How does balance in our life create opportunities? This driving question is something every high school student should consider this is because we are making decisions about our future. I personally thought about this questions in two ways: why do we need balance and how do we start to achieve balance? The why part really relates to the idea of well-being as well as opening up more time (opportunities). The how part relates to systems we can put in place to strive to get better every day with having balance in the areas of your life.
To answer the driving question we had three main resources:
Positive Brain Training 7 Habits (review) The Atomic Habits
In this blog I would like to focus on how balance improves well being and brings opportunities. I will use examples from each resource that impacted me.
Positive Brain Training
The main point of this training is to bring about a more optimistic mindset. We wanted to see if we did certain practices or two minutes per day if your outlook would be more positive. Research showed that a more optimistic point of view leads a person to be more productive and more successful. Meditation Mondays was one exercise we tried. I found it very peaceful but with so many people in the room, I could never fully relax or clear my brain. One practice that really impacted me helped my well being by bringing me joy and gave me an opportunity to make my friends happy. The conscious act of kindness Tuesday had a love letter activity. I needed to write a letter to people I love telling them that they are important to me and why. Writing this letter helped me realize the good people I have around me. I wrote this letter in the morning. Often I get tired when I think about the LOOOOONG day stretching ahead of me but this activity gave me energy and made my friends feel good too. It should be noted that I wrote three letters but only got two replies … (cough, cough … Lilah you let me down).
Sean Covey wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers, which we read last year, and reviewed again in PGP. I must say I had a BIG brain moment because I actually remembered all seven habits in their proper order which if you know me, is very impressive. One of the habits that I use all the time is “First things first”. Whenever I feel like I have a lot of homework, I write it out on a whiteboard stating what it is, how much time I think it will take, and what I need to get it done. Instead of stressing out I am able to see what is important first. When I put things in the right priority I make opportunities for myself. I know how long I need to make my homework sessions and when I can take a break. This allows me to enjoy my VR or play a game with my family or have my friends over instead of realizing I forgot about an assignment due the next day.
Atomic Habits (ALLLLL 25 chapters … very long chapters until chapter 22)
James Clear promises remarkable results with tiny changes in his book The Atomic Habits. The book is filled with amazing stories that really stood out to me. He gives very helpful suggestions on systems that can help us achieve our goals. He also does a good job at showing us why the systems we are using or trying to use are hard to follow through. For example some people want to go to the gym but their system really works against them.
Hear are some of the notes I took during Law 4:
The Cardinal rule
– Habit adaption
– We are more likely to repeat a behaviour when it is satisfying
– Pleasure teaches your brain that an action is worth repeating
– What is rewarding is repeated what is punished is avoided
– Positive emotions builds habits
– The fourth law makes a behaviour better next time
– Immediate satisfaction better
– Delayed environment not what you want for your brain
– You value the present more than the future
– With bad habits the immediate outcome is good and long term is bad this is the opposite with good habits
– What is immediately satisfactory is repeated
– Add immediate pleasure to good habits and pain to bad ones
I thought it was very interesting that to achieve something the steps need to be enjoyable. You will not stick with something if it is killing you no matter how good the end goal is. Most people think “no pain, no gain”. I think my Dad has said that twice a day for my entire life. Sadly, I cannot tell you the context so I guess it truly does not work.
From reading this book I recently set a goal regarding my VR and my iPad. James Clear said that if you want to reduce how much time you spend on video games, you need to put away the console after you play. Then it makes it more work to take it out the next time. There is a better chance that you will choose an easier option. This will help you spend less time playing video games and more time doing something that you want to do. I want to create opportunities for myself in this small way. we have a charging station at our house that is near the kitchen and far from my room. I plan to plug it in there by 9:00 every night. This will create more opportunity for me to read books which I also love to do but don’t do if my iPad is a fingerprint away. Similarly, I have a goal for my VR us. My Mom keeps putting my VR in a cupboard. I take it out and leave it in the living room but then I can get distracted. My new goal is to return it to the cupboard after every time I use it. This will help me with balance between school work, and what I am doing in my down time.
Throughout this project, I have grown in several areas. I already use Things very well but this project helped me see how much time I could have with better planning. I practiced time blocking and ended finishing my homework early one weekend. It also showed me practical ways I could go about achieving more peace, less stress, and create more opportunities to invite my friends over or go on a walk. Overall, even though the 25 chapters almost killed me, I will remember the stories and continue to work these tips into my life.