Many of my clientele are either business owners or high end management/executives in their companies. What does this mean? It means they are drivers and achievers. They push themselves hard to reach a goal.
The problem is that they often end up in my office totally tanked. They have fatigue, sleep issues, depression, and chronic pain as a result. They get to the point that the energy they do have gets put towards job performance and the home life suffers. Their body is finding rest since they aren’t doing it actively.
In our conversations, they are often the ones to bring up that their work-life balance is tipping over. The problem is that many feel they have to choose one or the other. They feel they have to put their energy into work or they have to put their energy into life. This just isn’t so. Yes you can sit on a fence post and technically be balanced but that’s amazingly uncomfortable and not very sustainable.
Balance isn’t an either-or scenario. Balance is an organization of everything life demands while making everything that life demands interconnected. I think balance is more like sitting on a bicycle seat. If you’re sitting on a bicycle seat and want to create comfort, you have to create motion. You start pedaling. As you gain speed and momentum, you can afford to back off on the pedals and coast and still maintain balance.
Yes, there will be valleys to climb out of and you may have to pump the brakes down some mountains but as long as you keep in motion, balance is maintained. Trust me, I was that guy trying to balance my bike at the intersection waiting for the red light to turn green. It’s great until you can’t get your clip out of your pedal. Instantly, you become the guy laying on your side, feet stuck in the pedals, wearing spandex, in a small town that hate cyclists.
[bctt tweet=”Balance is an organization of everything life demands while making everything that life demands interconnected.” username=”DrKurtDC”]
To me there’s one thing that bridges that gap of making life demands interconnected. That one thing is your health expression. I don’t care if you’re a stay-at-home mom or CEO of Apple, once you lose your health, your life balance is immediately tipping. Even health is a balancing act. Health is created when we are capable of reacting to our circumstances and then being able to recover from it efficiently.
It’s a balance of toxicity and purity, deficiency and sufficiency. And that balance is a trinity of mental, physical, and emotional influences. So maybe creating balance is more like riding a bicycle…while juggling. If you’re struggling in this area of life balance, here are some principles to implement to start building momentum in that bike ride.
Principles for Creating Balance
Many have heard of Pareto’s Principle. It’s the 80/20 rule. 20% of what you do creates 80% of the outcomes, whereas 80% of what you do creates 20% of the outcome. It’s a fantastic principle but I like a simpler one. I like the rule of 10%.
The two biggest excuses of why people don’t work on their health is time and money. What people are really saying is that it’s a time and money VALUE issue. There’s always exceptions to the rule so don’t give me the minority of examples of that guy you know that works 20 hours every day. I realize this happens but that’s a whole different set of problems.
The reality is that the person reading this article already most probably has his/her basic needs met and is looking to make a bigger impact. They have shelter, food, and transportation. The person reading this is the one wanting to be more effective with what they have. They want to be a better leader, better spouse, and better parent. With that said, the first place to start is by holding back.
Since everyone is time capped every day, this is where I want you to use the 10% principle first. Take 10% of your awake time each day and dedicate it to things that will build health. 10% is the bare minimum. For example, my M-F schedule is pretty constant in that I go to bed at 9 pm and wake up at 4 am. Those are 7 hours dedicated to sleep which creates the foundation of how much awake time you have to use as your baseline 10%.
Remember that creating balance is like riding a bike while juggling. The 10% is the momentum of the bicycle but you have to allocate the actual time between physical, chemical, and emotional means. If you put all your time into meal prep but can’t do a pushup, you will drop the balls. If you put all your time into journaling but have nothing in the house to eat except bagels and orange juice, you will drop a ball. When you drop a ball, this means you have to stop the bike, pick them up, and start again. Hopefully you were able to get your feet out of the clips.
Where you can get the most bang for your buck is by incorporating this 10% with other daily duties. You want family time? Great, take your kids to the park and climb the jungle gym or traverse the monkey bars. DOn’t just sit on the bench staring at your phone. You want to go to church together? Awesome, but avoid the donut table and provide a low glycemic snack to your kids if they go to the nursery. You get locked into the computer for 8 hours at work? No problem, do it standing and wear some blue light blocking glasses.
10% of Time
Based on my sleep schedule, that leaves me with 1.4 hours or roughly 84 minutes out of the 840 minutes of awake time to build my health in ways that will make everything else in my day more effective. For 10 minutes, I do a brief reading and journaling of gratitude. I then head to the gym. From 5-6 am, I’m locked away at the gym with a mixture of warm up, mobility, and high intensity exercise racing. There’s 60 minutes of fitness but has also built social community into my life as well. Just like that, 70 minutes are used of dedicated, uninterrupted action that keeps the bike rolling.
The remaining 14 minutes of minimal time is often used listening to a podcast or audio book regarding ways to improve me, myself, and I. But it’s not uninterrupted time, it’s often combined with activities that are low concentration points like showering, ironing, and driving back and forth to the gym or the office. So in reality, 10% gets eaten up very quickly.
What about the time it takes to eat? Thankfully I have an amazing wife that has the desires to stay home with 3 crazy boys all day. And in my eternal gratitude to her, she does the cooking. But she doesn’t wait last minute to figure out what we are eating. At the beginning of each month, she sits down and plans meals for at least 2 weeks at a time, often times the whole month. It takes her 20-30 minutes of meal prep for the entire month. We repeat many of the same meals each month depending on what the boys are being picky about in this season of life.
