Tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide To Living Wisely, is an ongoing draft of a concept I might one day publish a book on. It’s essentially 30 Principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. Some are principles that I wished I had learned much earlier in life. Many are principles that I only learned in recovery in 2016-2017. Still other principles were ones I had applied off and on during my 56 years.
|Preface||Introduction||Trusting Your Gut||Use Good Judgement|
|Listen||Regulate Emotions||Set Boundaries||Be Mindful|
|Practice Moderation||Manage Expectations||Resolve Conflict||Plan Ahead|
|Have Patience||Be Yourself||Practice Acceptance||Be Grateful|
“Everything in moderation, and there’s a perfect balance in this life if we can find it.”Ryan Robbins
What Does It Mean To Practice Moderation
To practice moderation is to aspire to a life of balance. Too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing; particularly if that good thing detracts from other areas of our lives. Afterall, “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.”
According to dictionary.com, moderation means “the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.” In other words, maintaining a sense of homeostasis. Whether that means physically, emotionally, or mentally.
To practice moderation can mean simply not eating the entire container of ice cream. It can also mean not obsessing over someone or something. Putting all your eggs in one basket leads to imbalance; a state of being that is incongruent to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Going to one extreme or another can lead to unhealthy habits or states of being.
Even healthy habits, if taken to the extreme, can be detrimental to attaining a life of harmony and balance. For example let’s say you are an exercise enthusiast. You workout religiously for 6 or 7 days a week. Chances are that this spills over to every facet of your life. Miss the gym?
Now you feel guilty; you skimp on eating just to maintain some semblance of maintaining that healthy habit. Or maybe your day is shot because you failed to go to the gym. You’re irritable and can think of nothing other than getting back into the gym. Other aspects of your life fall short because maintaining that pace inevitably leads to an imbalance.
How Do You Find The Right Balance?
It starts with self-control. Being sure to control impulses that tend to keep you off of your balance. Making sure that you don’t get hammered at the office christmas party is probably a good idea. This prevents you from acting a fool and putting yourself on the brass radar.
But it’s much more than that. I could come up with boatloads of examples of being out of balance, of not practicing moderation. However, it’s much more important that moderation be practiced on a larger scale.
Moderation requires a sense of when enough is enough. Achieving balance and harmony requires you that you are continually keeping a pulse on your life, so that one day you are not sitting in the room holding the bag so to speak.
Moderation and Finances
A fool and his money are certainly quickly parted. I’ve historically been terrible with managing my finances. As a result, I caused myself a lot of strife throughout my adult years. One of the most important areas where moderation is critical is with finances.
Being a spendthrift will put life into chaos pretty quickly. Having to have the latest gadgetry, buying all the latest fashions, spending all your money without an eye on some semblance of a budget can surely have a negative impact on your quality of life.
I have had to exercise moderation when my spending on vintage and antique books was beginning to cut into our household finances. We have been blessed with a healthy income. Being my addictive normal old self, I saw an opportunity to grow my book collection.
But, because I was not watching my checkbook, my spending quickly got out of hand. After talking it over with my wife, we struck a balance where I could still enjoy my book collecting. However, it had to be moderated so that it did not cut into our budget unreasonably.
Do you go on shopping sprees and come back feeling sad and depressed? Retail therapy, as its called, may be a sign of something more problematic happening. You may be a shopaholic.
Speaking of addictions, having one usually means that we are out of touch with the other important aspects of our lives. Having an addiction means that other aspects of our lives are truly suffering and we are probably unwell.
Balancing Family and Friends
If you spend all your time socializing after work, or partying and hanging out with friends, your family life may suffer. Achieving the proper balance between spending time with family, and hanging out with friends should be relatively easy. Afterall, our family is an important component of our wellness. Perhaps you are not that close to your family. Have you ever considered why that is?
Perhaps if you go out after work every night with colleagues, loved ones may be missing your presence in their lives. Ensuring that you strike a balance between family and friends, ensures that your loved ones are getting all the attention they need from you. It also ensures that you are maintaining healthy relationships outside the family, which is good for you as an individual.
It is very important to teach your children moderation at a very young age. There are numerous studies that show the importance of moderation and a child’s ability to self-regulate when they become young adults.
The Moderation of Work and Play
Do you keep yourself chained to your desk in the interest of your career? Do you habitually work late into the evenings? Perhaps you like to take your work home with you. As a result of all this time working, have you remembered to balance this with life? This means taking time out for family, friends, social activities and play!
Again, “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy” as we are reminded from The Shining. We’ve all watched movies in which the theme was working too hard and life being passed by. Immersing yourself in work in support of your goals and dreams IS the American Dream.
However, working too much for too long of a period of time means that other aspects of your life will suffer greatly. In the end, how important will all those hours be if you end up with regrets of losing connection with your friends and family-particularly watching the children grow?
Health and Wellness Require Moderation!
If we do not balance our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs we will suffer. Eating too much junk food, not paying attention to our emotional wellbeing with family and friends, and ignoring spiritual considerations will leave us bereft of balance.
Think about how well you feel when because you consistently practice a certain religion. Or how you feel when you really focus on nutrition and exercise, or when they are at the center of your lifestyle. Seeking balance in the realm of health and wellness is critical to enjoying a vibrant life. There is nothing more rewarding to me than when my wife and I share common goals for each other. We work together to achieving the balance for our marriage, but also for each of us as individuals.
I have my writing in the morning. We had to address my issue with writing for too many hours. It was affecting her wellness and ability to flourish in her own individual pursuits. She now has her art and her photography in the afternoons. I only write from 8:30 to 11:30, more than ample time for me to practice my craft. During the day we have our beautiful daughter to care for and nourish.
The very best days are when we are in sync with ourselves and participate in a variety of activities which can vary from day to day. We have the same nutritional beliefs, so it is easy for us to be in balance physically. We also recently bought ourselves a new treadmill. We both want to look and feel our best as our young daughter aces new challenges each day.
Ultimately It’s About Sacrificing
The bottom line is that moderation is about sacrificing. Sacrificing one thing over another in an attempt to strike a balance. It’s making sure that your relationship is in harmony with your mutual goals, but also your individual dreams and goals. It’s about sacrificing extra hours at work, so you can be home to tuck the kids into bed and read them a story.
Moderation in all things will ensure that no area in our lives is suffering. When we practice moderation we give our whole selves an opportunity to get the very best out of life. We ensure our futures by actively engaging in a balanced approach to life. Now go practice moderation in all things, live long and prosper!