We are being bombarded with advice daily. Family members, colleagues, books, social media, the news, newspapers and magazines all have something to tell us: ‘Set yourself goals’. ‘Get away from goal setting, it’s part of the rat-race‘. ‘Take up yoga’. ‘Many types of yoga out there are not authentic and should not be practised‘. ‘Drink coffee- it’s loaded with antioxidants’. ‘Here are 9 reasons why you should stop drinking coffee immediately‘.
This overload of information can really make your head spin and make you start doubting your lifestyle choices- even though they may be very good for you. We need to realise that although people are often giving advice with best intentions, their advice is informed by their experiences and their contexts. It is then up to us to discern which information to act on and which to discard.
Consider this: Imagine you have been enjoying eating avocadoes as part of a healthy lifestyle. You enjoy them and you know they are packed with numerous vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats. You go to work and, as you are enjoying your lunch, a colleague comments that avocadoes are very fattening and made them put on a whole stone last year. You then scroll through your phone to see an article titled ‘3 Reasons You Should Stop Eating Avocado Now’, which references heart disease and increased tiredness. You back off from eating avocadoes. Until your cousin tells you about how her health and energy have been transformed by introducing avocadoes into her diet and she sends you 3 articles about the huge benefits of the fruit. What do you do?
Are we destined to keep yo-yoing backwards and forwards, starting and stopping, taking things up and dropping them abruptly each time an opposing view is presented? How can we avoid swinging from one extreme to another, from a yes to a no, from a start to a stop- and stabilise our life-style? For me, the answer is maintaining balance and staying well informed by finding out as much information as we can from reputable sources and opposing views, then making an informed choice.
But crucially, we need to find our own balance. And understand that our balance is going to look and feel different to somebody else’s. This is because we are all different: physically, mentally and spiritually. Our lifestyles are different, our metabolisms are different, our skillsets are different. So what I consider a good balance for me, may look out of balance for you- and vice versa.
This is why we need to be curious, informed and selective in what’s best for us, finding a middle ground in between extremes. This will inevitably result in a lot more stability in the different areas of our lives that we choose to focus on.
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