50 things you can do to stay safely perched on your own balance beam

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A few weeks ago, The Porch featured a post I called “My own personal balance beam.”  This item discussed the seven areas of my life that I feel must function in concert to have a truly balanced life.  Today, I wanted to share a few thoughts (50 in all) of practical things you can do to help achieve that balance we all desire.  General thoughts are nice, but we often value even more those recommendations that we can actually do… actions we can take… that can help us be successful. 

So, here is my list categorized in the seven areas discussed in the recent post (see the post here… My personal balance beam):

Faith (and Service to others)

  1. Commit to some specific activity to serve others, either on a regular basis or a significant one-time activity – this is a great way to help your children understand the importance of serving others
  2. Read the Bible through during the year
  3. Find a source of daily inspiration (there are many available) that provide a motivating quote or commentary to start each day
  4. Visit a home for the elderly and speak with some of the residents – they appreciate someone to listen to their stories, write a letter for them, or just sit and talk
  5. Share what you believe and why you believe it with at least one person – then, listen to their story, as well – it is good to be able to vocalize what faith means to you and hear the same from someone else
  6. Pay for what the car behind you bought the next time you are in a drive-through restaurant line – do it anonymously as a simply gesture of good will to another
  7. Go out of your way to thank person in military service, a police office, or a first responder – a handshake and thank you is nice; paying for their coffee or doing something practical for them is even better

Family

  1. Husbands, read The Wedding by James Patterson – this book is an easy read that will give you a fresh and potentially life-changing love for your wife (sorry, wives, I don’t have a similar recommendation for you)
  2. Have a movie night once per month – be sure to include the popcorn
  3. Try to have dinner all together at the same table at least 3-4 or more times per week – these times are precious, especially with kids in the house, for bonding, sharing, and strengthening your family ties
  4. Split up family chores, commensurate with age and ability, to share home responsibilities and to teach responsibility
  5. Call a family member that lives away at least once/week – sometimes, we tend to wait for someone else to call us rather than take the initiative to make the first move
  6. Write a hand-written letter to your spouse or loved one – share with him/her what they mean to you and why you love them the way you do
  7. Take that vacation or road trip you’ve been talking about, but have yet to do – my siblings and I still talk about our adventures on these trips when we were kids
  8. Get together with your siblings to reminisce about your own days growing up
  9. Plan and take your spouse on a weekend getaway, just the two of you – every couple should do this at least annually

Friends

  1. Schedule (and fulfill) a monthly lunch out with one or more of your good friends – if you don’t put it on the calendar, it likely won’t get done
  2. Write a letter to a past friend that you have not seen in over a year to reconnect – you might even thank them for what they have meant to your life or career
  3. Surprise a friend with a coffee mug or other small gift from your next trip – even a small gesture shows you care
  4. Look for an opportunity to meet a specific need for a friend, such as provide a meal card when a sickness occurs, then do it
  5. Learn the birthdays for your colleagues and friends – then, remember them with a card or note – I think we all know the value of showing we care
  6. Surprise a friend with a kindness that is unexpected and out-of-character for you – they need to learn that you aren’t totally predictable

Firm (or Work)

  1. Organize your work life – delete unneeded files and folders, eliminate paper, and minimize the clutter in your work life
  2. Begin preparing for your year-end performance review now – create folders for those highlights, commendations, etc. that will assist you later in the year when you write your self-assessment
  3. Consider using a single notebook or journal for notes from meetings, phone calls, discussions, etc. rather than keeping individual pieces of paper for each event – the journal (e.g., very inexpensive composition notebook is fine) is easy to carry, gives you one thing to remember, and allows easy access without losing important information
  4. Develop the habit of leaving work in time to attend important events and activities for your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews – you may have only once chance to enjoy these and the kids always hope you’ll be there – besides, the work will be there when you return the next day
  5. Keep your resume updated – it is not just for job searching, but to ensure that you track key career highlights and stay attuned to your own career progression
  6. Increase networking with those outside your own company – re-establish contact with those ex-colleagues and stay in touch with those that already know you
  7. Refresh your LinkedIn profile and content – in today’s world, LinkedIn has become the go-to source for recruiters and others that need to connect
  8. Attend at least one local industry event that is pertinent to your job/function – these events are good for staying current in your field, but they are also good for networking

Fun

  1. Play hide-and-go seek with your family indoors after dark – you will be amazed at how fun this is and the bonds and memories it grows
  2. Plan a day trip once a month to a state park, museum, or other place where you can learn something new, experience something new, and have fun with your family
  3. Create a photo book to preserve vacation photos or just typical photos from the past year – these books will become a tradition of fun that you cherish for years (our family uses Shutterfly, though we have also used Mpix)
  4. Go fishing, ice skating, roller skating, rock climbing, fly a kite, etc. – just do something unusual and, possibly, as a surprise to the family
  5. Read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King – this is not a well-known King book, but one that might give you a fun, new perspective on a great author (without the freaky sci-fi stuff common in many of King’s books)
  6. Do something totally spontaneous and unexpected – last summer, I jumped into the kiddie swimming pool with my grandchildren fully clothed (yes, I had thought ahead to remove my wallet and phone) – these are some of those things that will be remembered long after you are gone
  7. Go to see live music as much as you can – mix it up to see a variety of musicians at different venues – this can be both fun and rewarding
  8. Have a pizza night at home making a variety of pizzas with different toppings – experiment with cooking to create an activity that everyone can enjoy

Physical (Fitness or Health)

  1. Find a new or unique place to hike – perhaps, create a family challenge to take a 10-mile hike along a river or through the mountains
  2. Dig that old bicycle out of the basement and try riding it – who knows, you might re-develop a new love for riding
  3. Make one small change in your diet that will result in a health improvement – for example, eliminate chips or chocolate for one month (or begin having oatmeal for breakfast), then decide if you want to continue
  4. Establish a goal that you can do with or with the support of your family, such as run a 5K, walk 10 miles, ride a bicycle 20 miles, etc. – many choose to increase their average number of steps over the course of the year
  5. Turn off the television at least one evening a week and do something active – you can catch up with what you missed later, if you have a DVR anyway
  6. Get an annual physical exam, especially if you have not had one in several years – others need to finally have that colonoscopy that they have neglected, that overdue mammogram, or that dental exam you’ve delayed

Function (or Mind or Learning)

  1. Learn a new skill, such as a new software package, playing an instrument, trying a new sport
  2. Create a personal journal to record special events, hopes and dreams for the future, and activities that you hope to remember in the future – I did this for 8 or 10 years when our three kids lived at home; it is fun to go back and read my thoughts and the specifics of the day when our kids were born, when big family events occurred, etc.
  3. Read a non-fiction book at least once/quarter – studies have shown that some of the most productive and intelligent people in the world continue a habit of reading through their lifetime
  4. Expand your appreciation for music or the arts – during the past year, I re-discovered a genre of music that I had forgotten even existed and, as a result, I gained a new appreciation for the lyrics and talents of that generation of musicians
  5. Do something artistic – make a gift for someone else, paint a picture, write a poem, write a short story, etc.
  6. Consider attaining a work-related certification – the benefit in learning a new area and gaining certification helps develop both your mind and your career

I’m sure you can think of many more.  The point is, find something specific you can do to create more balance in your life.  Don’t neglect any one of these areas, but work to attain some ongoing, consistent activities in each of these seven areas.  Early in a new year is a great time to start.

Have a great day!  This might just be our very best yet!

 

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