I recently taught a seminar on balance, and in that seminar, I urged the participants to jot down the things in life they loved and were passionate about. I asked them to write and write and write until the words stopped. Then I asked them to mark their passions as “hobby” or “habit.” For example: If you enjoy working out and feeling and being healthy, but you are an inconsistent gym “goer,” then it’s just a hobby.
I encourage you to make your own list of passions and label them. If you are serious about hobbies becoming staples in your life, these must become habits. Categorize the items from your list by importance and then begin the steps to reach the big picture in each of those items.
How do hobby and habit items transfer into balance? Balance isn’t about time management, but better boundary management. Balance isn’t about what you find, but what you create. So, if your hobby items are important to you, and you want them to be habit, create it! Finding balance is ultimately the ability to maintain an honest engagement with yourself, all while being aware of these 5 little words: DO, THINK, SAY, EAT and FEEL. They all require awareness, and when you are aware, you grow, and when you grow, you have moments of Balance. It’s a journey.
Below are 5 tips to help you strive for balance in your own world.
- Balance is not a final goal, but an ongoing process. Being balanced is not the feeling of being calm, relaxed, and content all of the time. Rather than trying to stay balanced, think of yourself as practicing balance, over and over again.
- Prioritize. In the book The Effective Executive, by Peter Drucker, he talks about the importance of setting goals, deciding which are most important, and then, doing the most important things first. However, each day may be a bit different: Is checking your email more important than calling your grandmother? Is taking a hot shower more important than talking to your best friend for the third time today? In order to stay on course, you need to have a Habit vs. Hobby list and your goals to those items, to help you prioritize so you don’t lose focus or struggle with your path to better balance.
- Set both long and short term goals. In business, this is called “Tactics and Strategy.” Strategy is the longterm goal, the big picture. Tactics are the combination of short term goals that will help get you to your longterm goal. For example: You may want to write a book (the big picture). You will then have many small tactics to get to that big picture, like writing for a blog or meeting with a writing group each week.
- Be specific. It’s more useful to say, “I’m going to attend five spin classes this week” than to say, “I’m going to go to spin class this week.” Intention is a great concept, but it’s also a vague one. And since it’s so vague, it’s hard to know whether or not you’ve accomplished that goal, which makes it hard to feel in balance.
- Remember that it’s often easier to find balance with another person. Close your eyes and picture the last time you felt balanced. Was there another person involved? The answer is most likely, “yes.” This balancing act involves not only individual strength, but interactive support. The key word here is interactive—if you’re bearing all the weight, you can’t get balanced. But if you’re not carrying your share, you won’t get balanced either. What’s most important is not how much weight one person carries at any given time, but how you interact with one another, drawing from and giving energy to each other.
A great quote by Mindy Bacharach states: “Balance is the process of holding something(s) steady during change.”
I will leave you with my final thought: Sometimes we all get so busy that we lose sight of what is important and who it is important to. Remember, JUST BREATH!
Peter Drucker: The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to getting the Right Things Done
Mindy Bacharach: Inspirational teacher, Yoga instructor and spiritual leader