On a scale of 1-10, how good are you at finding balance in life?
Are you an “all work, no play” kind of person – or do you invest just as much time in your personal life as you do in your professional life?
How much time and energy do you invest in your relationships… your physical and mental health… your spiritual life… and your sense of community to “give back” to others?
All of these aspects of your life are just as important as your job or career – and creating a balance between them isn’t a selfish act! Indeed, it is the secret to a happy and fulfilling life.
When you neglect key aspects of your life and don’t work on maintaining a balance between all the different areas of your life, you will experience more stress and dissatisfaction, often feel overwhelmed, and find it challenging to find the harmony and well-being you crave.
Today I’d like to share some tips on how to find balance in life so you are able to experience more joy and contentment in everything you do.
But first, let’s talk about what living a balanced life actually looks like.
Types of Life Balance
When we talk about “life balance,” most people automatically think of work-life balance – the conflict between your free time and the time you devote to your job or career.
But living a balanced life is so much more than balancing your work life with your personal life! It’s about setting goals and achieving optimal health in all aspects of your life: relationships, work, money, fitness, physical health, personal fulfillment, and even spiritual happiness.
It’s Not Just About How You Spend Your Time
Creating a balanced life means making time for the things you have to do, as well as the things you want to do. But it also means taking care of your body and your mental health – and committing to regular physical exercise, getting enough sleep, and devoting time to becoming a better person and making a positive impact on the world.
(These things aren’t selfish! They are necessary to show up in the world as your best self, which is to everyone’s clear benefit.)
Why is Finding Life Balance So Important?
Finding balance in your life is the same as finding balance on your feet – it gives you the stable foundation you need to stand tall and confident while maintaining the flexibility and agility to respond quickly to the events around you.
Balance in all areas of your life brings happiness, peace, and contentment and gives you a better perspective on your experiences. It gives you solid grounding and makes it easier for you to take risks, tackle challenges, and bounce back faster from any setbacks you encounter.
Greater balance in your life also helps decrease stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact your well-being and make it harder for you to achieve your desired outcomes in life.
The problem is, with the nonstop “busyness” of modern living, finding the right balance in life is easier said than done. We are barraged by constant challenges from without and within that cause us to focus too much on one aspect of our lives to the detriment of everything else.
The first step to finding balance is getting clear on what these challenges are and how best to deal with them.
External Challenges to Balance in Your Life
When we think of the things that stand in the way of finding balance in life, our thoughts usually go straight to the external challenges first.
By “external,” I’m talking about those challenges that exist outside of ourselves – the external factors created by the demands of our busy schedule, our home and family, work, school, community, and our extended family as well.
So for you, these external challenges to create balance might be the circumstances of your job, the people you live and work with, the traffic on your commute, the price of gasoline, or the evening news. When you’re feeling off-kilter, it’s easy to point to these things first and say, “THAT’S why I’m having a hard time finding balance!”
Blaming External Factors Robs You of Agency
But if you approach life by pointing to these external factors as the reason for your lack of balance, you ignore your own capacity to change things for the better. For example, if things are going wrong at work, your response might be to spend long hours in the office, sacrificing other areas of your life to make things right in this particular area.
But this just leads to more problems. You stop eating healthy, balanced meals and taking care of your body. You don’t spend enough time with the people who love you, and your relationships suffer.
And you feel so disconnected from society, you’re starting to get depressed. So now you have a new batch of challenges to deal with, and dealing with them causes new problems in other areas until it becomes a vicious cycle.
That’s why, if you focus only on dealing with the external challenges of life, you’ll never be able to find the lasting balance you crave.
Internal Challenges to Finding Balance in Life
The best place to find balance is within. Just like yogis begin any balancing posture by grounding themselves in awareness of their own internal foundation, cultivating a strong sense of internal stability and “rootedness,” the best way to achieve work-life balance is also to begin by looking within.
Because the fact of the matter is, the biggest threats to maintaining balance come from your own mind. I’m talking about the attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and expectations you have that present you from showing up as your best self and being able to create balance in your entire life.
Until you deal with these internal challenges, all of your attempts to overcome the external challenges will earn you only a temporary reprieve.
