How to Balance Life: 7 Steps to Take Back Control

It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

You’ve given everything to build your life.

But no matter what you do, you can’t seem to make it work. You’re left feeling like you’re running to catch up. It’s almost a guarantee that when you get one bit working, another bit’s going to stop. It all feels so precarious, and you can’t see why it’s not working.

Life’s full of things you want. But something’s still missing. Instead of feeling fulfilled, you’re drained; instead of in charge, you’re burnt out. And there’s no sign of it letting up. Life’s dragging you further and further away from where you really want to be.

That makes you scared.

What if this is all there is for you? What if you never find a way to the life you so desperately want? You know something needs to change, but how?

Your tactic so far has been to add more – more friends, more shopping trips, more hours at work, more holidays. That just seems to make things worse.

You need a new solution – something radical that’s going to get life back on track.

You need a clear plan to take control of life.

1. Recognise Your Superpower

Life just seems to happen to you, and that makes you feel powerless. You find yourself thinking, “If only things could be different, but what choice do I have?”

This might be tough to hear, but there is always a choice to get life back on track and make it what you want. Choice is your superpower.

As an adult, you – and you alone – are the boss of your life. Even when something happens that’s outside of your control, you get to decide how you respond.

The moment I accepted this for myself was both scary and liberating: scary because I had seen that the state of my life was ultimately all on me, liberating because I was no longer just a victim of circumstance and other people’s actions.

This first step alone will start to bring balance and order to your life as you swap “powerless” for “superpower.”

2. Get Your Bearings Straight

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Life is out of balance because you don’t know where you’re going, right?

Well, partly.

It’s also because you don’t really know where you are right now. You know life’s overwhelming, but do you know why? To discover this, you need to get really honest with yourself about where your life is today.

What is it specifically that’s making you feel your life is out of balance? Is it your job? Your relationships? Have you taken on more than you can handle

Whether it’s through journaling, meditation, mind-mapping, or a stream-of-consciousness exercise, spend some time getting to grips with where you are. The goal is to identify the areas that are out of balance so you can work on them.

Bonus step:

Try to understand how you got to where you are and what led you there. This helps you to avoid ending up back in the same place again.

Setting goals before orientating yourself is like trying to get home without even knowing what town you’re in. Not impossible, but it makes more sense to get your bearings straight before plotting the best course to your destination. Then you can get clear on where you’re going.

3. Lock In Your Destination

Now you know where you are, and you’ve got ideas about where you want to end up. So, you can just set off and find your way there. Right?

Well, you could. But there’s a better way: Lock in your precise destination.

The good news is you’ve already done the hard work for this in the last step. You’ve considered what you don’t want your life to look like and identified areas of improvement. Now, try to imagine what your life will look like once it’s come into balance.

For example, if one of your points was “I’m not spending enough time with the family,” your destination for that point might be “Spend quality time with the kids a few days a week.”

So, that’s the detailed picture of where you want your life to end up. How do you make it happen?

4. Plot the Best Course

There are many ways to achieve your goal, so how do you know which one should you choose?

Pick the one that’s right for you right now.

For one person, it may be the fastest route. For another, it may be the course where you can achieve a little each day.

There’s no right or wrong, so don’t worry! But you’ll find it more satisfying and fulfilling if the path you choose is in line with your values and goals. I recommend using S.M.A.R.T. goals as a guide, but if you have your own way that works for you, go with that instead.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.

Continuing with our example of spending more time with the kids, a S.M.A.R.T. goal would look like this:

(S) I will free up an hour a day to spend with the kids, (M) three days a week – (A) on Saturdays and Sundays plus my least busy workday, (R) which helps to achieve my priority goal of spending more time with the family. (T) I’ll start tomorrow.

Deciding what path works best for you means you’re more likely to stay the course and not hit unnecessary resistance.

It’s natural to want to get going at this point as you’ve done so much work to take control of life. But first…

5. Keep It Simple, Sunshine

This process will require your full attention. We’re looking to relieve you of stress, not add more. That means getting rid of everything else that could get in the way.

The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sunshine) principle helps here because the easier something is to understand and do, the more likely you are to complete it.

Next time you start to feel out of balance or out of control, remind yourself to keep it simple, sunshine. This is one of the main facets of how to balance life.

In his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (affiliate link), Greg McKeown says:

Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.

He points out that “priority” always used to be a singular word until our busy modern society pluralised it to cram more in. This point is supremely important if you want to achieve balance: You can only really have one priority.

You’ll need to proactively NOT do some things in order to make your goal. That is the only way to take control of life rather than letting it control you

6. Take Only One Step

Overwhelm is the thing we’re trying to get away from, so we don’t want you tearing off toward your goal in a way that’s going to add unnecessary pressure and set you back. How to balance life is not just making a beeline for what you think is your best life.

The antidote for this is simple: Take only one step. Then another. Repeat.

Identify the first step in your journey to balance. Write or draw something that represents it and stick it somewhere where it can remind you daily of your goal. Carry it out according to your S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Once you’ve taken that step, celebrate and move on.

As life is always changing, planning far into the future often fails, so decide each step as you come to make it based on your current situation and needs.

This journey of many miles starts with a single step; it will also end with one. Once you’ve mastered taking one step, you have what it takes to get you across the finish line.

Remember learning to walk? Me, neither. But you can watch any kid who’s learning and see they make a lot of mistakes. It’s one tentative step after another until they’ve got it nailed. Suddenly, they’re running.

That’ll be you soon.

7. Un-balance Your Life

Yeah, you read that right.

I said UN-balance your life.

This step is for after you’ve been living in balance for a while. Once you get life back on track, a step at a time, it’s easy to become settled. Instead of wondering how to balance life, you’re wondering how to shake things up.

One way to avoid this is to try new things by continually taking small steps. But to really unbalance life, try stuff that’s completely out of your comfort zone.

If you’re an introvert who loves books in bed, you could agree to a party with a friend. If you burn the candle at both ends, you could try getting to bed earlier and waking up later. Whatever it is, the aim is to disrupt the status quo, to learn more about yourself, and expand your horizons.

Before I started this balancing process, one small thing outside of my control was enough to destabilise my whole life to the point of collapse. Now, I can take bigger strides and even push the boundaries in ways I never imagined because I’ve established a firm foundation upon which to build the rest of my life.

GET 5 CHAPTERS OF MY BOOK FOR FREE

My book, Dig Deep, Stand Tall: How to Connect with Your Heart, Take the Limits Off of Life, and Finally Reach Your Dreams gives you everything you need to establish a foundation
and achieve total balance in your life.

Get My 5 Free Chapters

You’ve got this.

It’s all down to you. You can see that now. It’s up to you to get life back on track.

If life is frustrating, it’s because you’ve allowed it to get that way. You didn’t mean to, but you did all the same.

That’s harsh, but true.

And if you want it in balance, you have to be crystal clear on the plan that’s going to take you from where you are now to where you dream of being. That’s how you take control of life.

In balance. In charge. Fulfilled. And in control.

That’s yours if you want it. But you’re going to have to work to get there.

I know you can do it, and I’m behind you every step of the way.

You’ve got this.

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