Creating a more balanced lifestyle for some of us may mean spending more energy or keeping more in reserve for taking care of yourself, getting a good night sleep, exercising and spending quality time with friends and family. For others it means taking control of your career and reinvigorating your approach to your work.
Below are four simple steps for creating a more balanced lifestyle and most importantly, making that change stick.
1. Identify your optimal activity level.
It is important to be mindful of the fact that some people have more personal energy than others; some people thrive when they have a lot going on at home and work, whereas others are more reflective and have a much lower energy threshold. Being aware of where you sit on this ‘energy continuum’ is important for managing your energy levels so that you spend quality time on the things that make you happy and healthy rather than letting your energy and other external factors manage you.
2. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
Start by setting some realistic goals; ones that you really believe are achievable. For example, set a goal of ‘come in late one day a week so I can go swimming before work’ rather than ‘get fit’. You’ll soon find that the positive reinforcement you get from achieving a small change reaffirms your commitment to it in the longer-term and stops you from failing at making a big change that is short-lived. As you achieve your goal you can make bigger incremental changes.
Specifically, be able to explain what it will feel like to succeed and fail at making the change you are aiming for. The more you can visualise what you will lose or gain by achieving your goal, the more likely you are to commit to the change. For example, ‘taking on an additional responsibility at work to broaden my skillset, will make me more marketable for my next career move and increase my network’.
4. Consider the interdependencies.
In order to rebalance your energy, it is likely that you’ll need to stop doing some things to make room for others. Be very clear about the ‘do not’s’ as well as the ‘do’s’. If the change you want to make requires some flexibility or support from your manager, don’t be afraid to ask. If you make a reasonable request and are clear about the personal benefits, most employers will be open to giving it a go and at the very least, they might be open to a pilot which will give them comfort that they aren’t committing to something they think might not work out.
This article was written by Laura Heathcock, a chartered psychologist and a senior employee engagement consultant from Aon Hewitt’s global employee engagement team. The team work with more than 5,000 organisations across 120 countries, helping them implement high impact employee engagement strategies such as employee surveys, exit surveys and employee lifecycle research to drive business performance.
This was a guest post for TheEmployable