Why Balance is Overrated

“I just try to find the balance.”

“Everything in moderation.”

“Balance is the key.”

We’ve all heard some version of this. The requirement of balance in our lives to enjoy happiness. The idea that if we don’t balance everything, we couldn’t possibly be happy.

I get it. I have been a huge proponent of balance for years, until fairly recently.

But here’s the thing. “Balance” has become an excuse. An excuse to do less than you’re capable of. An excuse to not reach your goals. An excuse to take the easy road when things get tough. It’s a crutch, and I know all too well how the use of the word plays out- both in the lives of the people I coach, and in my own life.

I would tell myself it was ok to miss a workout to finish up a project I needed to complete (but often still wouldn’t complete the project). It was ok to grab something from the drive thru on the way home because we eat well “most of the time” (but in reality, we were eating out 3-5 nights each week). I would tell myself that I was too sore and that my body would benefit from the extra rest day, because #balance. Same story if I was tired. Or cold. If I was supposed to use the groceries in the fridge to make dinner, I would tell myself it was ok to save time and pick something up on the way home- we’re a busy family and sometimes you just have to do that! But it’s funny, because the groceries that were going bad in the fridge (because I hadn’t used them because I kept using that same excuse) were probably purchased when I was skipping a workout because I needed to make time to get healthy food and it was ok to skip the workout because… balance. Don’t even get me started on my nightly “glass” of wine…

In reality, I was just making excuses. A lot of them! I was even robbing excuses from Peter to give Paul (the case of eating out after buying groceries after skipping workout to buy groceries…). And I would use “balance” to justify it all. And what did all that balance get me? Unhappy with myself, upset that my health and fitness had slipped so much, and frustrated because deep down I knew it was just a bunch of excuses.

It was time for a major change. I found out about a challenge that consists of a lot of tasks to be completed every day- including things like reading, following our nutrition plan, NO alcohol, NO cheat meals, exercising twice a day for 45 minutes (and one of those must be outside, super fun earlier this week with the ice storm and all…), and a few other things. If you mess up on one component, you start all over at day 1. I managed to talk my husband into doing it with me, and we are currently 35 days in with 40 to go.

Needless to say, it requires a lot of time and planning. It also doesn’t make room for excuses. You either do it or you don’t. There’s no half-way in, while still hanging on to comfort. And that has been amazing for us! The choices are gone. I know I will cook dinner when I get home. I know I have to go to the grocery store (and make sure to buy the food I need to make healthy meals). I know I have to find two separate times in the day (every day) to work out. And on and on. The crazy thing is that I don’t feel any more busy now than before we started this. I spend much less time scrolling mindlessly on social media, and we aren’t going through Netflix shows nearly as fast as we were (most nights we only have time for 1/2 a show). But, I feel so much better. I’m actually making progress again toward my goals, all of them! Not just fitness, but also other parts of my life where I just felt like I was slacking.

I write all this to say- if you have goals, dreams, if you’re unhappy with your current situation, balance may not be the answer. Instead, you need FOCUS, and some discipline. You need to decide you’re putting all your eggs into the basket that’s going to get you where you want to be. If you want to lose weight, you need to be the type of person that doesn’t miss a workout and is fanatic about eating a healthy diet full of veggies and meat, and get a nutrition coach (a real person that works with you, don’t just buy a macro program) if you want to excelerate your progress. If you want to get better at a certain skill- you need to zero in on it and work on every different drill you can find, and get with a personal trainer to make sure you are doing it correctly. But you have to do it consistently (don’t jump from one thing to the next, that’s what people who never make progress do). You have to be ok with people telling you “that sounds a little extreme…” (that’s what people who never make progress say). If you don’t know how you’re going to pay for it- look around at everything else you’re spending money on. I bet you can find several areas you can cut because spending money on those only takes you further from your goal (alcohol, eating out, and coffee houses are the first places to cut). You have to take away the option of even giving yourself an excuse, because when times get tough and you’ve left yourself the option- game over.

If you want to make a change, balance isn’t going to work. You need focus. You need to know what you want, why, and what are the most likely excuses you will make to keep you from reaching it. Save balance for when you’re happy with where you’re at. If you need help, we are here!

*It should be mentioned, if you tend to be on the obsessive-compulsive side of things, this advise is not meant for you. You probably actually do need balance.

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