It isn’t easy balancing all the different areas of our lives. Sometimes it feels as if we are hanging on to a giant bunch of colorful balloons and if we aren’t holding on tightly to every single string then …POOF! There goes all of our balloons up in the air drifting away, heading for the clouds or trees, getting caught up in the branches of life.
Ever felt like a wailing child who’s balloon just went POP? Whaaaaaa, There went my red balloooon……
But Honey…you still have a green one.
But I neeeed my red one tooooo……
Of course you do. We need all of our Balloons. Every single one of them. But somehow, just as you get the air back in the Physical Fitness Balloon the Spend Time with Family Balloon starts sinking slowly to the ground. Then Bob at work signs you up as the team leader for an important project and the Business Balloon gets puffed full of air while the Fitness Balloon takes a nosedive. And that Spiritual Balloon? Comes up only on Sunday. The Finance Balloon? Well, You kick it along on the ground with your toe, just to help it keep up.
Sure, you have goals. But every time you start on a goal, something else seems to suffer. It’s almost frightening to start something new. It’s like planning to fail, you can just feel one of those balloons start to lose air. The question is…which one?
It doesn’t have to be so frightening. ( says the Queen of focus) ( yes, I know, it’s terrifying) There is a way that can help those of us that struggle to keep our balloons in the air. I write this as one who struggles. I write as one who is learning as I go along. Not as an expert. I once said you would never hear about how I am an expert in balance at Life’s Little Inspirations. And you won’t. But I will share what helps a cobbler, cobbling along. Balance is my handicap. I get a new gig and I run full force with two feet forward until I fall down. However, as I learn and grow, I fall faster and get up quicker. I grab my balloon string just as it starts to slip now instead of after the red balloon is gliding off to heaven. I’m learning some tips to help me hang on to my balloons.
I thought I’d share my tips with you, maybe you can share some of yours with me, maybe together we can keep our balloons a little longer!
Wendi’s Tips For Balancing Balloons
Label your balloons clearly. It’s not enough to know that they are the RED Balloon and the GREEN Balloon. Get in touch with your main balloons. What are they? What are the main five to six areas of your life that need your daily focus? What balloons are you trying to keep in the air?
Look at your goals. Name the number 1.2.& 3 goals for each balloon. Now take a good look. Are these connected? Or do they have you running in circles? Try looking for a long term goal, then breaking it down into a ninety day goal. Now what can you do this week to affect that goal? How about today? See the difference? You might want to put the other two goals aside for a bit if they weren’t connected to the long term vision. The point of the exercise is to end up with a short term, a mid-term (90 day) and your long term goal.
Put it in Writing. Now that you have a goal for each balloon, put it in writing. IF YOUR PLAN IS NOT IN WRITING, IT ISN’T A PLAN, ITS A DREAM. Get out your planning calendar and start filling in dates that you will take action on your plan. Seeing an actual appointment on your calendar will hold you more accountable. Write in the TIME that you will do the action. Make the actual appointment. IF it’s not on your calendar, it’s not a plan…if it’s not a plan…it’s a dream. ( Starting to sink in?)
Ask yourself WHY? Why have you made these goals? Staying motivated to keep balanced in all of these goals is difficult. It takes discipline and focus. Staying Motivated is linked to your inner purpose, your inner drive and your passion. No passion = no fuel in the tank to make it happen. Write down the WHY of your goals. “I am doing this because….. ” Make sure you know what your passion is for each one of your balloons. Sometimes we only feel passion for one of our balloons at a time. This is the single largest reason our other balloons start sinking to the ground. Start a sentence for each balloon that says “I am passionate about this because…” and review it daily.
Record and compare & Journal. Track your results in a daily planner or on your calendar. Be accountable to the progress you made in each area. Remember, this isn’t a long list. With only one goal of focus in each area, you are only looking at a few minutes a day. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by making your expectations too high. The goal is one bite of the elephant at a time in each area. We aren’t out to eat the entire herd! Journal about your progress and expectations. No matter how it FEELS like it’s going, stay the course! The discipline of sticking it out when the going gets rough brings opportunity and personal growth, whether you meet the original goal or not!.
