Thursday, May 28, 2015

Never Surrender Your Dream to Your Challenges

What does it mean to be balanced?

I feel balanced when I have a handle on the various different elements in my life and I don’t feel that my heart or mind are being pulled too hard in any direction. More often than not, I feel calm, grounded, clear-headed, and motivated.  Here are some things I do for myself to help create balance.

1. I savor something small every day. I give myself permission to indulge in something I enjoy every day.  I allow myself the pleasure of enjoying the little moments without multitasking, without checking my email, or cleaning up the house.  I allow myself some me time.  Savoring these small, everyday experiences makes my day a lot happier.

2. I make tiny bits of progress every day. While I know the big picture is incredibly important to my future, I allow myself to forget the big goals for a moment, and instead I focus my attention on a single goal I want to achieve.  I commit myself to making a tiny bit of progress every day. Research shows this is the best way to actually achieve your goals.

3. I make it a point to be a little kinder to myself. In general, we are our harshest critics. We defeat ourselves with negative self talk.  How many times have you compared yourself to someone else, measured their success against your own, and then berated yourself for not measuring up. Whenever negative thoughts creep into my head, I ask myself, would you talk like this to a friend? If the answer is no, then I drop the thought. I make it a point to treat myself with the same kindness and compassion I give to those I love.

4. I give myself permission to have a bad day. We all have good days and we all have bad days, that is life. Personally, I am a person that tries to fix things because I don't like feeling bad, so when something goes wrong my automatic instinct is to try and make it right, but some bad days can't be made better.  It's life, and sometimes things spiral out of control and everything just goes wrong. It happens, your bad day catches up to you, and you’re probably feeling rotten because nothing is going your way. In moments like these, you just have to let it happen, and accept that the day is not going to get any better. You can't fight it, and there is no point in trying. When this happens to me, I give myself permission to have a bad day. I know on days like these that I am not going to get a lot accomplished. I accept that I don't have what is necessary at that time to make things better right away, and well, if the best thing I can do is go curl up in bed and just wait for the day to end, then that is awesome.

5. Sometimes I do less. I have plenty of big home projects that I am planning, but I've also been putting them off because I don't have the time to accomplish them, and that weighs on me.  For now, I consider that certain projects are just not something I can do right now. It doesn't mean that I won't get to them, but I have to budget my time wisely in these early stages of my new career. If I'm not working then I'm not making money, and I have to support myself.  Doing less than what I'd like to be doing doesn’t make me lazy, it makes me a better caretaker of me.

6. I need to move a little slower. Sometimes, I feel like I'm hurrying through life instead of living it, and I know that that is partly because I haven't taken much time off. When I quit my job, I knew I was committing to what I am doing now, freelance work. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have found on-line, but I need to find a balance.  There needs to be a day, at least once a week, when I move slower. Instead of my usual early morning ritual of going on-line to check emails and get started with writing assignments, I could take an early morning walk followed by a crazy-paced getting ready for work routine. I could wake up a little later, take a slower paced walk, and then actually sit down for breakfast without checking my email.

7. I need to keep a what “I’ve done list”. I focus a great deal on what needs to get done.  Instead of always focusing on what I need to do, I need to start taking the time to appreciate what I have accomplished. I understand that growth is essential, and when you are talking in terms of money, focus is imperative to success.  I constantly generate an income every day on-line and that has everything to due with past accomplishments.  Sometimes I forget that I have already taken plenty of steps that contributed towards my growth and progress.  I need to start giving myself some credit.  I need to take a moment to pause, reflect, and really appreciate what I’ve done, what I've learned, and what I've experienced as I continue to move through the year.