How I screwed up my work-life balance (part 2)

Dammit.

I grimaced at the mirror.

I was packing for my first ever trip to Brazil and had just realised that spending Christmas in Brazil instead of Finland also meant that instead of eating chocolate in a comfy thick jumper I had to wear a bikini.

Well, let’s simply say it didn’t look good.

I stepped on a scale. Yep. I had put on 6kg in a year.

While I was going through in my head possible (and slightly crazy) tactics to lose the maximum amount of weight in a week, I couldn’t help, but wonder:

How on earth did I let this happen again?

Top 3 reasons why I kept improving and then screwing up my work-life balance for years:

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t disappointed with myself, because I was feeling insecure about my body. I assume my curves and in fact feel more confident and get more positive attention from people than when I was very skinny years ago. I was disappointed, because when I looked in the mirror I saw I wasn’t the best version of myself anymore. Again.

My body was screaming of negligence.

Work-life balance is something I’ve always struggled with as I have a tendency to focus fully on my career, constant learning and personal projects that challenge me such as stand up comedy and public speaking. I have a mind of steel, but…

First thing that usually crashes is my body.

While I was strolling in my new bikini in Brazil, I had time to properly think of all the reasons that have kept me in this vicious circle. And yes – as part of my failure challenge I’ll be sharing with you the top 3.

Hooray 🙂

1. I was changing, because I wanted other people to appreciate me.

Whether the reason was a guy I dated who said he was ashamed to go out with me because of my weight or me thinking people would find my photos ugly on social media, I never started eating healthy and training because I wanted to take care of myself.

I did it, because I thought other people would appreciate me more.

Now that’s not a sustainable way to change. Obviously, those insecure days are gone and deep in the past (and I’d never date a jerk like that again yuck), yet last year my health was still not in my list of priorities. I was lacking the why.

Good news is that I’ve found it, nicely tied to my career goals 😉

I asked myself how I could possibly help other people to achieve their goals if I myself was tired, lacked energy and was out of shape. How could I speak about success if I wasn’t the best version of myself? If I was healthy, I could serve more people, have more focus and achieve what I set up to achieve.

My advice to you is to do a similar exercise: ask yourself how your own life would benefit from having a good work-life balance.

How would you feel? Energized, more positive, motivated? What would it allow you to do that you currently can’t do? Spend more time with your children, find love, travel more, take on that hobby again you used to love?

When your reason is tied to your own goals, not what other people think of you, you’ll succeed 🙂

2. Once I got the results, I didn’t set up a new goal

Every time I got a wake-up call, sorted out my work-life balance and got back in shape, I swore I’d never let it happen again. I had learned my lesson.

Sure. Of course I had.

What tends to happen to us, whether it’s our health, career or company, when we are fighting to reach our goal we are focused, determined and full of good habits to get us there. We’re smashing it!

Yet, once we have attained it, we celebrate, relax and … get comfortable.

We deserve it after all that hassle, no?

It is soooo easy to slip back to our old habits. It’s all those little things that add up:

  • I’m working “just” this Saturday, because of a special case. My family will understand, I’ve spent a lot of time with them lately.
  • I’ll set up the notifications again, because I’m waiting for a “very important” email.
  • I’ll skip the gym this week, because it’s rainy outside and I don’t want a cold. That’s only reasonable.
  • Bla, bla, bla.

What I didn’t realise was that I had to keep changing when I was still doing well, because otherwise I would go straight back to where I came from.

If you have reached your goal and feel comfortable of your situation, set up a new goal that excites you. Let’s say:

  • you are happy with your current weight that you reached. Good, then weight shouldn’t be the target. How about learning how to salsa dance so you can expand your network of friends while staying in shape?
  • you’re finally spending two hours of quality time per day with your child. Great, then think how you could take it to the next level. Could you take on a hobby together so you can share and connect with him/her even after those hours spent?

3. I had no one keeping me accountable

I’m a strong, independent woman and I don’t need anyone. I’m more than capable of keeping myself on track – I manage people and complex projects, you see?

Ha.

I touched this point previously in my post about women in tech and how one of my limiting beliefs was not to belong to any female associations, because I didn’t want to seem weak. I didn’t want to get a job, because I was a woman. I wanted to get it, because I was the best.

I realised that I had a similar limiting belief what comes to work-life balance and health. I didn’t have a coach, I didn’t belong to any groups nor did I have a partner keeping me accountable, because I didn’t want to seem weak. I could do this myself.

And yes indeed – reaching the goal wasn’t the problem. Maintaining the good habits was.

This is why you need like-minded people who have similar growth mindset, issues and objectives. They encourage you, keep you accountable and help you when you’re down. If you team up with a person for example to go to gym every Thursday, you are much more likely to show up as you don’t want to let the person down.

Get a coach or join a group that will keep you accountable of keeping your good habits and motivate you on your way to your new goal.

Only one who can change your life is you

As you can see I’m not perfect. No one of us is.

There is something liberating in sharing my failure stories with you. It has made me look at things from a different perspective and I pay much more attention to my own behaviour.

Work-life balance is one of my weak points and even if I’ve been improving step by step it’s still something I need to work on. By sharing my mistakes and lessons learned with you, I hope it’ll give you similar aha moments that help you as well to live a more sustainable healthy life.

So, what was my biggest insight in Brazil?

They say you can’t change a person if they don’t want to change. Very true.

Before Brazil, I didn’t.

I hope you’ll also find your deeper reason why,

Best of luck x

Pauliina

Ps. If you found this helpful in anyway, please do like this or share your thoughts in comments  Would really appreciate it!

[This is part of my challenge to share one personal failure per week to help you see you’re not alone: we all fail. I hope this will help you to get unstuck and succeed in life ]

Related: How I screwed up my work-life balance (part 1)

Related: Women in tech: let’s change the course of the future NOW

Related: What NOT to do if you are planning a career change

Related: How to get your motivation back

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