It takes a massive commitment to design, live and secure your fulfilling lifestyle on an ongoing basis. The activity of life roars past our consciousness. As we get older our passions and commitments grow with us. If not kept in check many of the items that make up our day to day life can consume more of our time than we ever intended. We need a way to make space for everything that we value.
A fulfilling lifestyle includes living according to the values we believe in both our personal and working lives. We often here lifestyle experts talk about balance but the word balance leads us to believe that everything needs to have the same amount of attention and all at once. This can create an enormous amount of anxiety because we can’t balance everything all at once and we probably don’t want to. The truth is our values demand more from us at different times and we simply judge the importance of our values differently. Our priminister John Key doesn’t balance productivity and the environment equally 100% of the time, he cant, and if he did or even wanted to the adjustment process or weighting attached to each value as it changed would need to be made gradually over time or else the shock would destroy one or the other. Your values are the same. You cant neglect work all together, you cant neglect family but you can choose what is more important and what deserves more attention and gradually, you can consistently move towards a weighting of importance that is consistent with how you want your life to be.
When your a one value junky the fix starts to become sour. Your lifestyle becomes numb, your day to day the mundane. For example, if you are an career obsessed workaholic that is neglecting your family under the guise of creating them a better life then you are a fool. They would rather have your time and attention than a better life. Ask them and then ask yourself. Wouldn’t you rather experience more life more often with your family than over dose on work for the next 20 years. Of course you would but why don’t you? You don’t because you lost touch with your values, you don’t have a plan. You have got into the habit and a frequency of behavour that overdoses on one value. Now your not to blame. Your probably wired this way or at least have been raised to work hard and provide for your family.
The challenge is in re-prioritizing our values when some activities shout louder for our attention than others. Isn’t that the way. Anything thats really important takes a reasonable degree of effort and creating a blue print or a living plan is one way of securing a framework of planned behavior that can be referred to regardless of mood, or external influences. But you have to have some idea of what you want and thats easier said than done. Start small, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months it doesn’t matter really. Lets just get back to what really matters to you and lets get it down on paper.
Once you work out what you value it easier to create a blueprint of what you want your life to look like on a day to day basis. For example, your blueprint could include working 8 am to 5:30 pm Monday to Friday in your preferred profession, one out of town trip per month, and two overseas holidays per year. It could include Yoga once a week, weekend sport with the kids, or to read a book every day. Now we could call these items goals, or you could call them whatever you like.
Now we are not setting limits here with this, I think its better to set this blueprint ideal as a minimum standard that you hope to achieve and lets keep it realistic. Essentially for the blue print to work it needs to fit within our budget and be achievable in terms of commitments. Now I am sure that there are a few people reading this thinking, how ridiculous, I don’t need a life style blue print to live my life, I don’t need a plan. Well if thats you and your living it 100% day after day, fitting it all in without compromise then good for you, stick with it because its probably working whatever your approach is to lifestyle management.
For others, the demands on their attentions are to such a degree that securing and living their values becomes increasingly difficult. When we are saving for a large purchase most of us are required to save money or pay it off over a period of time. To achieve a large goal we must work at it as a habit over and over again. Every time investing a little bit more in the attainment of what will ultimately become a great achievement. For example, to experience a loving, fulfilling and intimate relationship takes planning and attention. Its the little things and the big things that matter most. Yes guys if you plan a weekend away you will still have to put out the rubbish that week. To get everything you want in your life you need to plan for it. You need to make space.
Now its likely that from time to time your activities will challenge you away from your plan. Your work will get busy or family commitments may increase. Your sport or hobby may demand more and more time to reach a higher level. When this happens, stop, check your plan, check that your behavior is consistent with your values and if needed, when the time is right get back on track.
We all get pushed and pulled by life, sometimes by the things that we value, sometimes by things that make no sense to us at all. Remember, you get to choose the standards that you live by, you get to choose who you are right now.