Balance is a sticky subject among many people. We have careers, partners, children, family commitments, charity work, classes, hobbies, chores, to-do lists, spirituality time – plus, big desires to improve our health.

How can one possibly balance so many things?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here: You can’t.

Balance. Is It A Myth?

I like to think of “harmony” as an easier goal than balance. Harmony means everything is co-existing in a spirit of cooperation. However, whatever you want to call it – harmony, balance, or “fitting it all in” – there is a secret to doing more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.

Want to hear it? I just need to warn you that although the equation sounds simple, it actually takes massive willpower to execute. It also requires that you get absolutely clear on what you want your life to look like, and what you do not want in your life.

Ready? Okay, here’s the secret:

* First ask yourself what is not serving you. What doesn’t need to be in your life? What is dragging you down? What is getting in your way of making healthy choices? What is keeping you awake at night? What is keeping you from living your best life? – Write it down and get clear.

* Have you identified a few things? A few habits or patterns that are getting in the way?

* Now is the time to start crowding out the things you don’t want in your life with the things you do want in your life. The next step is to ask yourself what you do want in your life – or in this week or day? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to do differently? Who do you want to spend more time with? How do you want to feel? Focus your energy on these things. Anything that doesn’t fit into this larger betterment plan…let it go (or learn how to say “no”). Not finding any options? Then it may be time to get real about the choices you made that have led you to this point. Evaluate what takes up most of your time, what makes you most unhappy, and what, if anything, you can do to change it.

This isn’t always easy or even possible, but if the HUGE lifestyle changes like changing jobs or hiring childcare aren’t a possibility, look for other small ways to change. Do you value spending time in nature but don’t have time to go on hikes every day? Start by adding a small potted garden to your life that you could tend to for 10 minutes each day. That may be just enough, at least for now to get your love of nature in. So while the idea of complete work-life balance is potentially a myth in my opinion. Bringing awareness to your own personal values, making small changes to your lifestyle, and allowing yourself some grace, forgiveness, curiosity, and adjustability will help you to enjoy your “imbalanced” life with a little more harmony.

Ready to dive in and make a few changes? Give these steps a try and see how much more harmonious and satisfying your life can be. No balance required.

Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

Author Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

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