Life Lessons for Women

7 Essential Ingredients for a Balanced Life

By:  Stephanie Marston, M.F.T.



Essential Ingredient#1:

Evaluate Your Priorities


The French philosopher Rene Descartes said, “I think therefore I am.”  Our modern day version has become “I do therefore I am.”  So many of us live by the mantra “I have to keep up,” “I am what I do,”  “I have to push myself,” “I have to prove my worth,”  “I have to keep going.”  While many of you thought that you left peer pressure back in the halls of high school, it’s still very much in operation in our adult lives. 


Many women have one clear priority--get through the day.  Sure, no one will deny the importance of that, but it’s simply not enough.  Many women go through life on autopilot.  You rarely stop long enough to consider how you spend your time and energy. Yet, without determining whether your priorities match your reality and your values you will continually be out of synch with yourself.


Living a priority-centered life means balancing responsibilities to others with responsibility to oneself; obligations with enjoyment, work with play, activity with rest.  It means finding a natural rhythm to one’s day-to-day life that will support an atmosphere of fulfillment.  It means getting your priorities straight.


Think of a typical day and a typical week.  Think about how you spend your time. Ask yourself, how much time do I devote to my family? What about health and fitness? Religion or spiritual practice? Work? Personal interests and hobbies? Social time? Finances? Friendships?  The categories you choose may look somewhat different from these, so feel free to customize them to reflect your life.  Make a list in order of what gets the most to the least amount of your time.  How you spend your time will make known your priorities. 


You may be surprised to discover that there’s a discrepancy between what you thought your priorities were and what they actually are.  It’s time to be honest with yourself and see what your life is telling you.  Is your life balanced?  Are you overextended in one area?  Is there an area that you’re neglecting?  What percentage of your time is devoted to caring for others?  What percentage is spent caring for yourself and doing things you love?  Are you in synch with your core values?  Are there any adjustments you need to make so that your life more closely reflects your values?


One of the greatest challenges women face is balancing the wishes and expectations of other people (especially your family) with your own needs and desires.  You must hold your priorities sacred.  You must invest your time and energy in what you value.  You have to commit yourself to make time for what’s important every single day.


Ask yourself every day, is this what I want to be doing?  If the answer is “no,” you can alter your course a little each day.  Changing course is a process. It happens slowly, incrementally, but if you are persistent, you will end up where you want to be.


Food for Thought

If you had only a year to live, what would you do differently? 

It’s time to take action.  Whatever you’ve been waiting to do--Just Do It!



Stephanie is an acclaimed speaker and author.  She speaks from experience.  Stephanie is the “go to” expert for those seeking to create quality driven lives.  She is the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Life Lessons for Women:  7 Essential Ingredients for a Balanced Life, If Not Now, When? For more information please visit her website:



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