Life – It’s a Balancing Act – Really!

Apparently, 2 011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.I’ve read a lot of blogs during the last week or two that mention a goal or resolution of restoring balance in their lives. Apparently, 2 011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it’s a balancing act.

I find webmd.com to be a source of reliable information. Their article: 5 Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance may be helpful to you. I think they are right, we should learn to relax. After all, we could live in Bangladesh and have this guy’s job:

Mayo clinic’s article Work-life balance: Tips to Reclaim Control suggests, among other things, to bolster your support system. I think Henri Fochatin could use a little more support, don’t you? (don’t watch if you have acrophobia, seriously!)

In 5 Essential Zen Habits for Balanced Living, you’re reminded to use awareness and mindfulness, to find some calm in the midst of the madness. How? Allow yourself some downtime. Even just ten or fifteen minutes of time to recharge your inner self. Do what brings you peace. For me, that’s a waterfall in a beautiful setting.
Apparently, 2 011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.

But I think all these articles have missed the mark.
 

Life is chaotic and messy.

Apparently, 2 011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.

Things happen. Suddenly you have to juggle more than one thing at a time.

Apparently, 2 011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.

If you let it, life’s chaos will divert your attention from the things you want to do and from the ones you love. How do you handle it?

With Silliness.

 

Apparently, 2011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.

Apparently, 2011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.

Laugh, even when things are upside down.
Apparently, 2011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.

No matter how small you feel in comparison to the things that keep you from putting your best foot forward, a smile will lift you up.

Make time to have fun.

Apparently, 2 011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.

Most importantly, take a breath. Recognize what you’ve accomplished: the milestones, the successes, the learning that you’ve done, no matter how small. It’s important.

Celebrate!
Apparently, 2 011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.

If in your struggle to find balance, you take the time to do a few of these things, I am certain that you will find

you have soared higher than you think!
Apparently, 2 011 left a lot of people feeling unbalanced for a lot of reasons. Ever the helpful girl scout, I went in search of all things balanced and discovered, as always, it's a balancing act.

It’s a balancing act, this thing we call life. But with all the tools and methods available to you, you can enjoy your balancing act and fly high.

The Road to Success

curvy road ahead sign They say make resolutions. But others say most resolutions fail so don’t make resolutions, make goals. Make long term goals. No, make short term goals. Not only that, they tell you how you must make goals. And each person has their own rules. You could get whiplash from adjusting your plan. Arg! So which way is the road to success?

Clarity First

I’m not telling you to make or not make resolutions. Heck, if not setting goals works for you, go for it! But if you set goals or resolutions last year and you did not get the results you wanted, stop. Do not make another goal or resolution. At least not until after you get some clarity. Clarity about those two things takes precedence over setting goals.

Make a Plan

But, you can know who you are and where you want to go, and still get lost on the trip. If you didn’t meet last year’s goals or resolutions, examine why. It’s imperative that you know why those things didn’t work before you make your list for next year. If you had a long trip to make to a specific location, would you take off and hope you’d get to your destination? No, you’d at least look at a map. You’d choose a route, plan how long it would take, prepare the car, etc. So, think of your resolutions or goals as a road trip. Look at what you had planned for last year. What detours or rest stops did you take and why?

Actions You Can Control

Were your goals dependent upon others? For example, a goal of going to the gym with my husband or best friend is a goal that hinges on someone else’s cooperation. If my goal had been to have a Big Six Publisher publish my book by the end of the year, that’s a goal I cannot control. I can’t make my best friend, nor even my husband, be ready to go to the gym with me. Nor can I make a Big Six Publisher publish my book.

A better goal would have been that I would go to the gym three days a week. Or that I would send my manuscript to one of the big 6 publishers for consideration every three months. Or even I will research each publisher and check if they would be a good match for me.

road to success in 2011

Plan for Roadblocks

Perhaps you were more like Dean Wesley Smith in that a life change created a temporary roadblock. Then in your evaluation of how you did last year, you take that life change under consideration. For example, one year we were in the middle of remodeling my kitchen and disaster struck. A 90-foot tall tree landed on my house. Then, my husband had a 5-way cardiac by-pass followed by a stroke. My goals did not get accomplished. The kitchen remodeling stopped cold, and I got zero, nada, zip writing done in the last 6 months of that year. That meant I had to reevaluate what the road to success was under my new circumstances and adjust. In Dean’s posts, Goals and Dreams 2012 Series, he encourages you to plan how and when to start back writing. Based on my experience, that’s a fantastic idea. Small, specific, achievable goals would have helped me negotiate that roadblock.

Things to Remember

Sometimes, you can’t ever seem to get to the finish line. Did you get stuck in a ‘must be perfect loop’ never finishing your project? Or were you too tired or not in the mood and so accomplished less than you had planned? If perfectionism or moods get in your way, read Kristin Lamb’s take on 2012 and Planning for Success in the New Year.

