A Balanced Approach

So how is your streak going?

If you missed it, last week I wrote about fitness and the dedication and hard work it requires. Then I offered a challenge to start an exercise streak. Start with four days in a row and then see how many weeks you can do that, then months.

I’ve been learning down in San Diego though, that just having a consistent workout regimen isn’t enough to get where you want to be. It takes a lot more, apparently. 

But first you have to know where you want to be. Do you?

Most people think about the things they want, but thoughts don’t become things by accident. They must be clear, and real, and definite.

Where do you want to be in these areas one year from now? And what about three, five and ten years?

Your business and career. Is this the job and the income you want to have for the rest of your life? Have you always wanted to make it big and achieve financial independence, but you haven’t figured out how yet? Do you wish you could work remotely, or even run your own business? Where is it you really want to be?

Your family and relationships. How are your relationships with the people who matter to you? Are things how they should be with your parents, and siblings, and cousins? Are you being the spouse, father or mother you want to be? Do you often go out of your way to help your family? Can your friends count on you when they really need it? What’s the ideal vision of your relationships?

Your personal development. The work on yourself. Building character, being more disciplined. Knowing yourself better, learning what’s really important to you. Knowing what your values are, standing by them, and aligning your behaviors with them.

At the end of every day, are you happy with what you’ve accomplished? What do you want people to say and think when they hear your name? Are you being the person you really want to be?

The new skills and knowledge you want to acquire. I wish I could sing and dance and play the piano and pilot an aircraft, among other things. I want to speak Spanish, and know more about animal behavior and geography and astronomy. What do you wish you could do? What do you find fascinating, that you wish you knew more about? What do you want to learn?

The things you love to do. For me it’s playing sports. Softball, skiing, golf, some racquetball and now I’m getting more into surfing. There are plenty more for me, but what are yours? What do you love doing?

(It seems like this one might be easy, but I don’t think that could be further from the truth. You have to be dedicated to the things you love. You have to make time for them. Planning and time and money and everything. You have to make them a priority, perhaps not at the top of the list, but on the list.)

The last and seemingly most neglected though, is the creative work. I’ve been paying particular attention to this subject over the past months. What is your creative? What is it you have that the world deserves to see? Painting? Photography? Writing? Something really cool I’ve never even heard about? There is an artist inside each of us, and we all have something to create.

By the way, on this topic you must read The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. I can’t recommend it more highly, especially if there is a little project you’ve been thinking about.

Now as you were considering all of these areas, did you ever say to yourself something like, “well, I can’t focus on that because I [insert excuse, even if it’s a perfectly reasonable one]?”

We talked about excuses last week. They’re unacceptable. Because with every day that passes, great excuses or not, you have one less day to get it all. And you only have so many of those.

I can’t tell you I have it figured out. Still working at it. Battling. But there have been some bright spots. And some streaks. I have the exercise regimen going, and that started it all. Slowly, incrementally I’ve been adding more on, getting better, figuring it out, becoming more disciplined.

I’ve mentioned the Pull-Up Challenge we started 23 weeks ago (you might see a fun post about that soon). Just last week at Round Two we started the Creative Challenge. First thing on Monday morning we take five minutes each to talk about the creative work we did over the past week. If everyone contributes, we get a check mark for the week. If not, we don’t. The team, and the streak, is counting on me.

These little devices like the Pull-Up Challenge and the Creative Challenge are building accountability into the areas of life that are important. There is a lot more that needs to happen, but these are helping.

What does it look like for you? What would it be like putting it all together?

Maybe start with a list. Goals even. Think about the questions above, and write down the answers. Don’t skip the writing down part. It’s important.

There’s one thing all of your goals and pursuits have in common: none of them are going to happen by accident. They’re all going to take hard work and dedication, and probably more than that. But you’re definitely not going to get there if you don’t write them down, if you make excuses, or if you’re not willing to work for them.

So take a balanced approach. Work at it every day. Make small, incremental progress. And revisit your goals often.

If you’re feeling keen share one of your goals in the comments. Or, if you have a little device that helps you balance it all out, let’s hear it.

9 Replies to “A Balanced Approach”

  1. One of my biggest goals for the past decade (yep, ten years) has been to get my college degree. After my son (that’s you) graduated from college I realized that I needed to do the same. No excuses. So, nearly every day for the past ten years, I have made small, incremental progress toward that goal. In fact, I am writing a paper as we “speak” that will, hopefully, get me four units closer to that goal. I will achieve my goal in December of 2013, when I graduate from college. (!)

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    1. Wow Ashley what a compliment coming from you! And all this time you thought streaking was just for fun. Meet you at the California Cantina!

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  2. Nice post, Healy. Fatties like myself could benefit from a streak of ‘1’ let alone ‘4’. Time to put down the doughnuts and get out there…

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