June is a time for new beginnings, as thousands of graduating students step into the next phase of their lives. But you don't need a cap and gown to embrace the joys and opportunities that come along – to create your best life you need to find the right balance.
Defining balance can be almost as challenging as finding it in our busy lives. The term is used to describe everything from financial transactions, to weights and measures, to mental and physical well-being. Life balance means different things to different people. You might interpret life balance as a sense of peaceful calm, while someone else could feel in balance when they are able to juggle the demands of several active children, a career and community involvement – all at the same time.
However you define it, your balancing act has the same goal: to create the life you want. And whether you've graduated recently or years ago, striving for balance is worth the effort. Here are some steps to help you on your journey:
- Get to Know Yourself
Understanding yourself and what you need is the basis for a happy life and the guide to future good decisions. What are your values? What is important to you? What people and activities do you enjoy most? What gives you the greatest satisfaction? Answering these questions isn't a selfish exercise but a window to the life you want to lead. Knowing yourself helps you to align your actions and choices with what is important to you.
- Find What Energizes You
When people do what they enjoy, they radiate energy and enthusiasm. Pursuing things you are passionate about helps you connect with people who share those interests and gives you satisfying ways to spend your time. As you explore your interests, pay attention to the people and situations that enhance or deplete your energy. You'll find greater happiness focusing on people and activities that help you feel energized.
- Establish and Test Your Vision
Picture the life you want, including the activities you'd like to pursue, people you'd like to meet, things you'd like to learn and places you want to visit. Write down a few broad goals to help you turn that vision into reality, and then do your research. Ask others about their experiences, including a financial representative, and try out a few of your ideas. Your test drive will help you confirm what you really want and fine-tune your plans.
- Disconnect and Get Inspired
Once in a while, step away from the noise of constant distractions, disconnect from technology and do something that inspires you. It might be taking a walk in nature, practicing yoga, meeting a friend for coffee or reading poetry. Taking time to rejuvenate periodically will help you be more calm, productive and creative in your day-to-day life.
- Choose the Best and Let Go of the Rest
With so many options and opportunities available today, you simply can't do everything that is presented to you. Compare each opportunity to your broad goals and prioritize accordingly. You'll find many things that are "good" for you, some that are "better" for you, and still fewer that are "best." Choose the activities that support your goals best and don't worry about the rest. This includes focusing on the most important tasks and ridding yourself of things that add unnecessary stress.
- Keep Things in Perspective
Daily demands and pressures can be stressful at times, but it is important to focus on what we can control and try not to worry about things we can't. Choose a positive attitude and you will help others as well as yourself.
- Stay Connected to Your Values
When setbacks hit, as they sometimes do, that's when you will experience the strength and stability that comes from having a balanced approach in your life. You can find comfort in knowing that your internal core principles and beliefs are constant, even in the face of external changes and challenges.
Whether it's at commencement time, or at any time throughout the year, you can achieve balance by establishing your values, visualizing your goals and prioritizing to do what's best. This thoughtful process based on core values is the first step in reaching your goals. Contact a financial representative today to explore the next step and to help create a financial plan to meet your goals.