to your savings? If you say education is a priority, when was the last time you took the time to learn something new? Until our true priorities are aligned with what we chose to do with our time, we will never truly feel balanced.
Again, this is a perfect scenario- sometimes things in life happen outside of our control. We end up spending more time than we’d like doing things that we would rather not be doing to ultimately meet one need or another. Family is top priority, but we end up working some extra over time to make sure the ends meet at the end of the month. Doing the laundry probably isn’t a “priority” but maybe having a neat and orderly home is, so you spend more time than you’d like folding clothes. All if that is life, it doesn’t mean your life is out of balance. Where we go wrong is when we consistently make choices that don’t match up with what we profess our priorities to be. Change your choices or change your priorities.
Stay tuned for Part II in the Balance series, “Clean Out Your Junk.” Where I will show you all the “junk” I cleaned out this past Sunday!
Until then, don’t forget to make every day a Sunday with a smile!