British Columbia

Creating Balance: 5 tips from a life coach

North by Northwest columnist says thinking you can have it all is setting yourself up for failure.

North by Northwest columnist says thinking you can have it all is setting yourself up for failure

If you're saying yes to one activity, you're saying no to another. Decide what your priorities are, says life coach Rebecca Haas. (Getty Images/Cultura Exclusive)

When people think they need more balance in their lives, what they're really saying is that they want to have it all — and that's not possible, says Victoria-based life coach Rebecca Hass.

Rebecca Hass is North by Northwest's newest columnist. (Rebecca Hass)

"We see balance as having everything we want in exactly the right amount, and that's the idea of balance that really sets people up to failure," Hass told North by Northwest host Sheryl MacKay.

"Balance isn't really about having it all … you're looking for what's fulfilling, and satisfying and something that will give you the feeling of balance. If I say, 'I've got a balanced life' what I'm really saying is that what is in my life satisfies me."

Here are Hass' tips to create healthy balance.

1. Check your balance using the wheel of life tool


Hass recommends using this tool to measure how you are doing in each category.

"Every time people fill this out … they tend to feel really sad, because there aren't 10s across the board," she said.

"But I actually think that's the gift of the wheel … you get overwhelmed and you think, 'This isn't even possible, there aren't enough hours in the day to live this all as a ten ... I don't even have the energy to do them all that well.'"

2. Set priorities

Hass said the wheel can also help people to determine what areas of your life are more important than others.

"It's like a snapshot of your life, it's a level of your satisfaction right now," she said.

"[It's] a chance to say 'What's my priority?' And then you can actually live those things and feel better balanced."

3. Know your priorities may change.

She said these priorities may change in different times of your life, for example when she was in her 20s her primary focus was on her career.

"Your values, and what matters to you, are shifting all the time, partly by what the demands are in life."

4. Check how you're spending your time

Hass recommends making two columns on a piece of paper, and on one column listing the four most important things to you, in the order of importance. They can be from the wheel, or more specific. Then in the other column list the four things that are filling your day.

Hass says to decide what you intend to change in the New Year, and have a small ritual to mark your plan to carry out that change. (Inmist Media House)

"This is the walk-your-talk piece. This is the classic example where people say, 'What's really important to me is my family' and then you can take a look and see how much time your family is actually getting from you," she said.

"It can actually show people a great disconnect. You might also find that things didn't even make the list. They might be really important to you,and you realize you're not actually living it.

"The more you can make those lists match, the more satisfied you feel, which I'd say is actually balance."

5. Say 'no' (and say 'yes')

"We have limited time and energy … when you say yes to chocolate, you've just said no to vanilla, and that's life. We forget that it's really one thing or the other thing. So if I say yes to Netflix-binging, I probably said no to hiking. It's just really seeing that direct correlation with your time and your energy," she said.

For example, taking a lot of unnecessary calls in the office, a person may not get to the work they need to do.

"You have to ask yourself, what's urgent, versus what's important. Often we'll have things in front of us...the e-mails pouring in, and they seem urgent. But maybe they're not important."

"Balance is really all about starting to line up what's important to you, and then working that yes-no, and the more that I can do that, the better I feel balanced in my life."

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: Life coach Rebecca Hass gives tips on how achieve actual balance in your life


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