A Simple Strategy to Make Sure You Stay Balanced AND Achieve Your Goals

Joshua with hazelnuts and oranges;)
Joshua with hazelnuts and oranges;)

I know that you’ve got some amazing things to accomplish this year. As a true Freedom Junkie, your plans for the upcoming year are bound to have some elements of expanding your comfort zone, going on adventures, expanding love and passion in your life, growing in your career (or changing to a new one!), and feeling yummy in your body, mind, and spirit.

I also know that many of us Freedom Junkies have a hard time fitting in everything we want to do – especially in a way that leaves us feeling centered! I recently wrote a post about how I got seduced away from balance while on a three-month adventure in Africa, and how I brought myself back to center again. The key thing is to try and prevent that in the first place. While I have been known to say Balance is Bullshit, I am more speaking to what balance means for YOU, and what happens when you feel you are moving away from what you know works for you.

I want to share with you an analogy that I think works really well for helping to understand how to make it all work when you’ve got a lot to juggle. One of my health and nutrition teachers, Joshua Rosenthal of Integrative Nutrition, does a demonstration he calls Big Rocks:

That’s Joshua up there. He’s standing by some hazelnuts and some oranges and a glass jar. Here’s what they represent:

The hazelnuts are the tasks and duties we have to do in life. The “stuff.” The small stuff that takes up HUGE chunks of time unless you’re careful.

When you toss in an orange here and there and keep adding hazelnuts, there isn't enough room for your oranges - the things important to you
When you toss in an orange here and there and keep adding hazelnuts, there isn’t enough room for your oranges – the things important to you

The oranges are the things in life that are of utmost importance to us – our major goals, our most important values that we want to honor.

The glass jar is the time and energy we have available to do all those yummy things we want to do, like our dreams and goals.

Oftentimes, what we end up doing is picking one “orange” – like the new project we want to launch in our business this year, for example – and focus on that for a bit. Then little by little (or sometimes in a flood!) we pour in a bunch of “hazelnuts,” like mowing the lawn, checking email, perusing Facebook, helping a friend edit an article, watching a movie…get it?

Then we remember another orange, like, “Oh shizzle! I told myself I was going to spend more time with my family and friends this year!” So we do that for awhile. The we add more hazelnuts like starting that other project that is shiny and new instead of finishing the one we wanted to finish, or doing loads and loads of laundry, or carting around that friend of ours who refuses to buy a car because it isn’t “environmental,” or drinking too much and being hung over the next day.

Then we remember yet another orange, but there is VERY LITTLE SPACE LEFT. In fact, before we know it, the hazelnuts of to-dos have taken up most of the space, and we have some lonely – and important – oranges sitting outside of our life. There isn’t enough room

When you put ALL your oranges in first, the hazelnuts will work themselves around the things you've prioritized
When you put ALL your oranges in first, the hazelnuts will work themselves around the things you’ve prioritized

for everything.

And that is exactly how it feels, because there ISN’T enough time when that’s how you do things.

The good news is there is a different way of doing it: put ALL your oranges in FIRST. Pick the top three to six things that you want to get done, and before you do anything else, get those things done or focus on getting them done, no matter what. Get really clear about what “getting them done” or accomplishing them looks and FEELS like.

When you put the oranges in FIRST, and let the other stuff work around your most important values and goals, there is plenty of room for what is important to you. Even the hazelnuts fit (well, most of them!). And it feels much better to not have a few hazelnuts fit than some of your oranges.

So there ya go! This year, practice this technique. You can even do it for each month, each week, each DAY!

“What is most important for me to do today?”

Everything fits. See Joshua's smile!
Everything fits. See Joshua’s smile!

Another tip: ask yourself, “What is the next most IMPORTANT thing to do?”

It’s my hope that as a result of this, you’ll spend more time doing things that are truly valuable to you, that help you grow, that help you feel and taste success, and help you make 2013 your best year yet;)

Note: Ana Verzone is a personal life and health coach, mentor and the original Freedom Junkie™ She helps passionate women awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose, from their cells to their spirit. Her monthly Ziji Up!™ eZine goes out to thousands of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs, schedule a free life assessment, and download her FREE Clarity + Courage ecourse by visiting www.anaverzone.com.

*Images from Institute of Integrative Nutrition