Written by Coach Michael Harvey
Balance. People throw this word around a lot. It’s an important factor to everything you do. So what is it?
Let’s cut to the chase and just say from the start, balance is as individual as your hair colour or favorite food. It’s a term used so much to describe something so diverse that people tend to think there is a formula for it. If you keep things in ‘balance’ you will be happy.
Now the last sentence is 100% correct; however what people use to define that ‘balance’ is often incorrect. Balance is weighing up what is important to you in your life, what you value and contributing time towards those areas of your life accordingly. It is not doing everything 'evenly' or spending equal amounts of time doing them. If you value your health then you will be inclined to take measures to look after that aspect of your life by keeping fit for example.
To simplify what we commit our time to, break it down into the following:
These are the base components and you can go into a lot more detail in each specific area for example your goals within health can include physical health and mental health.
Keep it simple, find out what you value and is important to you and spend your time doing that. Let’s say for example that in health your number one goal is to complete an goal race and in wealth your number one goal is to become the CEO of the company you work for. In your relationships your main goal is to be spending more quality time with your partner. Can you do all at once? Maybe but you don't have to look far to see there is going to have to be something give somewhere.
So does that mean that your lower your expectations or settle for less? You are the decider of that. See it is about how YOU want to balance things and prioritise from there with that in mind. We can use the example of completing your goal race again. Getting clear about what your goals are and what you want to get out of the experience is key. In the process of training for the event you might spend a little less time socialising or time with the family because your goal is important to you and the payoff in your mind is worth it. Post event you spend more time with family and friends and less time training. In your way you have balanced it out.
Now you might decide to pick a new goal for your next event be it a PB or place for instance. This is where being aware of what you value becomes critical. See there comes a tipping point in all parts of our lives that in order to improve we need to spend more time working towards your goal. The counter side to this is we spend less time doing other things. So the fact that you value your partner and or family/friends SHOULD very well be a consideration when setting goals in other areas of your life. How will it impact them? For how long? Are they supportive of what you want to do? This is the same with your work. Does more training mean you are late for work? Less productive? Earning less? You might say that you are happy to spend more time training and earn less money. Or maybe not. The key is knowing that balance is about what is important to you and you can find solutions to make things work.
I've had enough years under my belt coaching now to see the real mix of how people approach their training and racing at the age group level and I can assure you that the ones who are doing things 'their way' are the ones enjoying themselves and with the most success. Some of the most busy people with hectic schedules have been the happiest. Others with the 'balance' of what they have been told needs to be done look like the life has been sucked out of them. There are challenges however if you are keeping things in YOUR life balanced for you, then you are going to enjoy them so much more rather than feeling guilty while doing one thing and neglecting another. If you constantly deprive yourself of your balance though you cannot be the best you can for your family, friends or at work. By looking after yourself and finding your balance you are able to help those around you that you value to be at their best. A win win for everyone.
There are many ways to achieve an outcome; you just have to be prepared to look outside the box. The reason we see the consistently good results and improvement from our athletes is not just because of what is written on your program but that it works in with you and your life.
Get clear on what you value and finding that balance is a whole lot more simple.