Huffpost Healthy Living
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jack Canfield Headshot

5 Steps To Keeping Your (Busy) Life In Harmony

Posted: Updated:

A "harmonized" life these days sounds like a tall order. Between housework, homework, workwork, and busywork, there are perpetually too many things to do, and not enough time to find that mythical balance. Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like you're doing doing doing but getting nothing truly done that you really want. Working with people from all walks of life, from full-time moms to CEOs at large companies, I've distilled many universal truths about success. There's a secret I've learned that works quite well at helping you to achieve what you want: Decide what you want.

It sounds so simple, but here's the problem: I see plenty of people who are overly-busy yet who feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled. They are physically tired, spiritually drained, and far from where they'd like to be--as if they've been running on a treadmill going nowhere fast. Why? Because they haven't clearly mapped out what they want and then taken the steps to get there. Rather than identifying specific goals, milestones, and dreams (and I'm talking BIG dreams and goals here), they go through the motions day in and day out tackling unimportant tasks. They end up...you guessed it...going in circles and wasting lots of energy. In the meanwhile, they grow increasingly uninspired and out of touch with their authentic selves. This, of course, sets anyone up to living a life out of balance.

In order to get what you want, you must first decide what you want. Most people really foul up at this crucial first step because they simply can't see how it's possible to get what they want, so they don't even let themselves want it.

Don't sabotage yourself that way!

We know a lot more today about how the brain works, even when it comes to complex decision-making. If you don't decide what you want and literally put that idea in your brain, how can your brain help you to then navigate the path to reach that goal and problem-solve through its inevitable trials and errors? Don't for a second think you have to figure out every step of the way when you're standing at the starting gate to a certain goal. First lock in your desires and have faith that your mind and the universe will work in synch to guide you toward them. For those who need structure for actually doing this, I've developed 5 simple steps.

Step 1: Decide to Think Big and Dream Big Dreams
Don't let your inner devil's advocate (or that incessant but unimportant To Do list) inhibit you from dreaming big. As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. You'll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, but they also compel others to want to play big, too.

Step 2: Set Goals that Will Stretch You
Another value in giving yourself permission to go after the big dreams is that big dreams require you to grow in order to achieve them. In the long run, that is the greatest benefit you will receive from pursuing your dreams; not so much the outer trappings of fulfilling the dream (an expensive car, impressive house, loads of money and philanthropic opportunities), but who you become in the process.

As I've seen many times over, the outer symbols of success can all be easily lost. Houses burn down, companies go bankrupt, relationships end, cars get old, bodies age and fame wanes, but who you are, what you have learned, and the new skills you have developed never go away. These are the true prizes of success, and you'll be able to share them with others. Motivational philosopher, Jim Rohn advises that "You should set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming."

Step 3: Consider Your Service to Others
As you pinpoint what you want to go after, think about how you can be of service to others. When your dreams include this element, you'll find yourself speeding along the path to accomplishing that goal. People want to be part of something that contributes and makes a difference.

Step 4: Define Your Goals and Objectives Based on Your Dreams
Once you are clear about what you want, you must turn each item into a measurable objective. By measurable, I mean measurable in space and time, how much and by when. Don't just say that you want to lose weight, for instance. Be specific, push yourself to higher limits, and set dates. Say something like, "I want to lose 50 pounds by Thanksgiving and participate in my community's 10K for charity by Christmas."

Step 5: Make a Record
Write your goals down in detail and read your list of goals every day. Some goals may entail a list of shorter goals. Losing a lot of weight, for example, should include mini-goals, such as 10-pound milestones. This will keep your subconscious mind focused on what you want step by step. For an even more powerful approach, close your eyes and focus on each goal, even if it's a little one, and ask yourself, "What is one thing I could do today to move toward the achievement of this goal?" Write down your answers and take those actions.

I recommend writing down a minimum of 3 goals in each of the following 7 areas:
1. Financial Goals
2. Career/Business Goals
3. Free Time/Family Time
4. Health/Appearance Goals
5. Relationship Goals
6. Personal Growth
7. Making a Difference

And if you don't know where to begin, just start writing!
© 2009 Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield is America's #1 Success Coach, co-founder of the billion-dollar Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, and a leading authority on Peak Performance. If you're ready to be more accomplished and have more fun in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessPrinciples.com.

From Our Partners