Achieving is good. Setting and reaching goals really helps make me tick. So when the 12/28 #reverb10 prompt asked about achievement, I was ready. (What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.)
But then I realized that there’s not one big thing I want to achieve next year. I won’t finish my degree – though I’ll spend the entire year in school. I don’t have time to train for a marathon, so I’ll stick with the two halves I’m planning to run (the Jan 29 F*ing Freezing Half and the Indy Mini in May). Those will be great achievements, I’m sure.
I can seek to achieve better balance, though. I’m well on my way, but by remaining constantly aware of how important balance is, I can come closer to achieving it. Achieving balance isn’t a single “aha” moment. There’s no diploma for balance, and I can’t cross it off a to-do list.
But I can remind myself to live a balanced life by eyeballing my schedule and adjusting as much as I can. I know it won’t be perfect. There will be weekends filled with homework and frustration, and I’m sure the kitchen floor will again go too long between scrubbings. Too many months will pass before I see some friends, and I may cancel a fun outing due to sheer exhaustion. But balance requires some of that quiet couch time, too. And I can’t beat myself up about not doing “fun” things when I’m instead taking care of myself.
So balance it is! Balance won’t complete me or free me – rather, it will continue to fuel the alive feeling I’ve grown to love and crave.
My balance action plan:
1) Stretch, every day. Connecting the body and mind are essential to starting the day right.
2) Say yes to new things. You never know what you may discover.
3) But be able to say no.
4) Move every day. Whether it’s a formal workout or just a quick walk around the block, taking 15 minutes to move can reset your perspective and clear your head.
5) Read something for leisure. While school reading increasingly usurps my fiction and even newspaper reading time, I try to at least read one poem every evening before bed.
6) Couch time. Even just an hour one night a week, with a glass of wine and a quiet house is therapeutic in its own right.
7) Write frequently. #reverb10 is helping create this habit, though I know daily is not realistic in the long term. But being creative is just as important – if not moreso – as consuming content.
8. Reconsider clutter. I’ve spent the last week cleaning out the basement, guest room, closets, dressers… I need to be more proactive about keeping junk from coming into the house in the first place.
9) Go somewhere. As I’ve written, I love to travel and haven’t done nearly enough lately. I’m changing that.
10) Walk the talk. All these tips are well and good, but I’ll only achieve balance if I actually walk the talk.
How do you achieve balance? What will you do differently in 2011?