Achieving balance in our lives is accomplished by saying no when we need to and learning to set priorities. And we cannot achieve balance without understanding what our particular needs are. Balance is different for everyone. It means that you have identified your priorities and have not overextended yourself. Balance means you are aware of the dangers of burnout. Balance means that when asked the question, “Are you happy?” you can answer yes.

The following are 4 core values I use to live a balanced life and achieve my dreams easier.

One–No Guilt Allowed

One of the biggest struggles for women today is learning to say no without guilt. One of the core values I teach my coaching clients is to adopt this new rule into their lives called-No Guild Allowed. Guilt can hold you back from many of the goals you want to accomplish if you let it. Guilt doesn\’t make you a better mother, or employee, or even more fit. Most of us know this, yet we still allow ourselves to fester in guilt. Guilt actually creates an imbalance in your life because you are left with feelings of inadequacy.

From now on when guilt creeps into your life-take action by noticing that the emotion is present and replace it with positive choices or joy as quickly as you can. As you retrain yourself to purge guilt, you will notice how much easier it is to move forward and accomplish your goals.

Two–Embrace Positive Choices

“The art of positive choices helps you to create the life you want. Positive choices help you to discover what truly makes you happy and realign your priorities. Life is a series of additions and subtractions. You control the calculator.”

~ Gail McMeekin ~

Another core value that allows you to achieve balance in your life is being able to make positive choices. What are positive choices-these are choices that propel you forward… they benefit your mind, your body, and your soul. These choices allow you to feel productive and focused because they are in alignment with what you really want to do on a daily basis. And remember-how we live our days is indeed how we live our lives.

Three–Cultivating Moments of Pure Joy

“The worst sin-perhaps the only sin-passion can commit, is to be Joyless.”

~ Dorothy Sayers ~

One of the best things I personally ever did was follow my heart when EVERYONE else thought I was crazy. The first time I did this-I was scared, but at the time I was so miserable, I didn\’t really feel like I had a choice. From that experience I learned to trust my gut and I learned that to follow my dreams meant that I was the architect of my life and that it was actually up to me to cultivate moments of pure joy in my life. For me-that means I spend most of my time either with my kids having fun or I am in the process of creating. Creating-for me is writing or decorating. To follow your dreams-you will have to take giant leaps and be willing to get your hands dirty before you learn how to cultivate a life full of joy.

Four–Practice Conscious Living

Another core value that will help you achieve balance is to practice conscious living. People who achieve their dreams do it with a plan. They may start out simply doing something they are passionate about, but eventually to achieve substantial results, they had to sit down and map out a plan. They made changes in their lives and began to live in a very conscious way. They began to pay attention to what they said yes and no to. They began to choose how they reacted to negative people and situations. They began to consciously choose to surround themselves with other people who had fun accomplishing their dreams. They decided to be disciplined about their choices and they also chose to consciously enjoy every moment they could going forward.

From this day forward, begin to practice conscious living-make sure you aren\’t on autopilot. How do you know if you are on autopilot? Sometimes making excuses or blaming others can be a sign that you are living your life on autopilot. Sometimes situations in our lives or behaviors we have learned from our childhood can be the reason we don\’t know how to live life in a conscious way. One of my favorite phrases ever is “You do better when you know better.” Don\’t look back, just look forward. And don\’t wait another day to get busy living life in a way that feels joyful to you.

Sheri McConnell (www.SheriMcConnell.net) is the President and Founder of the National Association of Women Writers (www.NAWW.org). She helps women writers and entrepreneurs discover, create, and profit from their intellectual knowledge! Sheri' lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Seth and their four children-ages 11, 10, 6, and 3 months. Contact her at naww@onebox.com or her toll free number at 866-821-5829.