Balance


Goals and sub-goals are fantastic things. They list out exactly what we wish to accomplish, mapping the road in front of us clearly, and give us a concise directive…”Lose five pounds in the next two months” or “Enroll in college and start working towards my [bachelors, masters, etc].”

That’s a good thing, right?

Absolutely!

Except…see you knew there was a catch, right?…what if your goals are not aligned with what YOU want? What if your goals were made while thinking about:

  • What others expect from you
  • What your ‘responsibilities’ are to your family, friends, or society
  • What you ‘should be doing’

Why would anyone make decisions based on what others think they should do? Well, unless you have grown up in a pack of wolves, unless you have that very rare sense of self that knows exactly what you want and goes straight after it and lets nothing (and no one) stand in your way, then it isn’t too surprising.

We make decisions every day based on others. We fit into society and move within its boundaries and expectations. We are polite, we say thank you and please. We take turns at stop signs and avoid conflict with our co-workers.

Are we always this way? No! There are times when everyone’s anti-social side takes hold. But the majority of the time a majority of us are working within society’s expectations and conforming to the spoken (and unspoken) rules of conduct.

It is easy to lose yourself in that world. But how much unhappiness stems from compromise and capitulation? As in all parts of our lives, we must find balance.

List out three of your goals.

Right now…I’ll wait.

Okay, got them?

Look at your list and ask yourself, “Why that goal?” List your reasons beside it.

Now look at the reasons and underline them if they are other-based and circle them if they are you-based.

If a goal is other-based it has a far less chance of a) making you happy if it is accomplished and b) being accomplished at all.

If it is you-based, you know that this is a goal that you care about. Finding goals that are aligned with our own inner happiness are far more important than trying to make and achieve goals based on what we think our parents, family or society thinks of us. If we are happy deep inside, if we are accomplishing goals based on our needs and our interests, then it will allow us to grow as individuals. Eventually that growth can lead to us giving back (or not) to our community and those that we love on a scale that is tremendously magnified by our new inner joy.

Creating and striving for goals that benefit us as individuals is not selfish, it is the highest form of benefit we can give to ourselves and it will spread from us to others.

Take some time to sit back and ask yourself, “What is it that I want from my life?” You don’t have to have all the answers. It might be as simple of an answer as, “I want to be happy” or “I want a new career”.

Take it slow. Write down you-based goals that align with your needs and wants and leave the other-based goals at the door for now. Begin to work on them and don’t be afraid to revise them as you go along. Nothing is set in stone, not us and not our goals. Eventually, as you grow happier and more content inside, as you find the peace you have been seeking, your actions will naturally begin to impact those around you in positive ways. In other words, the other-based goals may often occur naturally, without any compromise or sacrifice of your you-based needs.

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Hello everyone!

I apologize for not posting for a while. I’ve been deep in writing.I was surprised to realize that it had been so long.

This past Wednesday I was in having my hair done, as I do every six weeks, and realized I had written about 25,000 words on “Change Your Life” (CYL) in six weeks. Considering all of the other projects I have going on, that was fantastic! I was commenting to the hair stylist about it which segued into the latest chapter I had thought to add when she asked, “Does your brain ever just STOP? I mean, how do you stand it? I guess when you go to sleep…”

I shook my head, “No, I dream about my work, all the time. I wake up four or five times a night thinking about ideas, new chapters, new classes I would like to teach…it’s rather exhausting.”

She just laughed and shook her head. But it caused me to think about how incredibly manic my life can be and I made a few changes:

  • I went home and crossed off several teleclasses I had wanted to squeeze in to my already packed schedule.
  • I sat down on the living room floor with my toddler and played with her new Curious George jack-in-the-box over and over (and OVER) again.
  • After that I took a short half-hour nap (having been awake since 4:30 am).
  • I picked up and then set down three different books I have been ‘meaning to read for research purposes’ and briefly walked through our yard and wished it were spring and green again.

I still woke up at 4:30 am this morning, despite the fact I had no reason to be up at such an early hour. But instead of filling my head with way too much information – I wrote on CYL and sipped my coffee and sat and thought.

My hair stylist was right – I’m tired all the time and distracted. I need to slow down just a wee bit – get a little more sleep and spend more time rolling on the floor with the little one.

But I doubt my brain will ever stop running at its frantic pace…at least not any time soon!

My main focus on CYL this morning has been that of structure rather than in-depth writing. The chapters I have written in the past were put together differently than more recent chapters, so I was trying to get the structure more in line across the board. I stopped at one point and formulated some key points on a chapter that is still under revision – “Get the Balance Right” and had to laugh.

How often do we teach the words and yet not follow the advice?

“You think you’ve got a hold of it all
You haven’t got a hold at all
When you reach the top, get ready to drop
Prepare yourself for the fall, you’re gonna fall
It’s almost predictable

Don’t take this way, don’t take that way
Straight down the middle until next Thursday
Push to the left, back to the right
Twist and turn ’til you’ve got it right

Get the balance right

– Depeche Mode