As a professional athlete, businesswoman and mom, balance is something I struggle with on a daily basis. With our busy schedules and the everyday stresses and demands of work, relationships and family, feeling balanced can be impossible some days. That's why I was excited to partner with The Balance Project, a campaign aimed at helping Americans achieve more balance. Creating an open dialogue on the challenges and methods for finding balance will help us all feel a bit more balanced. Below are eight ways I try to stay balanced:
1. Create a solid foundation
You have to hit the basics: good nutrition, exercise and sleep. These elements are key pillars in finding balance. Having said that, if you slip from time to time, don't beat yourself up, just re-commit. I believe the more out of balance we feel, the more imperative these fundamentals become.
2. Get rid of your one worst habit
Change can be overwhelming, so don't take it all on at once. Look at your lifestyle and choose the one thing you could get rid of or cut back on. Maybe you need to add dedicated exercise time. Could you take out the worst thing you eat and sub in something better or simply eliminate it? If you snack a lot, find things that will serve your greater goal, such as clean veggies and dip, or some nuts and fruit. Slow and steady wins the race.
3. Figure out your priorities and write them down
The small act of re-emphasizing what's important can help you isolate the areas in your life that you really want to put energy into. A lot of the little things that overload us will naturally fall by the wayside.
4. Be spontaneous in your activities
If a partner or friend invites you to go do something out of your typical routine, say yes. Do things that are different from your usual activities and allow spontaneous moments to arise. This adds color and dimension to our lives that we don't plan for.
5. Be mindful and well planned in your snacks
It's important to carpe diem and be spontaneous, but I'm always mindful about having a food plan. When I'm on the go, I make sure to have nutritious snacks with me so I don't get crazy hungry and overindulge at mealtime.
6. Take a moment for yourself
Technically, just because we live at the pace we do and fill each minute of our day with something doesn't mean that we are supposed to. Take a quiet walk, meditate or even lock yourself in the bathroom for a long shower -- and make sure to put the smartphone down! Just do something that gives you the opportunity to step back, take a deep breath and get balanced. Life is always going to come at us fast, so it's up to us to take a time out.
7. Create a system to be successful
It's not about being perfect; it's about creating an environment that sets you up to be successful. Keep missing a workout? Schedule it with a friend so you have to show up. Trying to eat healthier? Don't buy junk food or keep it in the house. Feeling tired in the morning? Make a conscious effort to shut off your computer and TV by a certain time.
8. Pick and choose
There is no such thing as "having it all," so why should that be the expectation? You can have it all at different times, but not all of the time. If you have to go to your child's school play, then you may have to put your run on the back burner. Maybe you have an intense deadline at work, so you don't have time to cook an amazing dinner that night. We punish ourselves by trying to have it all. Priorities will shift on a daily basis, and we need to adapt to that.
Readers -- How do you stay balanced in your life? Do you have any additional tips or tricks? Do you ever feel overwhelmed with everything you want/need to accomplish every day? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Gabby Reece is a fitness icon, entrepreneur, author, wife and busy mom of three. Named one of the 20 Most Influential Women in Sports by Women's Sports & Fitness magazine , Gabby has become a role model worldwide regarding fitness, nutrition and well-being.