When I speak at writers’ conferences, I often get asked how I “do it all.” I answer by discussing the time I spend on different tasks and joke about spending a lot of time at my desk. I hem and haw about the other parts of my life, but I’m not totally honest.
So I want to come clean and ‘fess up. Truth be told, I don’t get it all done. Far from it.
Yes, I get more done than a lot of people when it comes to blogging, writing, creating and promoting products, and participating in social media. I suppose I can pat myself on the back for accomplishing a lot professionally.
In other areas of my life I don’t manage to get most of what I would like to get done even started, let alone finished. Nor do I have what I would call “balance” in my life. I don’t live my life fully in all possible areas…not by a long shot.
Here on this blog, I sometimes write about that balance we are told to develop and about living fully. Yet, most often I don’t exercise. I don’t meditate. I don’t always eat well, play, pursue my hobbies, or find time to relax. Sometimes I don’t even sleep much. (In fact, I’m writing this when I should be heading to bed.) It has been said that many teachers teach what they need to learn. When it comes to these topics, this is definitely the case for me.
Desire vs. Priority
This state of affairs in my life exists not out of lack of desire for something different. I talk about finding balance a lot; I tell my husband I plan to start exercising and meditating daily. The next day shows up and I get behind on work, and the exercise and meditation don’t happen. Why? I haven’t made them a priority. I haven’t done them first. They are not my “big rocks,” as I like to say. Typically, the way to get more done is to move big rocks, large jobs that might feel difficult, before small rocks, jobs that feel easy and take less time.
And it can feel more difficult to move these rocks alone. I’d love to have an exercise partner, someone who has an interest in consciousness and meditation to go to classes with me or to read and discuss books with me, etc. Some things feel easier or more fun to do with a partner, and I haven’t had one in these other areas of my life for the last 10 years or more.
I won’t distinguish between work and life and say I need work/life balance. It’s all life. And just like many of you, I have to find a way to simply find balance. I need to make other parts of life a priority—or at least give them a bit more importance in my life than I do at the moment. This will help me live more fully.
Why I Work So Much
I can tell you why I work so much. Some might say I’m a workaholic, but actually I love my work. I want to be in my office writing and blogging and doing most of the tasks I do.
I also love other things, like reading, cycling, walking by the ocean, horseback riding, and going to personal development and metaphysical classes—most of which I don’t “make” time for. I’d say I’m committed to my work and making my business successful, so I’ve gotten in the habit of “making” time for work. It is, indeed, a habit.
I admit that I’ve found myself conforming to the patterns of my spouse, who works long hours, sometimes longer than mine, and who doesn’t care to exercise or pursue things like meditation. I get approval from him and from others for working long and hard.
Yet, I can’t blame my lifestyle on him or on anyone else. I can only blame myself. And I can only look to myself to change how I live.
And the same goes for you. You can’t blame anyone else for your habits or for not living fully. You can’t blame anyone else for your unwillingness to change.
Change is Hard (or So We Think)
Change is hard. That’s what we tend to believe.
I used to cycle daily and meditate often. Now those activities feel hard. Getting started feels hard. It’s like beginning a diet or a new exercise routine. Getting going and making it part of your routine is really the difficult part. Finding the willpower to carry through can feel difficult, too—especially when we try to change alone.
This is true of anything, such as learning to balance your checkbook or pay the bills on time—if this is not your habit; keeping your home uncluttered and clean—if this is not your normal way of living; or going out to make friends or socialize—if you are shy or prefer to stay at home (but you feel lonely).
For me, it’s simply easier to stay at my desk for 12 hours, strangely enough. I have more then enough to do there. It feels harder to make myself get up and go for a 30 minute walk or bike ride. Go figure. Actually, it’s just because it’s a habit.
Yet, if I want my life to be different—if I want balance, if I want to live more fully (if I want anything that I don’t have right now)—I have to change. It’s that simple. I have to do something differently. I have to break my habits.
Decide to Change
In fact, I can change in an instant by simply making a decision. Change my thought or belief, change my corresponding actions, change my results. That’s the way it works for all of us. That’s how we change our habits and behavior.
I have to change the thought that change is hard as well as that it is easier to sit at my desk than to do the other things I love or that would bring balance into my life. I have to decide that change is easy. I have to decide to find balance in some way—and to take action on that decision. I have to make something other than work a big rock and move the big rock (or rocks) first. I must put these things—meditation, exercise, reading, play, etc.—on my calendar and make them priorities. Move those rocks first. Then I’ll get better at moving the rocks. I’ll get stronger and develop muscle…and the new activity will start to feel easy. If I apply this strategy daily, I’ll start to live more fully in all areas of my life.
How to Live More Fully
If you adopt this attitude and these behaviors, change becomes easy, your life changes and you’ll live a more balanced and full life as well. I know this is true because I’ve applied this strategy to my own life many times. And I’m doing it again. I’m determined to find balance. I’m determined to live fully. And I’m doing it in exactly this way: change my thoughts, change my decisions, change my actions, change my results.
After all, I will only live this life once. I don’t want to find myself on my deathbed wishing I’d lived it differently.
Or, like me, do you also want to create a more balanced life? Are there things you’d like to change about how you live? Would you like to create more fulfilling relationships or a more satisfying job? Would you like to have more income or a less debt, more fun and less stress? Would you like to live in a more healthy manner or spend your time differently? What would make you feel as if you were living your life more fully in all areas?
I’ve created a program that will help you live a balanced and full life. It’s called the Living Fully Challenge and it addresses 12 areas of your life. If you are interested in finding out more—and changing your life for the better this year, click here. The program is not a panacea to all your life’s ills, but it’s a start to creating the life you desire one month at a time. Follow the program, and in 12 months you will be living more fully than you are right now. Don’t wait; start living your life fully now. To learn more and register, click here.