Hey there! After a month hiatus from both blogging and podcasting, I’m back! September is the month of resetting for me and even though I’ve got a lot of stuff going on in the next week or two, it’s wonderful to feel like some routine is returning to life. With the return to school and routine in mind, I decided this was the perfect time to share one of my favorite analogies for life – what’s in your backpack?
That’s not me in the photo but I do have that same beautiful backpack! Just thought you’d like to know 😉
What’s in your backpack??
The analogy is one I’m pretty certain I’ve taken from Gina (www.fitnessista.com) but it’s such a good one it deserves repeating countless times.
In a nutshell, we are all wearing a backpack in life, we all have different sized backpacks, and we all have different things we need to carry in those backpacks at any given time. But none of us can carry all of the things we need in life in our backpack all at the same time. We need to add and subtract the items depending on what we need in that season of life.
While in an ideal world it would great to be able to focus on our marriage/relationships, children, work, nutrition, fitness, health, charity work, friends/social life, etc. all at the same time – it’s just not possible.
Find your three
Most people can only focus on 2-3 of those “big picture” things at a time. Some are able to focus on as many as 4, but few people can manage more than that. And some people struggle to focus on more than one or two.
If we continue with this idea that each of us is carrying a virtual or invisible backpack, we need to realize that while all of our backpacks are not the same size, each of us also has different things in our packs weighing us down. Those of us who come from a place of higher privilege can forget that those less privileged already have a bookbag filled nearly to capacity just trying to keep themselves safe, nevermind all those other things. People in good health might forget that those who deal with health and physical issues already have a backpack weighed down by those items and don’t have room for much else.
And even those who are fortunate enough to not have a lot weighing their backpack down in average day-to-day life can still get overwhelmed and feel weighed down because of the pressure they have put on themselves to keep everything in there ALL OF THE TIME.
Have I lost you yet? Because if I haven’t, it’s time to think about those major life building blocks in your life. Common ones include:
- Marriage/Your close relationships
- Stress Management
Focus where you need to focus and toss guilt in the garbage.
When you realize that you shouldn’t expect yourself to be focused on all those things at the same time it frees you up to focus on what needs to be focused on at any given time.
A few months ago I recorded a podcast on how to be more productive at work by choosing the 3 most important things to get done on any given day. This is a similar principle. What 3 things are most important for you to focus on right now? Knowing that in different seasons of life the answer will be different.
When you have small children they will always be one of those things you need to focus a lot of attention on. As they get older and move out, while you still will be focused on their health and wellbeing, the time investment is considerably less on a daily basis.
Another example is a job that has busy seasons. Those who work in the tax industry are going to have to make their job a top priority in tax prep season, but in October/November they can probably take some more time off and not spend as much time on business/work.
And what I really want you to realize is that it’s ok if sometimes your fitness and nutrition have to take a backseat to those other things. Sure it would be wonderful if you always were able to keep up your fitness regime and ate healthy foods but sometimes that is just not a reasonable expectation. Sometimes you have to take those out of your bookbag to make room for other things.
It’s ok. The important thing is that you put them back in your backpack when you are able. It’s only if you leave them in a corner somewhere and never get them back into the backpack that it’s truly a problem.
What you do most of the time is more important than what you do once in a while.