I don’t know about you, but life feels a lot like juggling, except you don’t know how to juggle and there are too many balls in the air. Work, grocery shopping for healthy foods, drinks with friends, kids and grandkids sports, manage investments for retirement, fix that thing in the basement that broke, book a vacation, rebook it because of COVID closures, making it to the gym… It feels like there are 100’s of balls in the air. And since you don’t know how to juggle, at best you’ve got 1 or two in the air while the rest roll haphazardly around the floor reminding you of all the things you’re failing at. I had a conversation with a client about this last week and wanted to share a framework to help you keep the balls in the air and be successful. You only have 3 balls to manage:

Wealth is anything that has to do with finances. It can be career, investments, budgeting and not overspending, or saving up for a new thing or vacation. It will vary depending on your goals, and that’s okay. Health is anything that has to do with your health. Eating well, getting good quality sleep, managing stress, Dr.’s appointments, mental health, and of course getting to the gym consistently since consistent workouts solves a lot of other challenges. Relationships are all the relationships in your life, romantic or otherwise. Parents, kids, family, friends, colleagues, your relationship with your god if you’re spiritual, dating… you name it. Your job is to keep all 3 balls in the air, as all are important for a fulfilling life. At least make sure the ones that are made of glass stay in the air, since the rubber balls will bounce back. Whether you know it or not, you’ve been juggling these 3 balls for a long time, with varying success. What happens is you get the opportunity for something, let’s say a promotion at work, so you need to temporarily drop the health ball. After all, when you need to stay late at work to get that extra project done regular workouts don’t always fit. And neither does meal prepping. That’s okay. You’ll pick up the health ball once you get that promotion, and it will be worth it to toss that wealth ball high up into the air. A little later, a friend is having a crisis and needs your support, so you need to make sure that relationship ball stays in the air. You’ve barely got the health ball in the air again – you’re feeling the effects of inconsistent workouts and too much takeout – and decide you’ve only got time to go for a few walks since there’s a lot of stress and you need to take something off your plate. You’ll get the health ball back in the air as soon as you can. Since you got that promotion and it’s approaching the end of the quarter, you’ve really got to dig your heels in at work to hit your targets and get things done and keep that wealth ball in the air. You’re accustomed to the lifestyle the new job affords and don’t want to compromise on it, so the health ball gets dropped again and those regular walks turn into just vegging out watching a show after a long, tiring day. You’ll get the health ball in the air again soon, once you have the energy. Then, since it’s been such a challenging few years with the new job while managing everything else in life, you need a nice 2 week vacation – you’ve earned it. The challenge of planning it eats into a few weeks before you go, and it takes you a month after you get back to get into routine. Health is dropped again. After all, it’s always the first to go since workouts are optional and you’ll get back on track later. Does this sound familiar? Here’s the thing. The health ball is the only ball made of glass. You just don’t realize it until it’s a couple decades later. If you lose your job or the markets crash, wealth does feel like an emergency. But when one door closes another opens and usually a better job or a bull market is just around the corner. The wealth ball is rubber, and it bounces back. When there’s a falling out with a friend or family member, it eats away at your soul. But with time reparations will be made and the relationship will be stronger than it ever was. The relationship ball is rubber, and it too will bounce back. But everytime you drop that health ball, cracks develop in the glass until it ultimately breaks. That’s why people will completely uproot their life when the ball breaks and there’s a true health emergency.

Work and friends can take a backseat, since if that health ball shatters there is no amount of superglue to rebuild it as it once was. You won’t see the cracks everytime you drop the health ball, but trust me, they exist if you know what to look for.

All these cracks are the health ball shouting warning signs at you:

“HEY! If you keep this up you’ll be making up for a LOT of lost ground later on, if you can even recover from it. Please get me back in the air ASAP. And grab some glue!”

As you know, Lean Strong Fitness and Wellness helps people 40-50 and beyond, and we’ve seen hundreds of people come through our doors the last 7+ years. That means hundreds of members who got tired of dropping the health ball and want to make a lasting change. For most of them their “bad back” that used to get in the way of everyday activity isn’t on their radar anymore, and all it took was 45mins twice a week at our personal training studio. This isn’t an exaggeration. They caught the health ball before it cracked again, and are gluing it back together with regular workouts, improved sleep, and nutrition changes, and are seeing drastic improvement in all aspects of life. It’s not complicated either – our approach is intentionally simple. It’s meal prepping even when you don’t want to so you don’t need takeout this week, getting a morning workout in before a long day at work, or waking up early to get an extra walk in before running errands on the weekend. I’ve met 70 year olds who can get up and down off the ground with ease, are completely pain free, go for hikes 3x/wk, and canoe trips in the summer. And I’ve met 42 year olds who have a bad back, neck pain, are on track for a knee replacement if they don’t make a drastic change, and don’t feel they can do anything physical without an IV drip of aspirin. The only reason this framework of “3 balls” instead of “100’s of balls” exists is to keep things simple. Wealth and relationships are made of rubber and bounce back. Health is made of glass. Each crack is a slight decrease in quality of life, such as an achy shoulder or back. Once it breaks it’s a permanent change in your quality of life. The difference between the 70 year old and the 42 year old is when they committed to keep the glass health ball in the air and start gluing it back together. You won’t always be successful at keeping all 3 balls in the air. The secret is letting the rubber balls bounce like they’re meant to. If you are having struggles to balance the important things in your life, we are here to help you!

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