School buses, tardy bells, backpacks, lunch boxes and No. 2 pencils all remind us of school and schedules. This time of year comes with some excitement and perhaps some dread, as the promise of challenging our children (or ourselves) to learn new things also bring the potential for improvement and growth. This is a natural time to reflect on your health, habits, and relationships and implement changes that will help to maximize your life. This self-evaluation can bring a renewed sense of purpose, motivation for discipline, and enhance productivity. Editing your life is one way to improve yourself, enhance relationships and increase happiness.
Along with math problems, group projects, extra-curricular activities, work and trying to have some kind of social life, comes memorization, reading, annotating, writing and editing papers. In an attempt to help prepare for the future, I recently read a great book, entitled Conquering the College Admission Essay in 10 Steps by Alan Gelb. The author gave tips and insights to help in the writing process that can also be applied to life. Here are some highlights from the book which will help make essay writing easier and your life better.
1. Healthy balance
When writing a college essay, it is important to find a balance between formal and informal writing.
For example, this sentence sounds very bulky and formal.
To protect the environment, it would be better for there to be more government regulation.
Compare it to the clarity and simplicity of this.
More government regulation would help protect the environment.
You may hear a sentence like I was chillin’ with my friends when the car pulled up but typically wouldn’t see it in an essay.
As women, we tend to take care of everyone else first before attending to our own wants and needs. I PROMISE you will be a much healthier person and more effective woman and if you find a balance between taking care of your own physical and emotional health while still using your natural talents of compassion and nurturing to care for your family, friends, and people in your community and workplace.
One important way of doing this is finding the balance between formal physical activity (like heading to the gym, attending a Zumba class or going for a run) versus informal, yet necessary chores of running a busy household (i.e. putting away laundry, picking up the toys (again), loading and unloading the dishwasher, walking the kids to school and chauffeuring them to lessons and practice, etc.). Many mothers don’t feel like they even sit down in the day because there are so many responsibilities in running a home. The downside of this is that you may not be getting the cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise; both physically and mentally. Be flexible in adapting formal physical activity on a daily basis yet firm in your consistency over time.
Get routine screening tests and examinations as recommended to help uncover potential problems early on and to keep you accountable and motivated in taking care of yourself. There are several professional bodies with slight variations in recommendations of when and how often certain tests and screenings should be done. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has good information at https://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/ACOG-Departments/Annual-Womens-Health-Care/Well-Woman-Recommendations
There is tremendous power in routine, meaning if you are a busy mom with young kids, you may do better with a formal/strict routine for physical activity, mealtime, homework time, playtime, bedtime, etc. However, if you are a woman who has a demanding job, or is possibly going back to school yourself, this may be a time where you need to follow the “zig-zag” principle as told by my good friend, entrepreneur, and author Rich Christiansen. His book called The Zig-Zag Principle is geared toward a different way of thinking about your business and life in general. This principle gives permission and even promotes focusing on one aspect of life that needs your attention for a while (like completing a very important project at work or training for a marathon) and devoting all your time, energy and resources into making that successful. At the completion of that venture, you should then turn all of your energy and efforts into another vital aspect of your life and focus on that. In that way, you can be successful in achieving goals and living a meaningful life.
The way you go about achieving this balance may vary, depending on your personality or your specific circumstance, but either way can help you achieve balance, success, and happiness. Re-evaluate and adjust as your life situation changes. Highly successful people measure themselves in a few key elements, which include:
- Growth and development (personal, financial, and business aspects)
- Social relationships (family, friends and community or society)
So set a goal related to your health that is measurable, achievable and has a time frame. For example, I will exercise by walking/jogging outside for 3 days this week for a minimum of 20 minutes each time. At the end of the week, evaluate how you did. Was it too easy or hard? What were your obstacles and how will you get around them in the next week? How did you feel …physically or mentally about yourself? Most importantly, what is your next goal going to be? Is it still going to focus on physical activity or do you need to improve your sleep habits or practice a stress-coping technique?
Look for more ways to “edit your life” in part II …coming soon!