3 Steps to Choosing Balance in 2017

Whew!  We made it to 2017.  Can you believe it?  

When I was a kid, I had a hard time imagining the year 2000, and never thought I'd make it to 2017.  That's how much you know when you're a kid....

When you think of this year, what hopes and possibilities lie ahead for you?  Commitments and one word themes abound.  There could be new friends.  New jobs.  New opportunities to make a difference.  

For me personally, I started 2017 with busy.  I know what your thinking.  Aren't you supposed to build up to busy?  How did you start that way? 

 Christian Life Coaching Advice on Choosing Balance

Good question.  The answer begins with some artful procrastination (my specialty) and commitments from months ago.  You see, I had planned to write and test a new group coaching curriculum with my One Foot Peeps in January.  If you dial that back, that meant I had to write it.  I had been mulling over the topic for sometime and was able to outline the whole thing by late November, but to be honest - December is BUSY!  

You know what I mean.  There's shopping to do.  Presents to wrap.  Parties to attend.  Hallmark movies to watch.  When does a girl have time for writing? RIght? 

In the midst of all this, I had committed months ago to speaking at a MOPS group on January 3rd on the subject of balance.  Can I confess to you that the days leading up to this speaking engagement felt anything but balanced? 

Needless to say, as I was preparing to speak to young moms on breaking busy and breathing in balance - I was a wreck who was constantly working to "get stuff done."

As I sat down to prepare for speaking on balance, I have to admit I had no idea what to say.  First, my balance and balance for a mom of preschoolers is not quite the same.  What was I going to say that related to young moms?  After that, there was this whole I don't quite have a handle on it anyway from the looks of my office and work schedule. 

How about you?  Where are you when it comes to being busy and finding balance?  I finally relaxed when I realized that just because balance looks different because we're in a different stage of life - we all are challenged in one season or another to find balance. 

Your balance may be a lighter schedule.  For me, as a single gal, I need to intentionally choose to find life giving, soul-breathing activities in my down time so I'm refreshed for all that work I talked about.  

Not sure where to start on this whole balance thing or whether you are really balanced?  Check out my 3 steps to choosing balance over busy in 2017. 

1.  First step: do some assessing

This is the foundation of any coaching tool I create.  Where are you at today?  Do you feel busy?  Do you feel balanced? 

One part of the assessment is knowing the signs.  According to Alli Worthington in her book Breaking Busy, there are some signs of being busy or over busy.  They are are inability to control your emotions, chronic illness, lack of self-care, chronic lateness (guilty), and sacrificing time for key relationships.  Do you see yourself in any of these?  I'm in several so we'll just move on now. 

Part two of our assessment is facing the reality of your calendar.  Take a blank piece of paper and draw a grid.  (You can do this on your computer by drawing a grid 8 across and 4 down.  Skip the first square on the first row and put Sunday through Saturday across the rest of the top row.  Going down the first column, skip that first box again and put morning, afternoon, and evening.  Your grid should look something like this....

Now go through your schedule.  Mark an X where you have a commitment.  Commitments are work, church stuff, running kids to car pool and soccer.  Your small group night.  Whenever you have a commitment, mark an X.  Now how many do you have?  Exactly - that might give you an idea of how busy you actually are. 

2. Second Step:  Envision Your Balance

As I spoke to the young moms, I realized that balance doesn't look the same for all of us.  Some of us love being out and about so a few more Xs are good for us.  Others of us need  more down time and need less not more.  

What does it look like for you to have balance?  How would your life be different?  In fact, how would you be different.  Not flip over that blank piece of paper and draw what you envision.  It's OK - you won't have to show it to anyone.  It's to give you a picture of what your life could become on balance. 

In coaching, we recommend an anchor for our clients when they are seeking to change their lives.  Why?  An anchor is a visual reminder of what you want to accomplish.  It can be this picture (maybe hang it in your closet where no one can see it if you're not so artsy), a Bible verse, one word (check out my post on choosing your word), or a piece of jewelry with a symbol of some kind.  Whatever it is, give yourself a reminder of who you want to be in 2017. 

3. Step three: Find a partner in crime

Well, not actually the crime part.  I don't know about you, but I have great intentions.  I intend to be balance every week.  Sometimes I do great at it.  And other weeks, I've said yes before I've assessed my capabilities.  

Breathing in balance takes changing our schedules and our lives.  Which is why we need to do it together.  So grab a friend and meet for coffee once a month for encouragement and accountability.  Or join a community of women who are seeking to live intentionally together at the One Foot Offices through our Both Feet in Bible Study.  Your Purposeful Steps starting in January will help you live with purpose in all areas in 2017!  

Are you choosing balance in 2017?  I'd love to hear from you and pray for your journey.  Simply comment here or on our Facebook page.  I'd love to connect with you!