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Has coronavirus forced you to reinvent your life?

Has coronavirus forced you to reinvent your life?

Financial freedom, a healthy mind and body, life balance: as unique as every person is, most people share these common goals. Life balance in particular is an important goal for many people, the ability to equally balance our priorities, passions and responsibilities.

Has coronavirus forced you to reinvent your life?

If you think “finding balance” is about squeezing as much as possible into every day, think again.

There’s a lot of emphasis today on having a balanced life, and the concept is really failing people, says professional coaching consultant Belinda Corcoran.

“Telling someone to find balance without offering them practical tools to do that can lead to disaster. Often, what people hear is that they should be doing more; they should be able to work long hours, spend quality time with their family and friends, work out, play with the dog and spend time on a hobby, every day – if they don’t achieve all that, they’re a failure. In reality, however, if people do try to fit it all in, they usually end up overworked and exhausted, with little time to actually enjoy life.”

Corcoran says that when people want to overhaul their life, she usually takes them through her five-step process so they can actually achieve and enjoy what they’re trying to create. “Once they know the process they can use it for the rest of their life, because finding balance is a constant process as our needs and wants change,” she says.

1. Recognise: Before you can make any changes, you need to be clear about what life balance means to you. Life balance will mean something different to everyone and it’s necessary to be really honest about what’s important to you at this stage in your life. If it’s getting into shape, that has to be at the top of your list. If it’s strengthening your relationship with your partner or spending quality time with your kids, that has to be your focus. Establishing your priorities is important because it will help you to manage your time.

2. Evaluate: Again, it’s important to be honest. This step is about looking at where and how you spend your time and energy. It’s helpful to observe and write down how you spend your time for a few days. Pay particular attention to how much time you spend in front of the television, on social media or other mindless activities out of habit. We all have the same amount of time. Where we invest it is how we differ.

3. Question: It’s easy to fall into the trap of yearning for society’s accepted goals when they’re not really your own. “Some of my ‘successful’ clients have mourned spending a huge chunk of their life climbing the corporate ladder, only to realise it’s not actually what brings them joy,” says Corcoran. “It’s a scary journey to forge your own path and not follow the crowd, but ultimately only you can live your life and it’s your responsibility to craft it how you want it. At this stage in the re-invention process you need to be really clear about where you want to be, how you want your life to look, what’s irrelevant in your life and what your ‘musts’ are.”

4. Plan: It’s pointless just to wish for something, hoping it materialises ‘one day’. You need to formulate a plan of action to reach your goals. If your priority is to spend more quality time with your kids, be clear about how to do that. It may mean you can spend only a few extra hours with them on weekends, but make sure you spend the time doing something meaningful, not watching television or being on the computer in the next room. Planning often involves negotiating with others so that everyone and everything can support you to reach your goal.

5. Time: Achieving balance involves reviewing where you’re going in your life. Priorities change and you need to regularly make time to reassess your life. “Re-inventing your life isn’t easy. It requires getting out of your comfort zone and making changes,” says Corcoran. “An important aspect of the process is understanding that when you make a change to one area of your life, every other area is affected. If you choose to develop your career, you have to take time from another area of your life. “When you acknowledge that, you can let go of guilt and pressure and be more confident in your goals. To achieve balance you need to live in the moment and enjoy life. Don’t always focus on what you have to do; engage fully in what you’re doing right now.”

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