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The Spark -- Chapter 2: Focus & Balance

Monday, October 01, 2012

After reading Chapter 2 of the Spark, I've been thinking about the idea of focus and goals and the driving force behind them. While I did list out a set of weight-loss related goals that are small and incremental on my SparkPage. But I haven't yet spent much time writing down the "why'.

So here are my thoughts thus far.

This is the only body and life that I get to use for my lifetime. It seems that the last several years I have spent a lot of my days just existing -- or "being stuck" as one of my friends so eloquently put it. Being "stuck" in all areas really -- job, life, socially, health and fitness. I've been wandering aimlessly. In the back of my head, I've had this slow and nagging feeling that hey -- if I keep this up, 10 or 20 years are going to go by and I'll be doing the exact same thing I'm doing now. Is that something I really want? Hmm... no.. not really. But what do I want?

A little background on me. I am a physician, and I was in my mid-30's when I finished 16 years of school/ training and got my first "real" job. It's a tough path to follow, and so for all of my life up until that point, I pretty much prioritized school and training over just about everything else. Relationships suffered, social life suffered, my health suffered. Once I got out of training and 'into the real world' with a real job and career, suddenly I was faced with the idea of 'what do I do now'? I'm still working on answering that question, but I have learned that finding balance is a big part of the answer. I am 39 now, and am fortunate to like what I do for a living -- but there are others parts of my life which are important and in need of attention and focus as well. Over the years, I have become a lot more socially withdrawn than I had been in the past -- not because I'm shy, depressed or introverted, but I think spending so much time and energy on only one area of my life left a void of energy that wasn't available to be spent on other areas of my life. Things always took a backseat to the career/job.

So for me, "Focus" means finding some balance for my life. Balance between work and play, and social activities. So I came across an app (there really is an app for everything) called the Wheel of Life (www.wolopp.com) that I found on the internet. Now before you go out and buy this -- I didn't buy the program, I didn't even look at the program -- but what did catch my attention was the screen shot which shows a big Wheel of Life Pie chart which highlights the important activities in a person's life. The chart is divided equally into 8 "pie" slices labeled each as: Physical environment, Fun & recreation, Personal & spirituality growth, Relationships, Business/career, Finances, Health, and Friends & family. Granted I didn't buy the program, but this is how I am interpreting each of the slices and how they pertain to me.

1. Physical environment -- I'm am fortunate to have a roof over my head and my physical basic needs taken care of. For this I am grateful and feel that there is little that needs to be done with this pie slice -- except maybe splurge on those super cute new shoes I saw at the store. *grin*

2. Fun & Recreation -- I am also fortunate to have a lot of recreational hobbies, such as ballroom dancing, tennis, photography, hiking, kayaking and traveling. These are fun things that I enjoy. So okay, check. This pie slice is okay too.

3. Personal and Spirituality Growth -- From a personal growth point of view -- last year I decided that I wanted to explore my interest in fiction writing, so I took a couple of online classes. I did the same for learning to speak Spanish (although I haven't successfully stuck with the language program). As for spirituality -- I feel that this part of my life is in balance as well.

4. Relationships -- oof. This one is definitely out of whack and needs some focus. I've had several unsuccessful relationships for one reason or another -- and one underlying reason I think this part of my life is not in balance, is because I have never truly spent the time to make it as important in my life as other areas. As life changes, your priorities change as well -- and this is something that I would like to spend more time focusing on and improving in my life.

5. Business/career -- This is definitely over-represented in my pie chart. I love what I do, but I need to learn to leave work at work when I go home. It is a job, but it does not need to take over my life. Okay, check. This pie slice needs some readjusting.

6. Finances -- knock on wood. I'm quite frugal and save money like crazy thanks to my upbringing. I know what it is like to not have money and be living paycheck to paycheck. This mentality to stay on top of my finances was engrained into my head at a very young age. Check, This pie slice is okay.

7. Health -- woohoo! I joined SparkPeople and am working on this now. I've generally always been pretty active and healthy, but over the last 10-15 years have added on the pounds and lost the pounds in yoyo fashion. I've come to prioritize my health. Afterall, this is my body and I want to take care of it and keep it in tip-top shape, so that it lasts as long as I need it to. I'm good about getting the oil changed in my car every 3-4k miles and staying on top of the routine maintenance, so why pay all that attention to a machine and ignore my own body's needs? So this is a priority, more so than it has been in the past -- all about finding balance in life.

8. Friends and Family -- I am very close with my parents, but have fewer close friends than I once had. I think it goes back to the spending too much time thinking about career and not as much time working on social friends and relationships. This is something that I am also looking to work on going forward as well.

Okay, super long blog post here -- and maybe a bit off-topic from what Chapter 2 is talking about -- but it was a useful exercise for me to think about.

Thanks for reading!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLAMENM 10/3/2012 12:18AM

    Each choice build on the past to create a future.

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EDELWEISS33 10/1/2012 8:17PM

    life long choices can make you successful!

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