inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday

finding everyday balance in august


As a child, when I turned the large coloured calendar page to August, I would sigh. The second half of the year had already begun, the half birthday of the year had past and the school holidays were nearly over. I would get out my coloured pens and draw pictures of what I wanted to do and what I had already done and give them to my parents, or friends or to our neighbour Kay. When we are children, years stretch out endlessly like long colourful sheets dancing on the clothesline. Years were like that, long and languid, endless and filled with colour and possibility. As adults, years sometimes seem like handkerchiefs, small, white and contained. The months page quickly by and we wonder where the days have gone. As adults we let out a different kind of sigh, sadly often one of overwhelm, wondering how we will fit in all the things we mean to do, to become, to accomplish. At what point did we let the dream and the colour and length of our years disappear?

I encourage you this August, to turn the page with love, to handle each square of this calendar month with the joy of a child. Go out and buy a new large wall calendar. You’ll find the cheery ones still on sale, often at half price, glossy pages longing to be written upon. Choose one for the child inside, with pictures of kittens or sailboats or of a town you would love to travel to. Dare to connect with the fun and less routine part of yourself and trust in your own creativity. Spend a day this week and using coloured pens, write in the activities that you want to fill your August with. Perhaps going to a movie with a friend, calling your grandmother and asking her about her childhood, visiting a new part of the city, getting a pedicure, collecting beachglass at the edge of the sea or reading Harry Potter. Choose activities that make you smile, that for whatever reason call out delight for you.

When you are finished decorating your days, think about setting some goals for this last half of 2007. Use a journal or a few pieces of paper and set aside twenty minutes to write. In your writing, identify the goals that you’ve already accomplished this year (no matter how small!) and then explore two goals that you would still like to accomplish. Often when setting goals for ourselves, we tend to choose large and lofty goals, so grand that in the context of our daily lives, they can very quickly become overwhelming. This time start out small. Instead of renovating the bedroom, set the goal to clean out your closet. Instead of writing your novel, set a goal to sign up for a creative writing course in your local area. Write out those two goals and leave them for a few days. Come back to them later in the week and notice if they still feel right. If not, change them, they are your goals! Make them as specific as possible and allow them to be something that you ‘could’ do rather than something that you ‘should’ do.

On your new calendar, set one small step towards your larger goal on the first day of each month, giving yourself a tangible time frame to work within. This month, it might be buying a hanging shoe rack and next month taking out the clothes you no longer wear and giving them to charity. With so much else going on in our lives, taking our goals in small bites like this, allows us to experience success in reaching those goals. As a result we build self confidence towards reaching our goals and greater authenticity within our lives.

Taking the time to journal before setting these goals is an essential step not to be discarded. Often we carry around a blueprint for who “we think” we are and when we get our thoughts on the page, we realise something within us may have changed. By connecting with who we are today, rather than who we were last week or who we think we should be next week, we allow our goals to be meaningful to us in the present moment. The good news is that when our goals are authentic, research shows us that we have a much higher chance of reaching them.

This August, I invite you to join me in choosing cheap and cheerful calendars and a new journal if you don’t have one. Set aside an afternoon this week just for you. Clear your dining room table or desk and arm yourself with a pack of coloured pens, your new calendar and your journal. Make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy this time for you. Dream from the place where as children years stretched out far and wide, the place from where anything we dream is possible.

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posted under 2007 life balance