Many people talk about life as being in balance or, more commonly, “out of balance”, and yet, I’m curious, how many of those same people have defined what balance is, or means, to them? Have you? Are you happy, fulfilled, “living your best life?” Would you consider yourself successful, or “living a life of purpose?” These are very popular questions in an age where more people than ever before have food, shelter, time, and money; enough of each to consider the finer points and purpose of life. And, whether acknowledged or not, the answers to these questions are likely fueling your goals and resolutions for 2020. So, before you dive into creating your goals, resolutions, and intentions for the new year, I hope you will consider the following things I’ve learned about happiness, fulfillment, success, life purpose, and balance (aka “these states of being”).
- These states of being are all subjective. They are based on personal desires, interests, expectations, habits, beliefs, and each individual’s unique way of experiencing the world. You may think this is obvious, and yet it is easy to forget this very important point when reading and learning from experts who are charismatic, articulate, and learned. Always “check it at the door” as I say to my clients and students. Check everything the experts tell you (and I tell you) with your own heart and gut. You’ll know when a particular piece of advice is right for you by how you feel when you begin to incorporate it into your life. If it doesn’t increase your joy or contribute to your sense of purpose, it probably isn’t right for you.
- “Everyone walks their own Camino.” This is a phrase spoken over and over again while hiking the Camino de Santiago; a 400 plus mile hike that my husband and I walked from France through Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Another way of putting this is, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” a well-known quote by Teddy Roosevelt. Your best life can’t and won’t look like anyone else’s best life. In fact, your best life today is different than your best life yesterday and tomorrow.
- These states of being are dependent on whatever is happening in your world at any given moment. Your ability to manage the things life throws at you will change based on factors you CAN CONTROL (nutrition, exercise, sleep, mindset, self-talk, how you treat others, and your choices) and things you CAN’T CONTROL (past, future, weather, change, other people’s minds, other people’s happiness, and traffic). One of the keys to finding joy and fulfillment is to invest your energy and time on things you can influence; make the effort to control the things you CAN CONTROL and let go of the things you can’t.
- I’m a big fan of the Peter Drucker quote, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” If you have never defined what a fulfilled, happy, successful, and balanced life is to you, how do you know how to navigate and when to recalibrate? Use tools like vision boarding and Wheel of Life to create personal understanding and support you in living your best life.
- Gratitude! Really, appreciate it, all of it – even the yucky stuff! This is the essence of life.
Socrates or Plato (both are credited) said, “The unexamined life is not worth living?” I disagree. I do believe, however, that the examined life 1) makes it possible to understand your unique self, 2) provides you with information you need to set fulfilling and purposeful goals, 3) allows for compassion when life gets tough, 4) offers structure in order to recalibrate and learn, and 5) encourages gratitude and a joyful approach to everything life offers you. One morning when I encountered an acquaintance on the street, I said, “Isn’t this a beautiful day to be alive?” His answer still resonates with me, “every day I wake up is a beautiful day to be alive.” Welcome to one more beautiful day friends!!! Sending you love and a great big new years hug! Annamarie
Annamarie Fernyak, A certified Life & Mindfulness Coach and founder of Mind Body Align; a place which nourishes well-being, growth, and belonging through education, collaboration, and environment.