A Balanced Life: Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

The New Year brings with it resolutions — to exercise more, eat more healthfully, and often to better balance our lives. We yearn for enough time to have a fulfilling career, plus an active social life, plus a happy family life, plus time for hobbies, and so on. But what if balancing all of those things wasn’t ideal? When we strive for balance, we tend to try to do it all — often resulting in the feeling that we don’t have enough time to do any of it well or fully. What if, instead, we strived for unbalance? What if we lived life according to our core values and passions at that time, allowing ourselves to pursue a particular interest full-on? To do that, you need what psychologists call “internal self-awareness”, which is the ability to focus our attention on ourselves, and compare our actions to our internal standards and values. Internal self-awareness will allow you to evaluate situations and know when to change course. Research backs up the benefits of developing internal self-awareness, which is associated with more positive emotions, improved well-being, better decision-making and stronger personal relationships. Begin by looking at yourself objectively and writing out your perceptions of yourself. What are you good at? Where do you need to improve? What are you most proud of? What makes you happiest? Even if you don’t decide to live life with less balance, you’ll enjoy the benefits of greater self-awareness.

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