You’ve seen the lists.
Maybe you’ve made one yourself, or are thinking about it.
Eat better… Exercise more… Organize the house…
If you’re anything like me, there is a strange mathematical formula that applies to efficiency in one’s daily life. Here’s how I think it works:
If you don’t have enough work to do, the work expands to fill the time available. People usually feel bored and edgy when their life is like this.
There is a place of balance, where your work is challenging, meaningful, and stimulating. It leaves you feeling tired, but good, and you rest deeply and peacefully afterward. There is energy (physical and emotional) for your life — time with family, friends, a faith community. You also have time for private contemplation and reflection, staying in touch with your spirit. You are physically strong and flexible.
If you are overwhelmed with too much to do, for too long, you can lose yourself. You begin to fuel your body with the wrong foods, energize yourself with adrenaline, and wear yourself down. You begin to react to circumstances, rather than plan for your life and feel in control, and it is easy to sacrifice your “alone time” or give up that precious time with who and what is most meaningful.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but don’t start your New Year with a list of resolutions.
This year, just take some time to think about the different areas of your life – work, family, faith, physical wellness, creativity, personal time and social time, your home – and whether or not you feel in balance there.
Sit quietly and really ask yourself: “Do I need more or less?”
Just bring the light of awareness to the different parts of your life, knowing the categories will be unique to you, and your needs in each will be different from mine or your neighbors’.
Really exploring the concept of balance in all the areas of your life will help you discover what is most pressing, and where you are strong and well-supported.
Once you’ve done this, celebrate and build on your strengths. When you are ready to make changes, start with the area where you are most out of balance. This approach is more likely to yield long-lasting results and move your life into a place of harmony.
Try it, and let me know what you discover. We’ll talk about it more as 2011 unfolds.
May you have Peace, Joy, and Laughter in the New Year.
Lisa Kendall is a Licenced Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Ithaca, NY.