Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends, and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.- Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises from 1959-1994.
I think this quote is a profound metaphor for the challenge we all have in creating balance. Much like juggling balls, rubber or glass, juggling your life is no mean feat. We live in a society that demands a lot of us. We are expected to have it all: a brilliant career, a bustling social life, a beautiful home, a charming family, and let us not forget a healthy body, mind and spirit. Whew! So, how are you juggling your life?
In fitness, we talk about the specificity principle. Put into juggling terms, if you want to improve your juggling skills you have to practice juggling. And exactly what does that mean in a non-metaphorical sense? In order to have a good balance in all aspects of your life you must actively work at creating that good balance. Just like improving your juggling skills, improving your ability to balance your life comes only with intention and practice.
In order to have effective intention you need to look at what your priorities are, i.e. which balls are you choosing to juggle with? (take a minute and write these down).
Now, take those priorities and create your intentions for them; then, using those intentions, set some goals for each of those priorities. For example, say one of your priorities is family. Your intention may be to create more connection with your family. A goal may be to connect with your whole family once per week by having family night, or by sitting down together for a meal once per day for the next month. Or perhaps your priority is health and your intention is to improve your fitness. Your goal may be to go for a walk or hit the gym 3 times per week for the quarter. Notice that each goal was specific and had a timeline. Use your timeline to evaluate how you’re doing and make effective changes.
Finally, I think that it is important to recognize that none of these priorities comes first at all times. Just like juggling, the same ball isn’t always on top; instead they are always moving in response to their surroundings, and the actions taken on them. The bottom line is that none of the balls is ever dropped entirely.
This month, I challenge you to look at your priorities and use the focus of your intention to create goals and improve your juggling skills. Practice a life in balance!
Gillian Goerzen is a provincially registered personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She is a member of the Northridge Firness Team and provides seminates on health and wellness to corporate and private clients. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org