When setting goals, people often dream of mansions, private jets, and Ferraris. But there is a lot to be said for having a well-balanced life. It is the primary ingredient to a life of happiness and contentment.
Evaluate your life and measure how balanced your life is:
1. Do you have sufficient income to meet your needs?
This goes beyond having enough money for housing, food, and clothes. Do you have enough income to meet your basic needs and to pursue your hobbies, take a nice vacation, and splurge on yourself from time to time?
2. How is your social life?
Are you able to get out of the house as much as you’d like and spend quality time with others? If you’re a loner, you might only need a couple of friends. A social butterfly will require more.
3. Are you spiritually fulfilled?
You might not need to live like a monk on a mountaintop, but perhaps you need a few hours alone in a peaceful location each week. Or a mindfulness meditation break after getting home from work.
4. Are you healthy?
If your health is limiting your life, is there something you can do to strengthen it?
5. Is your career everything you want it to be?
A job that makes you miserable taints the other parts of your life, too.
6. Hobbies. What do you do outside of work and your family time?
Do you feel that you’re developing as a person? Do you have the free time you need to pursue your other interests?
Take the time to rate each item on a 1-10 scale. Any items rated 3 or less require immediate attention. If your income is rated a 7, but your social life is a 2, you’ll be much happier by enhancing your social life than you will by increasing your income further.
Finally, what is your work-life balance like?
Researchers have found that exercise plays a role in how individuals feel they can manage their work-life balance.
Conflict between work and home can be categorized in two ways. Work interference with family describes typical job-based pressures that can lead to interference (either time or psychologically) of family time.
Family interference with work is when personal issues find a way into the workday and compete with “work time.” Researchers wanted to find if exercise helped both.
Another study looked at high-intensity aerobic exercise. Both showed reductions of self-reported stress. What researchers didn’t know is if the reduction of stress actually helped empower individuals to feel they had better work-life balance.
Russell Clayton, assistant professor of management at Saint Leo University and lead author on the paper, explains:
“The idea sounds counterintuitive. How is it that adding something else to our work day helps to alleviate stress and empower us to deal with work-family issues? We think exercise is a way to psychologically detach from work – you’re not there physically and you’re not thinking about it either – and, furthermore, it can help us feel good about ourselves."