Getting “in balance” always seems like a good idea, whether you’re talking about your diet or your yoga class. But, of course, it’s never as simple as it seems. Not only is the word “balance” pretty vague, especially when it’s applied to the broader scope of your life (not just nailing tree pose for the full two minutes), but the nature of balance is that it’s always in flux. What kept you in balance yesterday might be totally different than what you need to stay balanced today. It’s like the universe is always tipping the scale the other direction, leaving most of us feeling like there’s always something more to do.

The universe just added more to the work side of things? Then it’s time for us to even out the life side — again.

Sound familiar?

The problem is that most of the time “balancing” the scale means adding more. Partly because of our go-getter culture and partly because it’s a lot easier to say “yes” than “no”, we tend to actually overwhelm ourselves more in our search for a healthy work-life balance. When we say yes to an after-work meeting with the boss, we feel obligated to say yes to another extracurricular activity with kids. A new client at work? Probably a good idea to add another exercise class to the weekly schedule. That to-do list of tasks at work growing longer? Definitely time to check on the personal to-do list and see if there’s anything else to add…

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the whole concept of finding a healthy work-life balance is actually fairly unhealthy itself. It is a moving target, and a very small one at that.

So, this year, rather than focusing on actually finding balance, why not try a whole different target? Like finding fulfillment, satisfaction, or happiness?

Here are three smart tips to get you started in 2020…

  1. Take Weight Off The Scale. Instead of always adding more to your plate, whether at work or at home, try taking things off in order to get closer to a healthy balance. When you start to feel like one part of your life is taking over, take a close look at what you can say no to. Yes, saying no is hard, but it’s so necessary in both aspects of your life. You’ll feel such a huge relief as you start to unload, rather than frantically searching for more things to add.
  • Redefine Balance. Rather than thinking of balance as “equal” on a scale, start thinking of balance in terms of your overall satisfaction and fulfillment. Don’t get caught up in always trying to make things equal and fair. Instead, focus on what makes you feel the best.
  • Regularly Examine Your Work-Life Life. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle, leaving you with that feeling of “how-did-I-end-up-here”? Slow down and take time every day (or at least every week) to check in with yourself. What’s new this week at home and at work? What are you excited about? What’s something that is requiring your time and attention today or tomorrow? Don’t get stuck in a rut and just keep going. Instead, be mindful of your choices and always know that you have the power to make changes whenever you need.