The Best Place to Start Is Your Own Mind
A daily mindfulness meditation practice can help you become more aware of your thoughts so you can release the ones that don’t serve you and choose instead to think more positive things that allow you to show up in the world in a more positive way.
It also helps you cultivate greater mental calm and stillness, which will increase your sense of internal balance and allow you to maintain a more balanced and insightful perspective on everything that’s happening in the world.
Just be sure that as you work on achieving greater internal balance, you don’t neglect other areas of your life! With everything, there must be a balance – even the act of finding balance. You don’t want to become so self-reflective that you miss out on the experience of living!
Finding Balance in Your Life
I’ve written about how to create balance in work and life before. But different approaches can work for different people, so if you’re feeling untethered and struggling to find greater peace and harmony, the following steps may help you get your life aligned.
Acknowledge & Examine Where You Feel Balanced (And Not)
Take some time to really look at your life and explore your own state of mind and how your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors may be standing in the way of your attempts to create balance.
Be honest with yourself and notice the areas that you’ve been neglecting. The first step in solving the problem is acknowledging it exists and recognizing the impact it is having on your experience. I find that journaling is an effective tool for this.
Set SMART Goals
Once you are clear on where you’re lacking balance, do the necessary work to figure out what you need to do to restore balance in those particular areas, then set clear SMART goals that give you a clear path to creating the balance you seek. (SMART goals are ones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.)
Chunk Down Big Goals into Small Tasks
Once you are clear on your most important goals, chunk them down into bite-sized tasks and make a list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that you will need to do in the near future to achieve your goals and create balance in all areas of your life.
Find Supportive Relationships
Surround yourself with a support system of people who love you and want you to find the happiness you deserve. If you find yourself getting sucked into other people’s endless drama or dealing with energy vampires who suck you dry and never seem to give anything back, it’s time for you to find a higher caliber of friends and family to spend your quality time with.
Take Control & Say ‘No’
It’s okay to say no to things! Balance is impossible without clear boundaries defining what you are willing to do and what you are NOT willing to do. So don’t be afraid to say no to things that are taking you away from your true priorities.
Saying no isn’t a selfish act, it’s making sure you have what you need to show up as your best self. And when you say “no” to what you don’t want, you open the door for what you DO want.
The current online “news” landscape has a huge impact on how balanced and connected we feel! So if you’re feeling at all depleted or discombobulated and finding it hard to find balance, a great thing to do is unplug and take a digital break, so you can replenish your energy and attention reserves and remember what really matters most.
Spend time with friends and family. Go for a walk in nature. Read a book to grow your deep understanding of a topic (rather than gaining superficial knowledge from the day’s headlines). This will help you remain grounded and protected from the endless rage-baiting we see online these days.
Always Put Yourself First
Too many people believe that being a “good person” requires you to always put other people’s needs first! But in fact, the opposite is true. It’s like when you’re on a plane – if the oxygen masks come down you have to put your own mask on first before you can help someone else. Otherwise, you’re likely to pass out before you can help anyone.
So as you plan your life, be sure to schedule plenty of time for your own self-care and happiness. If your muscles are hurting, go for a massage. If you’re tired, get some sleep!
By taking care of your needs first, you empower yourself to become a better example (and a better caretaker) to others.
Focus on Today
One of the biggest challenges to finding balance is dealing with the overwhelm which seems baked into modern life. If you find yourself constantly feeling anxiety over everything you have to do to achieve your big goals (or even maintain the status quo), my number one stress management tip is to take it one day at a time. The only time you can ever possibly make an impact is right now, at this very moment!
So focus your time and energy on the here and now instead of regretting the past or worrying about the future – and you’ll get better results, every time.
Balance is Key
If you want to experience true happiness and fulfillment, you must make balance a priority. This means implementing a regular mindset practice to help you find internal balance. Even five minutes a day will yield significant results!
But it also means getting clear on all the things you need to do to cultivate more balance in all areas of your life – and then taking relentless action and moving forward toward your goals. Because a goal without action is just a dream!
The good news is that I have a free guide that will make it easier for you to identify your goals and take consistent action toward making your vision a reality. My 12-Month Success Planner gives you the tools and templates you need to create your unstoppable action plan.