The Great Balancing Act (Or, How to Do it All)
A Guest Post by Lisa Dolbear
I’m often asked how I manage to do “all the things.” In no particular order, I’m constantly juggling expectations and needs across the following areas:
- My professional career as a strategist in an advertising agency
- My freelance career as a fitness and lifestyle writer
- My ability to deliver effective (and fresh) fitness classes in spinning, weight-training and kickboxing six times a week
- My responsibilities as a mom (to my two pre-K children)
- My desire to remain “exciting” as a wife (date nights, new recipes, etc.)
- My hard-wired need to have a clean and orderly house
Yeah, it’s a lot — but it’s not impossible. The secret? Passion. Across the board, I am mentally engaged in everything I do in a meaningful way. I rarely “go through the motions.” Being passionate is about letting the motions go through YOU — it’s about finding ways to let your responsibilities empower and uplift you, rather than hinder you and hold you down. Think of the word passion as “a strong emotional investment.”
When something inspires a strong emotional investment, we tend to make time for that thing. Finding a half an hour to go for a run is easier than finding a half an hour to clean the refrigerator. Why? Because subconsciously you know that the run is going to fuel your body and mind for anything else that happens during the day. You know that you’re putting in 30 minutes to get 12 hours of feel-good back. Without realizing it, you’ve conditioned yourself to make running a part of “your balance,” whereas cleaning out the refrigerator just feels like a chunk of time you’re throwing away.
Many people think about balance in terms of time — if something can’t fit within the day, then it doesn’t get done. Yes, there’s a scheduling component to successfully doing many things, but the bigger key to balance is recognizing how each engagement you take on can nourish you and give you the ability to thrive across multiple areas. Over time, as you become more careful about what you choose to balance in your life, you’ll realize that if you’re making the right choices everything in your life starts to interconnect and act as a synergy.
As a fitness instructor, I work hard on memorizing choreography, cueing movements at the right time during a workout, and finding a motivating way to deliver the whole experience seamlessly. I’m getting a workout in for my body and my brain — this in turn makes me a better strategist when I work with clients in advertising. My brain is trained to see patterns, group things together or separate them apart and find meaning in that. In this way, I see my work as a fitness instructor as a supporting tool for my work as a strategist and vice versa. It’s a natural progression for me to write about fitness — I’m pulling from a long background as an athlete, a coach and an instructor, and using skill sets from advertising to share that background (developing insights, creatively expressing ideas, etc.). All of this helps me to have a healthy regard for my body and mind, which in turn makes me a better mom and wife.
Finding balance doesn’t happen overnight, but there are a few things you can start doing today to get better at “doing it all,” especially when it comes to incorporating fitness into your lifestyle.
- What does your workout do for you? What are you getting out of it? Focus on the things that are more mental and spiritual. How do those things tie into other areas of your life? When you start to see the workout as more than a block of time, you’ll be more inclined to “fit it in.”
- Be flexible — If you normally take a 60-min kickboxing class but you only have 20 minutes for a workout today, find something you can do in the shorter time period that might enhance your next workout. Crank out 20 minutes of lunges or jump knees to your favorite music. Try a completely different workout, or get creative in your immediate environment (run stairs, do box jumps on a park bench, etc.).
- Be unapologetic about your time. I schedule workouts like meetings. They’re woven into my day and they are firm appointments I must see to, unless an emergency comes up. There are few things that override the designated workout time — it’s a priority like brushing your teeth, or getting an appointment to see a medical specialist. You must treat your “fitness” time as something that is required to your being. — and you must not apologize for that.
- Identify at least three ways your workout makes you better at another area in your life. Be specific. It could something as simple as “when I go for a run, it clears my head to make better decisions at work.” The goal is to tie your success in the gym to the wider world around you.
And one last word — balance is something you’ll ever nail: it’s a game that changes daily. Life is unpredictable and circumstances change. Balance only works if you can build it from the inside (your attitude, your perceptions, etc.). Once that’s intact, it doesn’t matter what happens on the outside because you’ll the tools to adapt.
Get a customized program for your busy lifestyle by taking advantage of a complimentary personal training session at Elevate Fitness. Valid for first-time training clients, local to the Syracuse area aged 18 and over only. Other restrictions my apply.