Focus on Your Life: Make Time for Your Goals and Priorities
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition & Job Search Coach | Life Strategies and Stress Management Coaching
Have you ever felt that you had to choose between being successful or enjoying your life? In truth, if your life is to be full, you want to focus on both. Meeting goals and being successful is important, of course. But it shouldn't come at the expense of your living a life that is full of love and leisure.
Sometimes we are so focused on work that we forget about nurturing our relationships. We do that at our own peril, however. You know the adage about all work and no play.
At the end of the day, what we want to strive for is a balance between our professional lives and our personal lives. I don't think it is possible to achieve perfect balance all the time. But I do believe it is important to remember to strive for a sense of balance, so you avoid burnout and ruin your relationships.
Do you remember the seesaw you played on when you were a kid? The fun came from leveraging your weight to get the seesaw to go up and down smoothly. To have it work correctly, you needed a partner who weighed about the same as you. Otherwise, if they were a lot heavier, you spent a lot of time in the air. If you were the heavier one, you spent a lot of time on the ground. And it took a lot of extra effort to switch positions. Finding balance shouldn't be that hard. You want to strive for the middle ground with no severe ups or downs. The rise into the air and the descent to the ground should be smooth and relatively effortless.
Of course, life doesn’t work like that in the "real world." In fact, in life, there are plenty of ups and downs that don't feel smooth or easy. On occasion, it may get so rough you feel like you want to jump off the seesaw for a while. You need your equilibrium back which comes from getting back on the ground for a while.
And sometimes, something comes along that knocks you for a complete loop. Those events can feel like you've just been thrown off the seesaw altogether. A death in the family can do that, for example. Divorce or the break up of an important relationship can certainly throw you for a loop for a while. Maybe you're having trouble with the boss at work. Getting fired or wanting to quit but feeling stuck because you don't know what else you can do can create those kinds of feelings.
All these challenges have a way of knocking you off balance.
When things are going along more or less normally, you can go with the ups and downs. You may feel a little off balance at work while something at home works itself out, but soon, you return to a sense of things being "normal" again. And vice versa.
How do you go about achieving balance?
You can approach in several ways:
- Feel your emotions but move quickly through them if you can. It's normal for you to become emotional when the roller coaster of life starts going too fast. And you need to allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. But move on to the next step as quickly as you can. It is possible to get stuck in an emotion and that can keep you from moving on with your life if you stay stuck for too long.
- The next step after letting yourself give in to your feelings for a period of time is to take action of some sort. Go with your feelings as to whether you are ready to move on or not. You'll know when you are ready.
The next logical step is to create more space in your life for things that are important to you. Create space for fulfilling the goals you set for yourself. And create space and time for enjoyment as well.
- Choose the next logical action step, given the circumstances. If you’ve lost a job, start working on your resume. If your home needs a major repair, start looking for referrals on contractors. Don’t just sit and stew about what happened. Take the "bull by the horns" as they say. The faster you barrel through the downs of life, the sooner you will be moving in a positive direction.
- Don't tell your sad story about what happened to you over and over again. The more you talk about what happened, the more energy you waste in the past. That energy would be better used on more positive activities. If you feel the need to keep talking about something that has happened to you, find a reputable therapist. Talk therapy is great, but it has its limitations. Sometimes you just have to be willing to move on and let what happened in the past go.
- Stay focused on the positive. Be grateful for the things that are going well in your life. Staying focused on the good brings more good. By the same token, staying focused on the negative just brings more negative. You get to choose how you wish to spend that time and energy. Doesn't it make more sense to spend it on the good stuff?
Unexpected events in life can throw you off track, for sure. It happens to everyone. So, how do you hit the reset button when life throws you a curve ball?
Make a choice and then make whatever changes you need to make depending on the situation. If you want to achieve your goals and enjoy life to the fullest, you must be able to choose where you put your energy.
Make a choice that seems best at the moment and follow through with it.
All of life is about the choices we make. We may not be in full control of the things that happen to us in life. But we are in complete control of how we choose to respond to those things.
You have far more choice in your life than you probably know right now. Take my word for it. You are the architect of your life. You get to build it moment by moment with each decision you make. Whether consciously or unconsciously, you are in the driver's seat, and you get to decide where to take yourself at any given moment.
My wish for you is that you make the most of every moment so you can live the full, rich life you deserve.
Make good choices. Choose balance in your life. You'll be glad you did.
Until next time.