Cultivate Balance | Essential for Successful Retirement - Here is Why
Updated: May 24
A bicycle is a great analogy -. if you keep moving you stay balanced much easier. The back wheel is your driving force and the front is the wheel that takes you where you want to go. A nice bike ride is peaceful and productive to mind, soul, and body.
A conscious and continuous effort to remain balanced is required. But it requires clarity.
Can you say you are balanced now? Maybe a quick read on it will balance your thoughts, and see more clearly where you want to steer the front wheel.
How to Maintain a Healthy Life Balance
It doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. Likewise, your age doesn't need to be a barrier.
It can be easier than you think.
Here are seven simple tips to balance your 'bicycle' - check yourself as you read.
1. Start Small
Try incorporating just a few minutes of motion into your daily routine. Don't even call it exercise. Exercise can be terrifying. Just move some part to your body. This can include
taking a walk around the block or doing some easy stretches right at home. Gradually increase the amount of time and effort you put into your physical activities so that they become an established habit over time.
The habit, for most people, is best done early in the day. Increase it a tiny bit over a week.
Example: Go to each window in the house to check the weather before your coffee/breakfast. Next week maybe a little faster, but record your progress.
Whereever you are presently on this one, increase it in small ways. (See Kaizen on YouTube).
2. Get Outside
Being out in nature has numerous benefits for your health and wellbeing, including improving mood and reducing stress. Walk outside your front door. Check the weather. Once you take a few little steps, consider going on regular walks through your local park, hiking with friends, or simply sitting in the sun on your lunch break. The fresh air will do wonders for both your mind and body.
Follow up on the first tip by recording your steps. Maybe a pedometer. But if that takes the fun out of it, make your benchmarks really simple. Example: "I made it to the corner store today - it took about 10 minutes".
3. Don't Do Exercises You Don't Enjoy
It can be easy to feel pressured into trying new activities just because you think you should, but the truth is that if you don't enjoy it, you won't stick with it. Instead of forcing yourself to go to spin classes if you hate cycling, explore other types of exercise or physical activities that suit your tastes better.
Think about the word PLAY. What does that mean to YOU? Does your recipie for balance involve the concept and feelings of playing? No child wants to stop playing. Your "inner child" loves and enjoys it.
Do you do something that qualifies as PLAY?
4. Don't Expect Perfection
Remember, living a healthy and active lifestyle doesn't mean that you have to be perfect all the time. If you slip up occasionally, focus on getting back on track rather than beating yourself up about it. Forgive yourself for making mistakes, and keep moving forward with your intentions and encourage yourself to improve. It's really wonderful to consistently get better at the rate of 1% per month. Examine all your expectations in this way - see if you are 'should-ing' yourself. Should-ing activates your guilt buttons.
Do you balance your expectations by being reasonable?
5. Find down time where you can honestly say you did nothing
While it's certainly good to be active, it's also important not to overdo it. Make sure you're taking regular breaks from your activities and listening to your body – if you're feeling worn out or sore, take some time off until you feel ready to get going again. How about your brain? Is it sore from thinking too much? Overthinking a problem? Over preparing?
And your spirit or soul? Are you a bit flat lately? Not perky? Don't want to see anyone?
Time for downtime!
Can you find time to schedule downtime? Why or why not? Your answer is a clue to balance.
6. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Really want to get your balance out of whack? One of the biggest obstacles to maintaining a healthy life is the tendency to compare ourselves to others. Some brilliant idea that works for one person may not work for you, which is okay - no it's more than OK. It is to be expected in your expectations. Focus on developing your own unique routine that suits your needs and goals rather than trying to keep up with everyone else.
Further, don't get this step confused with following a good example set by a mentor. Be thankful for a mentor if you have one - but don't compare yourself to their way of getting good results. Ask them for advice. Select what works for you.
If you have this step under control it's time to give yourself credit for it. Reward yourself.
7. Encourage a fun mindset around the process of balancing your life.
Above all, remember to enjoy any process! Being active and healthy should be something you look forward to each day, not just a chore to check off your list. Look for activities that make you happy in your daily routines, whether dancing with friends or simply taking a walk in nature. Cultivating an overall sense of well-being is one of the best ways to stay healthy as you age.
The best check for this one is: "What do I think about when I open my eyes?" When your balance is good you will anticipate joy the moment you awaken. Does this describe you?
Why or why not? Your answer is a clue to balance.
Time to get on your bike and start pedaling! Stay balanced for a great ride! And remember:
Life itself is a miracle.
Happy Days Ahead
Joe Grant , MBA, Certified Retirement Coach