Appropriate-Sized

Perhaps on your road to success, you had goals that were ‘too big.’ For example, your resolution to lose 50 pounds in three months is not only huge; it may not be safe to accomplish in that time period. Or if your goal had been to write the first draft of two novels and revise another novel AND you work a full-time job outside of writing, you have a family or moved, had a new baby, etc., those goals may have been demanding too much of yourself. That’s like trying to drive from Key West, Florida to Point Barrow, Alaska (approximately 5,500 miles or 8,800 km) without a pit stop. Look at this marathon runner’s post on the danger of setting big goals and learn about his motto: Think Big, Act Small, Start Today.

Time-Specific

Perhaps last year’s goals or resolutions had an indefinite future. In this case, your roadmap may have taken you on multiple detours. See Coleen Patrick’s post about indefinite future goals.

Specific, Actionable Goals

Vague goals like: I’ll start blogging, I’ll lose weight, I’ll control my diabetes, or I’ll take a trip to Australia can set you up for roadblocks. These goals have the potential to be great goals, but you need to have a plan that is specific. Specific like, I will read three books on blogging and follow 4 blogs for three months. That will help me plan how to fit blogging into my life. Or for your diet, you could say that for the next three months you will eat a salad at lunch and dinner 4 out of 7 days a week. Or I’ll save X number of dollars per week for X weeks and take my trip to Australia in a specific month of a specific year. See more about how to make SMART goals in the post Five Golden Rules of Goal Setting.

Baby Steps

If you need more help to set goals that are baby steps. Read about ROW80. This kind of goal setting allows for future needs. It allows for unplanned life events or learning something new or changing your mind. With short-term goals, you can easily adjust your goals.

My Road to Success

I don’t know about you, but after reading all these wonderful posts, I will spend January looking at the goals I want for next year. Specific goals that will carry me forward. I will take the long-term goals and break them down into 80-90 day increments. This way I can reevaluate my goals throughout the year and make adjustments as needed.

Remember, the road to Success is NOT straight.

curvy road ahead sign

Did last year go the way you planned? What road to success will you be following for next year?

2011, The Good News

2011 is coming to an end, and for some, not a moment too soon. You might question my sanity with the post title 2011, the good news. There were politicians, businessmen, and celebrities who behaved badly. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes that killed and destroyed. Economies of many nations hover on the brink of collapse. There were heroes who struggled to save, to take a stand, and who perished in that fight. Even on a personal level, I had many challenges that took huge chunks of time to process and overcome.
2011 is coming to an end, and for some, not a moment too soon. You might question my sanity with the post title 2011, the good news.

Many people, particularly the news media, look for the shocking, the tragic or the disheartening stories from the past year. They seem to revel in the ugliness of behaviors and events.

Not me. I am a glass-half-full kind of gal. It’s that attitude, that expectation that helps me see the huge range of good that happens. Despite all the economic downfalls, natural disasters and humans behaving badly, things were not as bad as they seemed. There were stories of heroes across the world and in the US, stories of advances in science and health, and of course, changes in the world of publishing, too.

Heroes

In Egypt Thousands of Muslims for a Human Shield for Coptics.

In UTAH strangers ignored the danger to themselves and saved a man trapped beneath a burning car.

Wildlife rangers protect animals in the Congo at great risk to themselves.

CNN’s search for heroes found some amazing people. And the hero of the year is helping women and newborns in Indonesia.

This video is long at 19 minutes, but it is an amazing story of how Alberto Cairo found humanity and dignity in the midst of war in Afghanistan. He calls his talk There Are No Scraps of Men.

It started with One Person in Michigan and spread around the country. Secret Santas pay off layaways. Thanks to Janelle Madigan for this story.

Science

There are amazing advances in science from better hip replacement devices, to plasma brushes that promise painless dental work, to solar energy systems in North Africa that will provide clean power for the region and Europe here.

Health

How about this amazing piece? New Leukemia Treatment Exceeds Expectations.

Book News

Now, who says fantasy authors don’t get no respect? Author of the Year.

Just think what this means for ebook sales!

As The Year Closes

I count 2011 as a huge success. You will find my list of accomplishments here. I’ll share my goals for 2012 in another post. I hope to exceed those goals.

I don’t pretend to know what 2012 will bring, not on a personal level, a professional level, a national level, or a worldwide level. There will be bad things that happen in 2012. That’s the way of the world. But I know there will be good things that happen, too. That’s the way of humanity. We’re a mixed bag of good, mediocre, and bad. You have to be wary of the bad, but don’t be so on guard that you miss the good.

So on this eve of the New Year’s Eve, my wish for friends, family, and yes, even foe is that you make the effort to see the good despite whatever happens because attitude and expectations can lead from good to great.

What about you? Do you look for the good? What was your 2011, the good news? Won’t you share those stories with us?