If you woke up tomorrow morning and realized you were 80 years old would you be happy with how you’ve spent your life? Many of us don’t look too far ahead in the future and when it comes to terms of creating balance we may look a week maybe a month out because we’ve assumed that balance is a day to day endeavor. But if you value the last forty years of your life as much as the first forty you should really take a longer look into that future. Think about it—would you have any regrets? Would you be wishing you had spent more time working or traveling? Would you be thinking about all those weekends you sacrificed for a job you didn’t care about or the opposite—grateful for never taking a vacation in order to build your dream company?
Anyone can learn how to adjust their personal life, their work life, and the everything-in-between-life in order to have a more streamlined calendar and achieve greater efficiency. Many of these key details people assume are foundational in creating balance really only focus on the day to day or at most the year to year. But it doesn’t matter how balanced your day to day is because that investment will only yield temporary satisfaction. Finding true balance, much like what sits behind your medicine cabinet, is very personal. The approach and application change greatly from person to person and while the Internet is full of standardized how-to-guides the real key in creating true balance is to take that detailed look ahead. If you look at the scope of your life, your future and the years beyond think about what balance would look like in it’s entirety based upon the culmination of your short term wants and needs and your long term wants and needs. Sit down and think deeply and earnestly about what you want out of life now and then subsequently, what you want out of life in five, ten, fifteen, and even twenty or more years from now. List out a tangible action for each set of years that you can do today to better get you to where you want to be.
To only focus on the temporary balance means that one day you may wake up and feel that everything in your prior years was a waste. You may have felt content, peaceful, and controlled during those years where you were temporarily balancing life, but until you pull in things from your future, figure out the long-term goals, and picture how you want your life to progress and ultimately end up then you’ll never feel that deep joy that comes from knowing you’re working towards your forever. If you know you want to own your own business—Do it.
If you know you want to be married, grow old with someone, and have kids—Do it. If you know you want to see the world and experience new cultures—Do it.
Balance today is subjective based upon the future you want tomorrow. All of those things above require an investment of something—time, money, dating, education, working various jobs—it doesn’t just happen overnight. You must integrate your future into your today so that you can look back and be pleased with the life you’ve created. You will have seasons of sacrifice and seasons of reward. But in the end none of it will be a waste if it’s where you hoped you’d be. Here are three tangible ways to get you there: 1. Figure out five concrete goals/dreams you wish to accomplish in your life and place them in order of importance.
2. Break down each goal into one simple action that can be done today in order to get you there tomorrow.
3. Reassess your five goals at the end of each quarter—so roughly every three months. The goals themselves shouldn’t change drastically unless your whole life picture has. But your plan of action will change as you build and grow closer to each one. Example: 1. My number one goal/dream: Own my own business. 2. Plan of action today: Take a course on entrepreneurship/business management. 3. When the course ends I will then change my plan of action to formulating my own business plan. The key to integrating these simple steps into your whole life picture is remembering that you never stop. Working towards your five main goals is a daily endeavor. This comes from accepting true balance as slowly and intentionally creating the whole life picture you want which will ultimately give you a more satisfying and fuller life experience. And it doesn’t hurt to accept the old adage that we in fact can’t do it all, but we can do what’s most important to us.