Friday, May 25, 2012

Off Balance - What are Core Habits?

What can you do, if done well and consistently, to contribute significantly to a more satisfied personal and professional life?

Answering that question is my assignment this week as I continue through a book I found at the library,  Off Balance - Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction by Matthew Kelly.  This a good time to go through this exercise because Darling Bride and I are wrestling with the issue of a simple life.  Our problem at present is trying to define simplicity.  If we knew what success looked like, then we could work toward our goal.  More on that in a few paragraphs.

Back to the book.  It lists 5 steps toward a more satisfying personal and professional life.  Step 1 was Assessment, knowing where I was experiencing dissatisfaction.  Step 2 was Priorities, determining what is most important to me.   Today I am writing about Step 3, Core Habits.  This step is committing to behaviors that "keep me happy, focused, and energized (page 124)."  Based on my priorities, the list:
  1. Church on Sunday.  Our pastor has said, "a bad church teaches what to think, a good church teaches how to think."  Our good church keeps my family and me grounded in God, His Bible, and His people.  Other spiritual disciplines, like Bible reading and prayer, are encouraged here.
  2. Breakfast with Darling Bride.  As blogged about here, a few minutes each morning together does wonders for us.  We're growing closer together because we have quiet time to talk.
  3. Dinner with family.  Same for all 5 of us.  Intentionally sitting down together to enjoy each other's company.  Inhibits feeling as if anyone's a stranger in their own home.
  4. Proactive communication.  A weakness I'm working on, striving to do better at taking initiative and making sure information gets to whoever needs it, especially with co-workers and clients.
  5. Healthy, whole foods, especially water over soda pop.  Amazing what "real" food over "processed" food can do for weight loss and energy.
  6. Reading and Writing - I am growing so much intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
The idea is that most of life's satisfactions will fall into place by practicing your core habits.  Step 4 in Kelly's system is Weekly Strategy Session, so that is next week.

There are other important habits, such as one on one time with kids, showing up to work on time, etc.  If a habit did not make the top of the list, that does not make them unimportant.  Instead, the core habits empower other important habits.

Back to simplicity.  In many circles, a lot is said about a "simple life" or "simplicity."  What is it?  Maybe it is it different things for different people.  For example, reducing the amount of your "stuff" is simplifying for someone.  Living in a small town, or on a farm, instead of a city for someone else.  One's simplicity may include chickens.  To me, chickens would add complexity, not simplicity.  Another may want to sleep in on Sundays.  We don't.  So, I'm wondering if simplicity includes "living life consistently with priorities and habits."  Something to think about.

Lack of disclosure:  I am working through this book on my own.  I found it at the library and found it intriguing enough to pursue and write about.  I am not affiliated with or being compensated by the author or publisher in any way.  If nothing else, now I have to go out and buy my own copy!

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