Create an visual reminder. Draw a chart with the five circles in it, or make a poster board with different color balloons if that helps you. Keep it present, in front of you. Out of sight is out of mind. If you want to make a dry erase board that you can write on every day-go for it! What ever makes it easy for you to envision the balloons that you are trying to keep up.
Keep it fun! You are more likely to stick with something if you are having fun with it. Balloons are fun for me to imagine, But you can turn balloons into whatever is fun for you. Have a good time with it. Running shoes, or Stars or Olympic Circles. One point of the theme that is significant to me is that they are all connected. It reminds me that no part of my life survives untouched without the rest. When my health suffers, my family suffers, when my family suffers, my work suffers. When my work suffers our budget suffers. And around and around it goes.
Balance is important. That doesn’t mean that it will ever be easy for me. I think I’m genetically predisposed to be creative and energetic and run through life like a shooting star. Not so much like a Zen Master. But by finding creative and fun ways to work on balance, I can keep my balloons from floating away.
How about you? How do you keep your balloons from flying off to heaven or running out of air? Please share! We all need the help!
LOVE the balloon analogy! It is going to create a great visual for me now as I try to hold on to MY balloons. I don’t know…maybe I should just pop some of my balloons and make my life a little easier.
Karen Swim says
Wendi, I like balloons so this was a great visual for me. It is hard to not grab all of the balloons but I’ve learned to not blow them all up at one time. If I hang on to a few balloons at a time routinely, when I need to add a color I have room for it. These are really great tips and it is nice to support and encourage one another. Thanks Wendi!
Monika Mundell says
Your balloon analogy was great as like you, I struggle with my balloons too. The visual bonus of adding the colors really does help too. What a wonderful way to describe what most of us so clearly struggle with. 🙂
Melissa Donovan says
I keep my balloons up with a really long to do list that is broken down by days of the week. Below the days of the week, I have a list of upcoming action items for the following weeks and I just sort of rotate everything, updating and changing the list throughout each day. It’s still a balancing act though!
Darren Daz Cox says
I just keep trying to maintain my balloons as a group with a conscious effort to go forward even when life tries to blow my stack of balloons of course. i don’t, however, worry too much about individual balloons as I don’t have any major dependents.
Barbara Swafford says
Great analogy. Thinking of it that way, makes it so simple to put into perspective.
You hit the nail on the head when you spoke of balance. I’ve also leaned to say no to things that will take me away from my “balloons”.
I can’t tell you how serendipitous it is that I found your blog tonight and read the balloon analogy. I love it and look forward to your other entries!
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Hi Wendi – I found you this morning through Karen Swim, and boy, am I thankful! You’ve put into words what I struggle with on a daily basis. Thank you so much, I look forward to reading more from you!
Welcome to the Life’s Little Inspiration Community! I am so glad you have found us as well! I hope that you will consider subscribing ( Little button, top corner) and becoming a regular member of our group. Your comments and thoughts will help us to grow and we all help each other to figure these things out as we share our tips with each other!
Balance is hard for most of us I think! But as we stick together and encourage each other, we find out we aren’t alone and somehow that helps!We can do it together!
Around here we say CAN and WILL !
I’ve been thinking this week about your comment of saying no.
There will be a whole blog post coming on that in the near future. I don’t often think of the inspiring aspects of the little word NO ( oops I just made it a BIG word…) but it can be very inspiring, don’t you think, when it comes to maintaining balance?
Melissa, I guess that list thing is kinda what I do…but it’s what I don’t like, if it’s one long list. . So the balloon/circle thing keeps it broken up in the different circles of my life. That way, I am sure to do some in each group. Helps with the balance. I actually really DO keep it in seperate circles. Circles instead of long lines.
Loraleigh Vance says
I love the ballon analogy! Brilliant. I’m gonna have to think on this some.