“Spring into balance” is an initiative guided by the friends at Good Not Perfect, Michelle at Simplify Live Love, and some other guests who will be making thoughtful contributions over the upcoming weeks. This initiative is aimed at simplifying, finding time for yourself, and being happier. Doing more of what you want to do, and less of everything else. For me, this blog has become one way I’ve structured more writing, reading, and cooking into my life. But I think I can do even better.
Deep down, we want to nourish ourselves. Most of us just don’t approach it in the same systematic, goal oriented way that we approach family, home, and work life. So join us, grab a notebook and a pen, and be ready to take control of your own happiness.
When my girlfriends and I get a chance to catch up with each other, we often spend a majority of our time either chasing after or talking about kids, complaining about the stress of work, or honestly, just kvetching about how busy we are.
There really are more interesting things to talk about.
I keep thinking “when I’m done with this project I’m working on, I’ll finally have time to tackle the mess that is our guest room closet.” Or, “after my husband stops this stretch of business travel, I’ll start hitting the gym in the morning.” Or, “after I’m done packing for this move, I’ll finally read that book.” And then somehow I find myself staying up late putting away laundry or trying to pack lunch for the next day. Or I realize I’ve just spent 45 minutes surfing the Internet, checking in on Facebook or mindlessly flipping on the TV when I have roughly 16 half-read books that sit untouched on my bedside table. The mess remains in the guest room closet. And I haven’t worked out regularly in four months.
See what I mean? (Excuse the mess. One of my procrastination techniques is definitely not spending time decluttering.)
It’s hard to fit it all in.
One of my classes near the end of my MBA program was called Managerial Leadership. It was taught by Harry Kraemer, a former CEO of a $9 billion corporation who still managed to find time to jog, be a history buff, spend quality time with his wife and kids, and teach a class to MBA students at night.
If he can do it, I wondered, why couldn’t I? At the time I “only” had a 2 year old and a regular ol’ job, and yet I rarely found myself doing something for ME.
Part of it is that we all usually take better care of our family members than we do of ourselves. Michelle summarized it best in this post when she said, “Though I insist my kids eat a healthy breakfast, I often don’t eat one myself. I’ve also started relying on too much coffee, not enough water, and especially in the winter, not eating enough veggies.”
Let’s do something about it. Together.
What would Professor Kraemer say? While the long-ago MBA class was technically about leadership, what has stuck with me years later is not anything about how to inspire teams. Well, at least not directly.
What I do remember are two things – he maintained his sanity (and thus was a more effective leader) by:
- Keeping a journal (“checking in with himself”), and
- Remembering there are 168 hours in a week.
He lived in comfort knowing that while he may not be able to fit everything he wants to do in a day, he could usually find ways to fit it all into a week.
Gretchen Rubin made many of the same points in her book The Happiness Project. Her thesis essentially is that if you approach happiness as a goal, and structure your life around making yourself happy (as she did for a year), it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
**You can read reviews and a description of Rubin’s Happiness Project book here. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth getting a copy. It may change the way you approach your own happiness.
The purpose of the next 10 weeks for us, and YOU should you choose to join us, is our own little mini “happiness project.” The holidays have passed, the New Year’s rush to catch up on everything you put off during the holidays may be done, and the miserable Polar Vortex should be on its way out.
Yes, we have sunshine and longer days working in our favor, so let’s use that “happiness” momentum to try a little project.
Let’s “Spring Into Balance.”
We’ll try to guide each other on some reflection and the basic premise of: doing more of what we want to do and less of the other stuff. We’ll ask ourselves a few basic questions.
- What do we want to do with more time?
- How can we structure our lives to make more time for those things? How can we lighten our load?
- How can we restructure our habits to consistently do more of what we enjoy?
It won’t be easy, but it should be fun. It should not only help us be happier, but also indirectly help those around us. At the very least, you will have spent some time on reflection.
Here’s what you will need:
- An open mind
- A notebook for your weekly journal entries
- A calendar
- Optional: Instagram access to share your progress #springintobalance
Week 1 Homework assignment can be found here.