The time it takes to eat healthy food is exactly the same time it takes to eat crappy food. Even the cooking of it isn’t that much different, especially when you take away baking things. This is where using 10% of finances helps in that transition of not adding time but adding major quality into your diet.
10% of Finances
The ‘I can’t afford it’ excuse is often a reaction from a false assumption that what you are going to spend to improve on yourself, is in addition to what you are already spending to poison yourself. Much of the things you are going to purchase to improve yourself are just substitute variations of the things you already purchase.
This is where the 10% comes in to not get you overwhelmed. The median household income in the United States in 2016 was $59,039. That means, the median household should plan on spending $5900/year as a baseline to improving their health. This does not include your insurance premiums. Insurance has never made anyone healthy. That’s roughly $492 per month improving your health. But again, this isn’t an additional $492/month on top of what you’re already spending, it’s just a reallocation of it.
You’re already buying groceries, this will just get you higher quality foods. Most people are purchasing supplements from poor quality retailers. Some of this could be invested into buying higher quality ones. Part of this could be your gym membership. Maybe it’s body work like massage or chiropractor on a regular basis. You can get regular chiropractic care at our office for as little as $75/month.
There are many areas that aren’t helping you build health, that could free up additional money. The average cable TV bill is $103/month. There’s your gym membership. The average car payment is $479/month. Cut that in half, add it to your grocery budget and eat like a king. The average number of cars per household is more than 2 so many households are paying over $600/month in car payments. You can also add in phone leases, second homes, and who knows what else that creates a perception to someone that says, “I can’t afford it.”
10% is overwhelming? Fine, start with 1% for the month. That’s about $50 of reallocation. The first place I would have you start is your beverages. Instead of purchasing soda, milk, juices, alcohol, and coffees, buy filtered water. You can fill jugs of reverse osmosis water for $0.25/gallon. For our family of 5, we tend to go through about 10 gallons per week, costing us $2.50/week or about $10/month. Kids can survive without juice, they won’t spontaneously combust. They can get over it, but you have to have your coffee. Fine, buy organic coffee. Get rid of the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and GMO junk in your morning joe. We have the First Colony Coffee and Tea brand Organic Rainforest Blend on hand at home. You can get a 2.5 lb bag of it at Costco for roughly $15. For us, that lasts about a month.
You’ve used $25 of the $50. Use that remaining $25 and buy personal care products and household cleaners that aren’t toxic. Look for ones that contain no parabens, phthalates, gluten, aluminum, dyes, synthetic fragrances. Start with deodorant, toothpaste (no fluoride), and body lotions.
If you want to use excuses why you don’t have time or money to build health and you want me to have empathy, then you better be prepared to show bank statements and expense reports to prove your case. Just be honest with yourself and say, “I don’t value being healthy.” It’s going to sounds really stupid coming out of your mouth and hopefully a massive wake up call.
Road Blocking Repeated Excuses
When I hear repeated excuses from someone, those excuses often come from 5 C’s.
Making change is uncomfortable. It can be physically uncomfortable like muscle soreness but more importantly it’s mental uncomfort. It’s the uncomfort of the unknown. You will most likely have to do things that you haven’t done previously. You have to change your comfortable routine. You will have to change the comfort of the middle aisles of the grocery store. You will have to change the comfort of the scents of your toxic lotions. If there’s something I’ve learned and was taught over the years in my health journey is that I have to be comfortable with uncertainty.
Making health changes can be like you becoming an immigrant to Afghanistan. Expectations are different. Food is different. Relationships are different. And you may take heat from your loved ones for doing something drastically different. Creating health is creating a culture. Culture change is a process. It doesn’t matter if it’s a nation, a business, your household, or your morning routine. We hold onto customs and rituals that we are used to even if they don’t serve us long term. The sure fire, long road to culture change is through consistency.
Consistency over time creates a new culture. The more you say yes to things that build health and no to things that take it away, the more successful you become. Consistency is about delaying gratification. Consistency is about being mature. Consistency is about looking at the big picture and vision of your life. Consistency is about being congruent.
A phrase that sticks with me is ‘contradictions leads to destruction.’ How do you overcome contradictions? You do it with congruency. Congruency is the match between what you value and your outwork expression and actions. Earlier, I asked you to say, “I don’t value health.” It sounded ridiculous. That’s because it’s a lie. We all value health. The problem is that we aren’t congruent in our actions, and therefore experience the destruction (poor health) of those incongruencies. The biggest way we self sabotage that congruency is through comparison.
Comparison is the thief of joy. We often compare our weakest aspect of life with someone else’s strongest. As a result, you will never feel worthy of that thing you are trying to achieve. If you are going to wish for someone else’s most successful feats, you also have to wish for that person’s most dreadful of failures.
You can’t wish for only the good. You have to wish for it all. There’s that couple that are great parents. The problem is that it took the death of a child to wake them up. There’s the motivational guy that has the 10,000 sq ft house, car collection, and multiple vacation homes you desire. But he’s been divorced 3 times and his kids want nothing to do with him. Your friend may be in amazing health now but you didn’t realize the it took the reality of colon cancer to make her take action.
We all have a story of how we ended up where we are at this very moment. You may like your story. If that’s the case, share it with others. You may hate your story and want to change it but don’t know where to start. If that’s the case, start with you. Improve you. Improve you by improving your health. If you need help, you know how to find me.