Life is Like Riding a Bicycle (Part 3 /5)

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Alberta Einstein

As illustrated in the diagram above, there are a number of life ‘wheels’ that we need to keep moving in order to stay balanced.  Just because we have defined what our own personal life balance entails, and we have worked hard to achieve some sense of that balance, doesn’t mean that we have arrived at the destination and all is good for the remainder of our lives.

Just like weight loss or good grades, we have to constantly work on maintaining it.  This is actually the harder part because it’s easier to slip back into our old, comfortable ways than to carry on the workload required to sustain a new, improved life aspect.  Furthermore, we have to continue to move in the direction of constant improvement, or we will only fall behind.

Creating Lasting Habits

Using the analogy of keeping our weight loss down or maintaining good grades, we have to take the necessary steps to push through change and create new, lasting habits that will become engrained in our everyday way of living.  Here is a collaboration of useful tips that I have learned over the years from people that have worked incredibly hard to maintain weight loss, quit smoking, retain good grades and, of course, achieve their own life balance (and, FYI, these tips can be applied to pretty much ANY area of your life to obtain positive results):

1. Measure your progress daily – Daily because there will be moments when you feel completely in control and on top of your game… and moments when you need to muster all of the self-control and will power just to keep going.  You need to see the results, no matter how tiny, in order to believe that what you are doing is actually working.  You can also celebrate your small successes along the way, which creates pleasure in your journey and further motivation to continue.

2. Only do it if it moves you forward or makes you happy – Especially in this world of immediate gratification and constant communication, we tend to waste so much of our time on tasks that provide no benefit to our work or personal lives.  Because so much these days requires an immediate response, we tend to spend too much time on the urgent and not enough time on the important.  Those things that are important but not urgent usually get shuffled to the bottom of the pile, but are crucial to moving forward (i.e. family planning, introspective work, creating a Will, and so on):

It’s obvious to note, then, that making sure we are always mindful and doing something important helps us to continue to move forward productively… which, in turn, provides us with a greater feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction (a.k.a. Happiness).

3. Set goals and prioritize – I know you’ve heard this many times.  Setting goals and prioritizing your life is an important step in creating balance because it helps you to always be moving forward.  You simply will not be able to put solid order in your life if you do not know what is most important to you and set concrete objectives to focus on.

4. Schedule everything – As a tool for helping to set goals and prioritize, make sure that you schedule time/activities with family members and friends, date night with your spouse, workouts, etc. on your calendar. If it’s scheduled in writing, it’s more permanent and other urgent but not as important things that crop up won’t take over; it’s easier to organize your life and make sure that you are able to measure your progress towards balance.

5. Learn how to say ‘No’, positively – Sometimes the ability to say ‘No’ is greater and has a far more positive influence on our lives than the ability to say ‘Yes’.  It empowers us to make the necessary decisions to remain focused on what’s important to us.  Obviously, that’s not to mean that you have to say ‘No’ to anything that is not directly related to your own benefit – it’s just honing the skill to be able to choose (in a positive way) if it’s something worthwhile or if it has no meaning to your life.  This is directly related to Tip #2 = “Only do it if it moves you forward or makes you happy”, otherwise learn to say ‘No’ in a positive way.

6. A healthy, balanced life requires a healthy body – If you haven’t got this message yet from one source or another, you’re not paying attention!  Eating well and being physically active helps to increase our productivity and longevity, lower stress, improve our ability to focus, build our confidence, develop better disciplines and, ultimately, move us forward to a healthier, more balanced life.  Even balancing your daily vitamin intake can have dramatic effects on improving your life in many areas. Sorry, but it is simply a fact of life and I can’t stress it enough.  You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete, just get active, eat healthier, do healthier activities and watch the positive results gain momentum.

“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.” – Brian Tracy

If there is anything we can do to help you out, feel free to reach out to get your work and personal life back on track.

Next up: Part 4, our “Work-Life Balance Pie Chart.
See part 2: “The Work/Life Balance Conundrum.”

– Nick Thompson
Co-Founder & President of VEA

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