Most of us spend our time feeling overwhelmed and out of balance as we struggle to fulfill the demands of our personal and professional lives. Why does everything seem so urgent? Why do we feel so highly motivated one minute only to find that we have slipped back into our old habits in the next? How is it that we seldom get time to do the things that we really enjoy?
" Priorities serve as a guiding star to keep us on course. Every action that we take and every decision that we make will put us one step closer or one step further away from our goals."
Without a clear set of priorities, we usually fall into the trap of doing the easiest tasks first and leaving the most challenging and unpleasant tasks until last. As a result, we panic or miss our deadline completely.
Why do so few people take the time to figure out their priorities? Some don't know where to start, others have a fear of failure and some are just too afraid to commit to things they perceive to stretch way into the future. They prefer doing nothing at all.
So what is the best way in which to figure out what is really important to us? Firstly, take some time out of your daily routine and think about the various areas of your life. Be aware of how you spend your time. Look carefully at what you find and ask yourself these questions:
What are the most important things in my life right now? (These may change during the various stages of our lives)
What would I like to spend more time doing?
What would I like to spend less time doing?
When some terminally ill patients were asked what they would do differently if they could turn back the clock, the 3 most frequent responses were:
Find happiness and meaning at a much earlier stage of their lives.
Spend more time with family and friends.
Pursue their dreams.
I encourage you to write down the 4 most important things in your life right now and why they are so important to you. My top 4 priorities for the last 5 years have been : my faith, my health, my loving relationships with family and friends and my fulfilling work as a life coach and mentor. While doing some research, I was challenged to dig deeper. These are my new top 4 priorities:
1. Learning and growing (spiritually and intellectually)
2. Leading a healthy lifestyle and feeding my soul through books, music, movies, art and theatre
3. Building unforgettable memories with family and friends
4. Empowering others to reach their true potential through coaching and mentoring.
We can neither do everything all of the time, nor keep everyone happy. What we can do, is commit to taking small steps and build from there. The key though, is to know what matters most to us and why.
" It's the 'eye on the prize' mentality or 'the bigger picture' mentality that will allow you to cut out all the things that do not matter on a daily basis."
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