I recently read Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, and it is amazing how many applicable things I took away from this book to help me with my job as a coach. If you are interested at all in human behavior, then I highly recommend it.
Today, I want to discuss some take-aways from Willpower and apply them to something that is very important to me, but something I still struggle with immensely – balance! HOW TO FIND BALANCE IN LIFE.
I first want you to ask yourself a couple of questions:
What is most important to you?
What are you striving for now?
Baumeister found that by not setting clear, specific goals many people had goals and ambitions that conflicted. These people with conflicting goals, studies found, had more anxiety, depression, and health issues (67).
Think about it. I bet most of you would say that your family, work, and health are very important to you. However, have you ever thought about how you balance these things?
At some point they can become conflicting. Do you want to work really hard this year and get a promotion? If so, how will this effect your health and family life?
You have to think about the opportunity costs of your goals and what you will have to give up to attain them. If you make this list of opportunity costs you will be more likely to realize your goal and less likely to become upset if you have to devote less time to other things in your life.
As Baumeister points out, it is not always the people who think a lot about their goals that actually achieve them. Sometimes this can cause more unhappiness and ruminance because you cannot find balance in your goals and become unhappy even if you do well on one goal because you may have sacrificed the others. Therefore, you must set clear, specific goals that are consistent with one another
Dan John had a great post on T-Nation called “Work, Rest, Play, Pray: Explained”, which was about finding balance in your life. He wrote that you must find balance in four areas of your life: work, rest, play, and pray. If you add something to one area, you must take a little of something else away from another area. If you are okay with this, then adding something is fine.
The problem is that many people only think about what they are adding – “Oh I am doing great because I am going to the gym five additional times a week.” Well, this may sound great, but what area of your life did you have to cut down/spend less time on to add those additional gym hours? Did you think about that? You must consider this, otherwise, 4 weeks down the road your family may be upset because you are spending so little time with them so you overreact and stop going to the gym altogether. BALANCE!
I an sure you have read millions of posts on how to set goals and how important they are, but I never think a person can read it enough. Therefore, what I want you to do is to sit down and write down what is most important to you right now in your life. Once you have that figured out, then write down clear, specific goals that will allow you to stay true to what is important to you. Next, I want you to consider what you will be giving up to achieve the goal(s).
Lastly, consider if it is worth it to lose those things to achieve your goal. If it is, then get after it! Write out a detailed action plan on how to get there. You are now more likely to succeed since you considered the opportunity costs.
This is a topic I am very interested in so if you have any recommendations for sources on the topic above, then share them in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!
Have a great week!! And Happy 4th of July!!