Joanna takes great care of her health, loves her job and maintains decent relationships in her life. Her home is an absolute dump and she hasn't looked at her bank account in weeks. This causes some low-level nervousness for Joanna, but delving into a fulfilling work day makes it all OK*forced smile*!
Like Joanna, it is common for you to pay the MOST attention to 1,2 or even 3 things. The other parts get a bad deal. Basically, it’s shitty pizza math that you’re applying to your life.
definition : a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
The really annoying thing about finding balance is that it is niiiiice and fluid. So, once you have a balanced afternoon with 1 hour of work, 1 hour soaking in the tub, 1 hour reading etc., you are not then in a permanent state of equilibrium. It changes moment to moment, day to day, forever. You’ve got to remain aware of what is not getting ample attention. Imagine a waiter who is filling a whole cluster of cups with a water pitcher, and starts a conversation with one of his co-workers. He doesn't realize he is still filling the same cup and letting the water run all over the counter. Most of the other cups are empty. Hey, it happens! Currently my overflowing cup is personal development. Yes - that can be too full as well. I'd like to start filling my finances cup once I finish writing this...
You might make your own version of the life balance wheel(or even just a list) with the same or different dimensions. You can choose needs that feel more true for you. What can you do to give more attention to your near-empty cups?
WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH BEING #FITAF?
Once you recognize the balance you need in your big-picture life, you can hone in on what you direction to take your fitness. To go back to the spinning on a bat example, once you steady your feet and make sure you’re not going to face plant or walk right off the track - you attempt to walk straight ahead. Similarly, once we have the life balance to feel grounded, we can clearly decide which direction to walk. In other words, we can view our level of fitness objectively, and make clear decisions on how to improve based on what we want. That might be toward a triathlon, or a powerlifting competition, or a serious long term sustainable fat loss program.
Feeling rushed, over tired, achy, or overwhelmed might be your signal that you are one out-of-balance individual. Is your calendar overbooked? Do you sleep enough? How’s the water intake? No one ever reached their fitness goals from a state of overwhelm. Do Olympic level athletes get ready for their trials using a 6-week couch to Olympics guide? (NO! HINT: it's a long-term precise training program).
Don’t forget how much choice you have with your time. If you have too much to do, carve out some time to prioritize what’s important. Oh - and cancel some shit! It’s YOUR SCHEDULE. If you’re not filling it, who is?
Let us briefly revisit Joanna (above). From Joanna's balance wheel, it’s clear that her main priority is career. Career will obviously be the quickest area of positive growth in her life. She cannot expect to achieve the bangin' body she has in mind with so much energy put toward her career. However, she still beats herself up because she "should be able" to have that body. Wrong. The best looking bodies out there have the majority of their wheel filled in with self care, personal development and training. You can’t expect to have exactly what you want with your fitness if you don’t give it the focused attention that it requires.
Unfortunately you cannot have it all, 100% of the time. Maybe you look to others and believe they have it all, but you don't know crap about their needs. You're just comparing yourself to others to make yourself feel bad. They might have a 0 in the intimacy category because their partner is never home. The point is, you don't know. No one has it all. Focus on you. I think many people who have unmet needs decide to punish and shame their own bodies . Our bodies are an easy target, and of course the media constantly aids us in feeling flawed.
Your unmet needs are very likely to blame for not getting what you want in the gym. You may ignore your needs and let your assumed lack of progress feel like a reflection of who you are as a person: imperfect, flawed, stuck, not worthy. So get out a piece of paper, draw your wheel and find out what needs attention in your life!
ME: SPINNING OUT OF BALANCE
As an overwhelmed college student, I starved my way to 89 lbs(about 30 lbs underweight) which felt like a victory to me at the time. In retrospect, I see that so many aspects of my life suffered because i was hangry for food(obviously) but also for self-care. My grades were barely passable. My spiritual/personal development was non-existent, and my health was straight-up bad. One doctor told me that my heart was in serious danger if I continued that way. My emptiness was spilling over to concerned friend and my parents, who were suffering with worry. Also, my inattention to my own basic needs had an extremely negative effect on my body (because I blamed my body). My needs could only be met by me alone. This is why you always have to put your own oxygen mask on first. Imbalance within you has a spillover effect.
What did I do? Long story very short, I tapped into my inner guidance system. My intuition. You have your own. There’s a quiet voice within you that works for your best interest.
My inner voice told me that I needed to be kinder to myself for the sake of my life. No external look would change how I felt about myself. I allowed myself to heal. Fast forward a decade (plus a couple years) and my relationship to my body is 1000x better, and fitness has a very healthy spot in my life.
When it comes to fitness, finding balance will allow you to think calmly about what it is you’d like to achieve. Finding balance is how we address that "something's missing" feeling. Success in fitness comes from a delightful life balance, with a special fitness prioritization. Reaching a higher level of fitness should not serve as a prescription for shitty health, or a slap on the wrist for having cake, or an urgent cure-all. It’s part of a balanced life. If your fitness cup is almost full on the life wheel, success is inevitable. We're all going nowhere fast, so just enjoy the journey ;)