I am huge on the idea of living a balanced life and not going too far extreme in any direction. That can mean something different for everyone and what I think is balanced will most likely not be what you all think is balanced. That being said, everyone has their own way to balance things in their life and it's important that they find out the best way to do that for themselves.
It is easy to submerge yourself in something new - like clean eating or working out - and go all out for the first 12 weeks (or however long the initial plan you have is). The challenge comes when the real world happens and you can't keep going like you have been. This could be because of stress, work, school, kids, family, friends, events, whatever. The point is: life will happen. And when it does, you will have to adjust and find a way to keep your healthy new habits you've formed, but still account for life.
I do this by making conscious decisions about what I am doing so that I don't feel like I have to do something, or eat a certain way, or go to the gym. I choose to get up early and go to the gym before school instead of going at the end of my day. I choose to eat healthy a majority of the time and sometimes I consciously choose not to. Perfect example: This week we went to dinner at our favorite fancy pants restaurant because we have a friend in town. My most favorite thing to get at this restaurant is alaskan king crab legs (and dip them in melted butter) - they are seriously like heaven in my mouth. I can tell you right now that anytime we go to that restaurant I am getting those and I am not feeling guilty about it. I'm also probably having a glass of wine - another thing I love. Obviously, I don't do this every day, but when I do, I do NOT make myself feel bad about it. I don't go do extra stuff at the gym to make up for it. I simply enjoy it.
Because I don't feel guilty when I indulge occasionally, I also don't feel restricted when I eat clean the other 98% of the time. I don't feel like I can't have something because I know I can. I just choose not to.
Another thing that I think is hard to balance is time. I am a full time law student, working, doing an externship and on law journal. There are a hundred things I should be doing at any given moment but I will not give up my time for me. This includes blogging and the gym. Someone asked me the other day when I was feeling overwhelmed, 'Why don't you just stop blogging?' My immediate response was - NO WAY. It is the only thing keeping me SANE! If I stop working out and taking time to blog - which I genuinely do love - I am not a happy person. I am tired, grumpy, stressed, etc. For me, my balance is making time for these two things when maybe I should be doing something else. In the long run, it's not the end of the world if I don't get straight A's or the laundry doesn't get folded this minute.
So find your balance. Find a way to live the healthy life you want and keep the healthy habits you are working so hard to form. Find a way to account for life and not beat yourself up about it. Find a way to make 'you' time for the things you enjoy.
Trust me - it will be much easier to keep it up for the long haul if you are enjoying the ride :)