A Balancing Act

2016 is 18 days old now.  So, for those of you who made resolutions, how are those working out so far?  I’m going to guess that many of you have already abandoned them.  It’s an educated guess, as studies show that a large portion of people making resolutions end up dropping them within the first month.  In fact, today (the third Monday of January) is termed “Blue Monday” and I would venture to guess that some of those blues stem from failures due to resolutions.

You may remember that I’m on the No Resolutions train…opting instead to choose a theme. My theme of balance has been a good choice so far, already acting simultaneously as a challenge and a liberating venture. It’s only been 18 days and I’ve already made some awesome realizations and modifications to my life. Since balance is an idea that’s touted so heavily nowadays, I thought it may be useful to share my thoughts so far…

Balance is about giving permission when needed, not making excuses.

I caught myself making excuses the other day in the name of balance. I had some work tasks that needed to be achieved and my motivation was at an exceptional low. I tried to tell myself that, since I’d seen clients earlier in the day, I didn’t have to do this more administrative type of work…I needed to create balance by having some lazy time. Nope, that’s not how it works. Laziness and lack of motivation are not the basis of creating balance. I realized the difference between permission and excuses when I allowed myself to leave a social engagement early to get some rest (I had a bit of a cold). It could have been quite easy to completely abandon the social event to rest all day, but instead I did a little bit of social time before giving myself permission to have a little bit of rest time.

Balance involves embracing your weekends and vacations.

This is definitely the hugest change that I’ve made so far. I wouldn’t consider myself a workaholic, but I have developed the habit of “multitasking” at home and puttering away on little work projects while watching TV. I put multitasking in quotes there because I could never really tell you what was happening on the TV, just about the work that I was doing. I found myself saying to people that I work all the time with a shrug and slight frown on my face. Not cool. I spent sooooo much time working that I began to miss out on hobbies, social engagements, relaxation, and exercise. So going into 2016, I knew that this would be my biggest change. I’ve started to embrace the weekend. I do not do any work on my days off, unless I am completely motivated and really want to…much different from before when I felt like I should always be doing work and I spent a lot of time forcing that belief. Already, I’ve found myself achieving more non-work projects and taking time to do the little things that I enjoy.

Balance teaches you to work with your perceived flaws and accept yourself.

This part is definitely a work in progress, but I’m starting to accept certain aspects of me that were interfering with balance in the past. For example, I am totally a night owl. It’s like my brain turns on around 8pm, making me the most productive at the most inopportune times of day. In the latter half of 2015, I tried really hard to live like a “normal” person. I went to bed at 1030…and I would lay there wide awake for hours. I would set an alarm and wake up at 630am…and then I would be horribly tired and unproductive until about noon. What a waste of time. For the past three weeks, I have re-embraced my night owl nature and allowed myself to take advantage of my productive times of day. Given that I work mostly in the evenings, I have taken to not setting an alarm and allowing myself to wake up naturally each day. I decided to let any snarky remarks that people will shoot my way just roll off me (i.e. “You didn’t get up till 10am on a Monday? Must be nice…”). And what can I say? It’s been fabulous.

On this Blue Monday, I encourage you to take some time to consider the success and moments of learning that you have already experienced in 2016. How have your resolutions or 2016 themes been panning out?

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