Finding Balance

I love the holiday season. It’s the one time of year focused on peace, joy, love, kindness, happiness, and togetherness. I find as I get older and the years go by faster and faster, the holidays are a great time to slow down, remember what’s important, reflect and FIND BALANCE.

I can see what went well during the year, where I fell short of my goals, and areas of my life that may need more attention or even a complete overhaul. So often we rush through our days, weeks, months, and they all blur together. Things we didn’t realize we were even doing have now become habits we didn’t want to create and we never made time to do the things that bring us joy.

If you’re not careful, you can live your whole life this way. I believe we all deserve to live lives that bring us joy and we all have the ability to make that happen. We have a great capacity to change, to mold and transform into our best selves. No matter where you are right now, YOU have the POWER to BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE.

Ok great, but what does this have to do with dogs? Well, we can lie to ourselves and we can lie to others but our dogs read who we truly are. They look at our posture, how we move, our mood, how we speak, the tones we use, even the way we smell, to know exactly who we are in that very moment. If you’re in a bad mood, they know it. If you’re insecure, they know it. If you’re unstable, they know it.

I truly believe that all beings desire peace, balance and security. Wether we are conscious of it or not, we constantly seek comfort, safety and stability. We look to leaders who are balanced for guidance and build close relationships that make us feel good. Our dogs are the same!

And since our job is literally to lead our dogs on our hikes, becoming that happy well-balanced leader becomes essential. If we are anxious, insecure, upset, stressed, unhappy, etc we are not stable. The dogs know it, and they simply aren’t going to want to listen, follow our lead or bond with us. The more true we are to ourselves, and the more we work to lead a life of balance and happiness, the better hiking adventure leaders we will be, the more we will enjoy our days, and our job actually becomes both easier and more rewarding.

So today I challenge you to take the time to slow down and reflect upon your year and your life, and begin to notice what’s going great and what area’s need improvement. A wonderful tool to start this process is the Clean Sweep Program, designed to guide you to complete personal freedom and fulfillment. The clean sweep looks at the four major areas of our lives: physical environment, well-being, money, and relationships and provides a checklist to see how we are doing in each category. The goal is to check off 100 out of 100 but average is anwhere from 30-70.  I scored a 52 with relationships being my strongest category and well-being my weakest.  Take the quiz for yourself (it only takes a few minutes) and see how you balance out.

Change is hard!!! Now that you know where you stand today, you have perspective, and can start designing your life to fit you, to become your best self. The best way to lasting change is to start small. Go through the clean sweep list and pick a maximum of 5 items from each category that you would like to improve over the next 3-6 months.  Pick some easy and only a few challenging ones in order to make real lasting changes. Write them down and put them somewhere you can see and be reminded. Chose just a few to start making changes and as those become easy, add the next from your list.

Over the next few weeks we will be going over each category in more detail with actionable tips to help reach those goals and find that balance in each area of our lives. I will post my score breakdown along with my chosen items for improvement in the comments on the Facebook post. I’d love for you to share yours as well so we can all support each other in reaching our goals. We will check back on these in the coming months to see all the progress we are making towards becoming our best selves.

Happy Hiking!